Apiary Layout/Location?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    16

    Default Apiary Layout/Location?

    I'm in my second year of beekeeping. I currently have six hives, but I'm not sure I will get any honey this year. I have supers on three of my hives from last year, but there is nothing in them yet. I am beginning to think it has to do with my location. I'm in the country, but there are several crop lands around me such as corn and beans. My goal is to eventually have 20-30 hives (maybe more). I have a spot that sits on a creek bottom that is approximately .15 acre. It is surround by nothing but woods, pasture, and grown up fields. I have attached a picture of the land, and you can see it sits pretty close to a country road. How much land is needed for 20-30 hives, and does it matter if they sit close to a roadway(not traveled often). This spot is now grown up with weeds and shrubs, but I am considering dozing it off and sowing it in clover/wildflowers. Any suggestions? Thanks.
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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Dundas, ON, Canada
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Apiary Layout/Location?

    It's not your own land that matters but what's around within 3 mile radius. Trees are always better than ground cover, variety is better than mono culture. Also some weeds are better than anything you could plant. Having water source nearby is certainly important. The road does not make much difference unless very busy or VERY close. Perhaps some local guys can comment on particular plant types that bees like best at your geographical location.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    5,018

    Default Re: Apiary Layout/Location?

    I currently have 30 hives sitting on a spot that is 50'x50' square. Of course it helps that there are thousands of acres of crops and woodland surrounding me. Bees forage a 3 mile radius if necesssry and that encompasses over 12,000 acres. Unless you are in a monoculture environment, there is forage for the bees and honey is inevitable. Doesn't mean the bees are going to put it all neat and tidy in the supers for you. Convincing them to do that is part of beekeeping.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Apiary Layout/Location?

    I just figured the spot I'm thinking about would give me a better chance. There is plenty of water source as a creek is just across the road. There is plenty of woodland around as well.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Apiary Layout/Location?

    Thirty in a 50'x50' square? Can you provide a diagram? I'm just trying to get the most I can. Another reason I want to use this spot is because it is not close to any crop land that it using pesticides. My hives now are very close to corn and soybean fields.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    5,018

    Default Re: Apiary Layout/Location?

    The hive stands are 8' 4x4s on concrete blocks. Each side of the square is composed of two sets of stands, each containing up to 5 10-frame hives. Space is left between the stands to drive the mower through without knocking over the stacked blocks. One side is a single stand with only three hives on it (my original location and hive plan). The nucs are on a separate set of stands behind the easternmost row. Those stands contain seven nucs each, but at the moment only a few are occupied. Sales have been good this year.

    Corn, soybeans, and wheat are the norm here too. The bees do not have to fly far to be in the middle of a cornfield. What is not in crops though is woodlands and that is where the bees forage best.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Boaz, KY, USA
    Posts
    1,942

    Default Re: Apiary Layout/Location?

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrassbeek View Post
    I'm in my second year of beekeeping. I currently have six hives, but I'm not sure I will get any honey this year. I have supers on three of my hives from last year, but there is nothing in them yet. I am beginning to think it has to do with my location. I'm in the country, but there are several crop lands around me such as corn and beans. My goal is to eventually have 20-30 hives (maybe more). I have a spot that sits on a creek bottom that is approximately .15 acre. It is surround by nothing but woods, pasture, and grown up fields. I have attached a picture of the land, and you can see it sits pretty close to a country road. How much land is needed for 20-30 hives, and does it matter if they sit close to a roadway(not traveled often). This spot is now grown up with weeds and shrubs, but I am considering dozing it off and sowing it in clover/wildflowers. Any suggestions? Thanks.
    bluegrassbeek:

    From one fellow Kentuckian to another, welcome.

    If you don't mind me asking- what general region of the state are you located in? Depending on your specific locale there might be supplemental forage that you could plant that would at least soften some trouble spots during our growing season. For me in the far West of the state, the Summer dearth is one of the more difficult stretches, so I have attempted to plant the immediate area with native forage that blooms in the late spring, summer and early fall- Illinois Bundleflower, Partridge Pea, Ohio Spiderwort, Wild Bergamot, False Indigo and Beardtongue are some that I have incorporated.

    Also, Fall forage is helpful and if you leave an area fairly well undisturbed you might expect some joe pye weed, ironweed, goldenrod, boneset and various asters to come up.
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Apiary Layout/Location?

    Litsinger,

    Thanks. I live in south central KY. I'm in a rural community, but there is a lot of crop land of beans and corn. There is also woods around. My thought is, I could put some hives in the location in my first post to eliminate a lot of the crop land. There is more woods in that location, and mostly pasture. This location sits on a creek bottom. There is more shade there, so that might be a concern? I"m just trying to do best by my bees, and get the most honey I can.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Boaz, KY, USA
    Posts
    1,942

    Default

    bluegrassbeek:

    Traveling through your region of the state today on business- reminded me that I needed to respond to you.

    While I am no expert, what I read suggests that bees are generalists by nature and do best when located in an area of varied forage opportunities, even if the variety is limited.

    To that end, I think you have done well to pick the most diverse landscape that is available to you.

    Beyond that, I don't think it ever hurts to provide supplemental forage, particularly of the native type which tends to bloom later in the season.

    Below is a link to the current Kentucky Pollenator Protection Plan. At the end you will see some planting guides which suggest various things you can plant based on the site and bloom period.

    Best of luck to you with your beekeeping efforts.

    Russ

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour..._AQWIe89XRDu5K
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

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