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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

We are working with a group that is planting 2000 acres of hemp. This is roughly 3.125 square miles. How many beehives should we be placing and what groupings should they be placed in?

We were hoping to do groupings of 50 at a time for ease of access and maintenance.

Would 2000 acres of hemp support 200 hives? More?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hemp is wind pollinated and produces very little to no nectar in an experiment out here 12 hives more or less starved on 70 acres of hemp.
https://coloradohemphoney.com/blogs/news/industrial-hemp-as-forage-for-honey-bees
Thank you MSL, here are two links we had been going off of from a 2019 study
https://news.weedmaps.com/2019/02/b...-affinity-for-the-pollen-of-male-hemp-plants/

Abstract: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0961953419300248

Would you advise we plant X amount of other plants/flowers within the 2000 acres? This project will be happening on the Island of Vieques in Puerto Rico.
 

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from your 2nd link
While hemp does not produce any nectar,
from my link
All 12 hives were not producing sufficient honey to fill even one frame in one honey super
There is no surplus honey to harvest and the only concern now is to salvage as many bees and hives as possible
All the links are based on work here in CO... you need to get past the buzz (dubble pun....had to) and read between the lines..

The hemp bloom is post flow for us.. the bees will work it in our dearth when nothing else is available. Post nectar flow pollen flow often keeps the brood rearing going and the hives chew through their stores, we see that a lot of times here in a drought year when it get hot and dry... then nectar slow way down but the pollen keeps coming and you have starving hives by mid aug

I would expect that commercial-scale hemp pollenation would require substantial supumentail feeding and would be only worthwhile with a large fee being paid by the grower.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
from your 2nd link
from my link

All the links are based on work here in CO... you need to get past the buzz (dubble pun....had to) and read between the lines..

The hemp bloom is post flow for us.. the bees will work it in our death when nothing else is available. Post nectar flow pollen flow often keeps the brood rearing going and the hives chew through their stores, we see that a lot of times here in a drought year when it get hot and dry... then nectar slow way down but the pollen keeps coming and you have starving hives by mid aug

I would expect that commercial-scale hemp pollenation would require substantial supumentail feeding and would be only worthwhile with a large fee being paid by the grower.
Definitely we are working out a deal with them to secure partial or full funding for this project.

1) Do you or does anyone else have suggestions on other plants, flowers, bushes etc that we could plant too keep the bees well fed? Puerto Rico is tropical and warm all year round.

We have been told that there are some areas that have so many types of flora and fauna that the bees will not produce honey for only a month or two? (We received this information from a commercial beekeeper) Uncertain if he is doing additional sugar water feeding.

We would prefer not to do any additional feeding and plant the needed flora if this is a possibility. My first thought was to grow blueberries, blueberry hemp honey. :)
 

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Do some research on blueberries before you jump. I dont think they are a very bountiful crop for bees either. They wont work them if there is anything else to forage on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Do some research on blueberries before you jump. I dont think they are a very bountiful crop for bees either. They wont work them if there is anything else to forage on.
Hello @frank

Thank you for your input into this conversation, can you give me some examples of other products that would definitely be good for the bees, and plentiful?
 

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I think there may be a few conceptual difficulties ahead. It is a whole lot easier to raise bees when there is existing varieties of forage plants and trees that overlap in availability for the bees. Several hundreds of bee colonies is a capital hungry project and keeping them alive and productive takes expertise that you dont just pick up as you go along.

"Save the bees" is a catchy idea but there are few examples it becoming anything really helpful to bees in the bigger picture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I think there may be a few conceptual difficulties ahead. It is a whole lot easier to raise bees when there is existing varieties of forage plants and trees that overlap in availability for the bees. Several hundreds of bee colonies is a capital hungry project and keeping them alive and productive takes expertise that you dont just pick up as you go along.

"Save the bees" is a catchy idea but there are few examples it becoming anything really helpful to bees in the bigger picture.
Hello Frank, definitely we are open to hiring experts to help us assess what will be needed for this project. We will have a full time beekeeper, there are a number on the island with generational experience. Ideally we will be rescuing local bees and having someone doing full time queen rearing. Again please forgive me for any lack of knowledge on this subject, currently reading as many beekeeping books as I can get my hands on and we are active in the forums.

The land itself already has other sources of food. The 2000 acres is 3.125 square miles and my understanding is that bees can travel up to 5 miles? So perhaps we put the hives on the outside perimeter of the hemp.

Puerto Rico lost 80 percent of its crops and bees after hurricane Maria. That being said the local flora and fauna has bounced back. Sadly Puerto Rico imports 90 percent of its food when the island itself has an extremely fertile environment to grow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I would suggest that you contact the Xerces Society. https://xerces.org
Thank you FiveJ we have reached out to them.

Does anyone else have suggestions on crops to grow in tropical climates that will support bees all year round, in addition to the natural flora that exists there already.
 

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You need people that are familiar with the local plants. One of the local beekeepers you are hiring should be the expert you are looking for as to what to plant.

Bees prefer to stay within 2-3 miles. Closer the better. The further out they have to go, the faster they will die from beating their wings to tatters. The shape of the field will help determine the position of the hives. Mono-culture fields usually ship in bees for the pollination season and then the bees are moved to another area.
 

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The best thing for you to do is start talking to tropical beekeeps, not temprate. There is a difference.
Also your bees are small cell bees.
No need for treatments
There is a large group in Jamaica, St Vincent, Grenada, Barbados.
I know of a couple of beekeeps in PR , but have not talked to them since Maria.
Speaking from our bees in Barbados, they will abscond very easily and very quickly.
You will also have a struggle to get large hive, because of their nature, but it can be done. A lot of hard work.
Take note tropical bees tend to be more defensive.
Good luck.
Eric
12N
 

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Hello all,

We are working with a group that is planting 2000 acres of hemp. This is roughly 3.125 square miles. How many beehives should we be placing and what groupings should they be placed in?

We were hoping to do groupings of 50 at a time for ease of access and maintenance.

Would 2000 acres of hemp support 200 hives? More?
so this is my opinion as I have no experience with 2000 Acres of Hemp. 640 Acres is a square mile, so 2000 is like 3.5 square miles. And a mono culture, so no way 200 hives are needed. My initial guess would 40 10 at each corner of the field/patch. that way they have other plants to use before and after the hemp blooms. Secondary, do they intend to combine the plants for harvest of the seeds? if they are not and only want the fiber, then bees are not really even needed. I would start slow, offer 10-20 hives the first year IF they offer at least break even funding, then go from there.
GG
 

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Hemp can be a heavy user of nitrogen, so cover cropping (or companion planting) with local 'Legumes' will help. Legumes 'fix' nitrogen from the air into the soil and this has been used for many years.
Mesoamericans planted the three sisters together for complete nutrition and support. The three sisters were; 1.Corn. 2. Squash and 3. Beans (one of many Legumes).
BTW-when in bloom my bees work them hard!
 

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1st thing I would find out is if they are going to let the hemp flower. A lot of the Hemp they do not want it to flower or set seed. on a side note what kind of man power is needed to raise 2000 acres of hemp. The labor prices that I am told per acre here is about 20,000
 
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