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I started keeping bees in my back yard and got up to 10 hives. Then moved a couple out to some land where I work, and then one to a friends place. This weekend, I moved all but two from my back yard to a new location out in the country, and just today I had an offer of three hives from a friend, if I'd leave them on his land for pollination purposes. So now I have hives in five locations and a couple of those only have one hive so I know that's not too efficient. How many locations/bee yards do most of you have going and how many hives at each one?
 

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i have about 15 spots with 5-10 hives per spot
some stay the year others move from place to place
one way is to just try them out - if one area does good - stay with it and add more hives until you see a decrease in stored honey - try to space you yards as close to a straight route as you can - i hate driving all day to check 2 hives -
 

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18 or so in NY w/ from 24 to 40 per yard
6 in SC w/ 80 in the smallest yard and 120 in the largest yd
 

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By September this year I will have:
6-8 hives in my back yard.
30 hives in two locations 1/2 mile apart on the same fields of pasture and clover.
10 hives in final location.
The forage at the location determines number of hives. Like a previous poster suggested, add colonies until honey production drops.
Regards,
Steven
 

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I have 6-10 yards and try to keep at least 5-10 hives per location. If there is a strong flow on, I may move more to that location. Anything to get a good crop and save on gas. Don't get too spread out, you will loose more than you gain.
 

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Thanks to you all. As expected, lots of variability in replies. How far is your farthest yard and does it suffer from attention compared to your closer yards? One more question, how often do most of you harvest? I've been harvesting three times, May, July and September. That may be too much and reduce stores beyond what is good for the bees, especially if no late fall flow develops.
 

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IMO the number of hives in a yard should be determined by the available forage/water within a 5 mile radius of the yard.
 

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I learned not to worry about how close my yards are to one another. Although I drove an hour to some, I often had several within a half-mile of one another. The reason for several yards was that each yard tends to have a different flight path and also, breaking the yards into smaller units makes management easier.

The driving distance to yards often concerned me and at one time, I had a spreadsheet that showed how many more pounds a yard had to produce to justify the extra expense in mileage and wages paid for sitting for each extra mile away from the home yard. It was so sobering, I immediately deleted it.

Why then do beekeepers drive an hour or more to distant yards? I think it is partly psychological. People and dogs love to ride aroud in the country. 'Nuf said.

Distance is also a way to diversify, so if a disaster or crop failure is local, then some hives escape.

As a bee inspector this past fall, I often drove an hour or more behind beekeepers' trucks, loaded with gear and five or six people to some distant location. On the way, we passed many yards owned and operated by beekeepers from as much as three hours away.

Why they never sit down and swap locations I will never know. They are all pals and we often see one another.
 

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How far is your farthest yard and does it suffer from attention compared to your closer yards?
Here at home, my farthest yard is about 50 miles away, about an hours drive. Going the other way, that yard is about 25 miles away.

The next farthest yard is 1,000 miles away, in SC. :)

No, really, when I'm down south, the farthest yard from where I sleep is about 25 miles.

I take honey off once or twice, depending on the season.

My yards are where they are for a number of reasons. A. there had already been bees there before, I inherited the location from another beekeeper and ther was a track record. B. It looked like a good location for me and the landowner was okay w/ the idea. C. I already had two yards on that road and having one inbetween made sense and the landowner was okay w/ it.

Sometimes finding a landowner who will let you use his/her property is as good a reason as anything else, if there is good forage w/in flight distance.

How many hives in a yard? As many as I feel like working before it's time to move to another yard. The ride between yards is my break time. Having a store near by is nice. A diner between each yard would be nicer, but it doesn't happen. But I know where all of the stores and diners are where my hives are located.
 
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