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Hello,
I am starting a self sustainable farm and I would like to produce honey. Of course to keep honey you have to keep bees. My question is can I keep a Bee hive or two in my green houses and have a whole green house full of flowers and continually flowering plants to feed them. Under those conditions could a hive thrive? I notice that there are a lot of parasites gunning for honey bees (parasitic flies, giant hornets, and such) And a greenhouse could keep them out.
 

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No. Bees will beat themselves to death against the glazing trying to escape. Hoop houses use Bumblebees to pollinate specialty crops, but even those are not sustainable, but are supplemented from packages.
 

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Even in far northern NY a greenhouse on a bright August day is pure misery unless it is shaded and constantly being vented and cooled, and/or with the lower sides rolled up.

Novices who imagine a greenhouse is a nice place to grow stuff in the summer have never worked in a greenhouse in warm weather.

I run a nursery and if I don't get my work in my greenhouses done before 10 am in the summer, I can't get back in there until evening - hardly anything except ginger will even grow in the summer in a greenhouse with sides in place, anyway.

Besides bees need way more foraging range than even a huge commercial range could ever provide.

Enj.
 

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I made this mistake last year. It was my first year with bees and also my first with a hoop house. I ended up having to take the hoop house apart because the bees were getting trapped in the plastic and the heat in the hoop house was breath taking even with the ends open. I think this year I'm going to extend my growing seasons with only cold frames.
 

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First year hoop greenhouse operator and only 2nd year beek - so take this for what it's worth. My impression is that the higher temps overall and the much higher humidity inside would not be optimum. I wonder for example if they would have a hard time getting honey properly dehydrated before capping. Sometimes we open the doors on either end to let them forage inside but this requires keeping the doors open pretty late in the evening. Good as they are at navigating, finding their way out of the greenhouse seems to be a challenge.
 

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Good as they are at navigating, finding their way out of the greenhouse seems to be a challenge.
Knowing even just one hive would need far more than a greenhouse could provide, I thought about having the hive exit THROUGH the greenhouse to the outside, allowing them to forage (and pollinate) in the greenhouse, then also to leave when needed to get more forage range... But the issue is bees finding an exit. How do you know where an exit is when all walls are clear? I like the idea of opening the greenhouse to let the bees in. This would help with pollination more than help the bees in any meaningful way though.
 

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How about locate a hive right next to the greenhouse. Then connect some flexible tubing (like spa hose or something) directly to the hive box and the greenhouse wall. That way the hose is both the entrance and exit to the greenhouse for the bees, they can still use and defend their normal hive box entrance, insects will not get into your greenhouse without going through the hive, the bees will know where the entrance and exit is, and can pollinate the greenhouse when it suites them. This way you can also work your hive from outside the greenhouse. (Plug the hole in your hive box when you do not want bees in your greenhouse.)

I would not do this if you run CO2 in your greenhouse.
 

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Even if there was a summer benefit, in the area of the country where there is winter, hives in a warm greenhouse would stay far too active during the period they should be clustered and consume their stores too rapidly.

Wayne
 

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How about locate a hive right next to the greenhouse. Then connect some flexible tubing (like spa hose or something) directly to the hive box and the greenhouse wall. That way the hose is both the entrance and exit to the greenhouse for the bees, they can still use and defend their normal hive box entrance, insects will not get into your greenhouse without going through the hive, the bees will know where the entrance and exit is, and can pollinate the greenhouse when it suites them. This way you can also work your hive from outside the greenhouse. (Plug the hole in your hive box when you do not want bees in your greenhouse.)

I would not do this if you run CO2 in your greenhouse.
Interesting and simple though... essentially two enterances to the hive, one in the greenhouse, the other free range. I wonder though if they would orient properly to the alternate enterance, or just bang the glass nearest the hive trying to fly back to their normal 'free range' entrance?
 
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