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A problem for the math nerds to solve: I have soybean fields near me, starting at 1 1/4 miles away. I know bees forage 2 or 3 miles radius. I have 6 of my 20 hives in the bean fields permanently, but would the logistics dictate that the other 14 hives would make enough more honey to justify moving them to the bean fields for the late August bloom? I don't have much else blooming near the home apiary at that time except a little golden rod. I also know the "rule" about moving bees 3" or 3 miles and I'm not concerned about that.
 

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Barry, they tell me that the variety of soybeans has a lot to do with the amount and quality of nectar produced by the plant. I need to study that a little more and ask the farmers which variety they are using this year. Yes, in the past years, I have seen the bees working the soy blossoms, but in all honesty, they did not make as much honey as I expected.
 

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Have you actually walked the bean fields and seen honeybees working the blossoms? Most everyone claim that bees don't get much of anything off soybeans.
Not true. Iowa State University has a paper out on bee's and soybean products. They say with bee's soybeans will gain a 10-40% increase in yield. Reason being is the bee's will pollinate some of the flowers that would normally fall off. Another agriculture university did a similar study but I can't remember who it was so I can't find.

http://cornandsoybeandigest.com/soybeans/can-bees-build-soybean-yields

Greg
 

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Bees will work soybeans if there is nothing else flowering to their liking. Different varieties do affect their attractiveness however seed companies nor others have done studies so in general no one knows which are which so I am not sure asking the farmer will do you much good. They have been shown to increase yields in some studies, again they were generally placed in large fields where there was nothing else to forage on. The farmer will be happy you have them for his potential benefit but the honey yields can be highly variable from variety to variety and year to year.
 

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> They say with bee's soybeans will gain a 10-40% increase in yield. Reason being is the bee's will pollinate some of the flowers that would normally fall off.

While soybean yield may increase if honeybees work the soybean field, that does not necessarily mean that bees will gain any appreciable amount of nectar [honey] from soybeans. The bees may be interested in pollen that the beans offer, not the nectar.
 

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I have bees near my own soybean fields just to see if there is an increase in yield. This is my first year with bees, so I have nothing to compare the honey yield with, but should be able to see any improvement of bean yield. Even a 10% yield would be most welcome.

However, soybean plants have a lot of leaves and the flowers are small and along the main stem of the plant, so they are not easily visible to see if bees are working them or not. My fields have been blooming for several weeks already and will continue to bloom for several more weeks. From my hives, bees are heading the direction of those fields, but I've not seen any bees actually visiting any flowers when I have taken a bit of time to look. I'm just hoping that both the plant & pollinators will both benefit if there is interaction between them.
 

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Farmer sprayed Warrior on the beans near me the second week of July. He told me he was spraying a fungicide and the company doing the spraying suggested adding Warrior for 40 or 50 cents more an acre. Warrior kills on contact for 48 or more hours. I gave the farmer 10 jars of honey at harvest time and had a good conversation while the combines rolled. He admitted he relied on the applicators and was uneducated as far as use and effects of the chemicals. I came away feeling like he cared and would try to work with me in the future. I sure hope so.
I have the State Chemist on speed dial and he seems to want to help in the future also. We as beekeepers have to be vigilant in getting the word out in a non aggressive way. And when we see bee kills or suspect that chemicals have been used, not in accordance to their labels, we must IMMEDIATELY report this to the proper local authorities. It is very important that the "chain of custody" be maintained in these investigations.
I look forward to feeling like my bees are safe around the fields near my hives, and the chance to catch some honey when the right conditions exist with less risk.
 

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My home yard in VA is sometimes within 100 yards of flowering soybeans and at that time we are in a nectar dearth, I have walked through the soy bean fields and not seen any insects at all and no sign of bees moving in that direction. It could well be the variety being used down here is unattractive to pollinators. Funny thing was when those fields were planted to wheat, at a certain growth stage the hum from bees was so loud I thought this could be a drone concentration area but on closer examination bees were actually working the wheat. This lasted about 2 days then they were done.
Johno
 
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