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Discussion Starter #1
Any thoughts on the number of hives could be supported in a single apiary in the high desert?

The location I want to start colonies at is high desert (Pinon, Juniper, some wildflowers, lots of rock, little else). The nearest cultivated fields are 8+ miles away. There is a small river nearby with some wild rose, etc. along the banks but its pretty sparse.

I would rather not have hives on continuous sugar syrup life support. Any thoughts?

Thanks
 

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Ardilla,

My home yard is in a setting like you describe. We're about three miles from the Mimbres River. The only reliable nectar flow is from the fall wildflower bloom following the monsoon rains. Our elevation is 6,200 feet.

I am interested in more honey production than the forage around my home yard supports. Fortunately, there are seasonal (mesquite, orchards, catclaw, tamarisk) nectar sources in the Mimbres Valley near enough for me to set up outyards. They are all within 30 miles. It obviously involves moving the hives from place to place, but I am willing to do it.

I do maintain colonies at my home yard year around. But, the principal use of the home yard is as a mating yard and for starting new colonies. Because those colonies require closer attention (feeding, observation, etc.) is is expedient to have them closer to home.

I suggest starting with two colonies and use them to establish a benchmark for decisions about future expansion. Feed them heavily until they build up stores. As you are in the Jemez Mountain area, I suspect you'll want to establish each colony in a double-deep configuration. After stores are established, discontinue feeding and observe how the stores change over time.

You can also compare the vitality of the two colonies to each other for reference. You have the opportunity to share and transfer resources between the colonies.

It's difficult to predict how many hives the forage in your area will support. I think you'll have adequate pollen sources, but I don't know about the nectar availability. My advice is to start with a limited number of hives and put yourself in the position to make measured observations.

Good luck.

[ July 21, 2006, 10:35 AM: Message edited by: bleakley ]
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Bob!

I realized the question was somewhat unanswerable.

Two sounds like a good approach. Now the long wait 'til spring...
 
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