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I am interested in becoming a beekeeper for the polination, but, not for the honey. The books I have read do not answer the question - "What would beekeepers do differently in managing hives if they do not want to harvest honey?" Would they not concern themselves over avoiding swarming? Would they not bother adding honey supers? Would they put on honey supers but never remove them?

I will be doing my beekeeping in Michigan, in case that affects the answers.

thank you,
Bob Williams
 

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I have some new friends that have kept two double deep hives in their garden for 20+ years. Theirs is the ultimate hands-off beekeeping. They never pop a lid, never harvest honey, never feed, nada, zip, nothing. 9 out of 10 years they have bees there for their garden pollination, in at least one of the setups. Much of the time it is swarms moving in but colonies sometimes make it through winter. They do live in a rural area where there have been commercial beekeepers for close to 30 years.
Sheri

[ December 19, 2006, 04:40 PM: Message edited by: JohnK and Sheri ]
 

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For pollination purposes, splitting hives often would not only provide you with many hives for your purpose, but would also limit the amount of honey you produce. You would want to control swarming at any rate, as swarming will cost you pollination units.
 

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Kim Flottum recently published the book
"The Backyard Beekeeper", which addresses
exactly this situation.

http://www.amazon.com/Backyard-Beekeeper-Absolute-Beginners-Keeping/dp/1592531180

I told him he was crazy when he first mentioned
the idea of people wanting to keep bees but not
wanting any honey, but he was convinced that even
slapping some Ross Round supers atop a hive
would be "too much trouble" for these folks.

Looks like you are one of "these folks", so
you really should get his book, as it was
written for you. (But think about doing
some comb honey, as it really is no trouble
at all, and nothing tastes like honey from
your own hive.)
 

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You may be able to find someone local who would be more than willing to add supers to your colonies and pull them later... sparing you all of the aggrevation of dealing with honey supers.
 
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