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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This winter Google Maps updated their "satellite view" photos of our area. The blurry images have been replaced with sharp ones, probably aerial photographs, obviously made this past winter. No leaves on the trees, and almost everything is visible.

They're sufficiently sharp that I have no problem spotting a white 4" diameter pipe lying in the yard. Wish I'd had the image when I was up there in a foot of snow this winter looking for that pipe. I could have stuck my hand into the snow and found it. The images are that good.

Still waiting for our first nucs, we've noticed few honeybees visiting the place. I've scanned these new images and think I would be able to spot apiaries. I have found a few white squares in nearby fields, but no groupings of multiples, so I doubt I'm seeing apiaries.

I've been looking for fields in our area other than the ones I already know. Several are within a 3 mile flight. I can't distinguish locust and tulip poplar yet but I can now easily get distances to some I've known are present ... nice and close as the bee flies.

Has anybody else gotten good use from this free resource?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
There is an open area adjacent to Rt 50 a little west of Romney, WV. A few weeks ago the area was full of palletized hives, presumably fresh off the almonds. Google Maps gives these coordinates: 39.333160, -78.812560

In the image currently up for that spot, I see a large number of squares that may be the pallets of hives being assembled for transport. Do any of the Eastern Panhandle beekeepers recognize this spot?
 

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Oh yea I love Google maps! I can spot an Orange Gove just by scanning over the map then drive to the spot to scope things out. You can tell which groves are in good shape and being taken care of or the ones that are on their last leg. With the street view you can even get an address off the mail boxes to put in your GPS. I'm not so sure all this tech. is so good for privacy but, it is out there you might as well use it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If you mean the lat-long numbers near Romney, WV, I expect they're the hives of several commercial beekeepers in the area, assembled to go pollinate almonds. It looked to me like maybe four or five semis worth of pallets.

Among the ones that came back from the almonds may be some frames from which two nucs are being made, for which we are impatiently waiting. Because we sure would like to get a lot of honey one day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes. Prior to this set on Google, for our area, Bing had the best images. Ours were taken in the fall and the colors were spectacular.

Check MapQuest, Bing, Google Maps, and Google Earth to see who has the best images.

If you are checking Google Mars, that's a little cold for bees.
 

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So will your bees being close to all those commercial hives have trouble finding flowers that have not been foraged by all those bees?
I had not considered it but how will other hives effect my hives? Should I look to see if there are a bunch near me?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I think it pays to know who your neighbors are. Over-foraging could be a problem. In my case, we're so isolated I doubt there is a drone yard within a queen's flying range, so that would affect queen rearing. It would help to know how healthy your neighbors are, too. Mite-laden beetle infested disease factories? Or do you have a neighbor who really knows their bees and could help you with their knowledge?

I've tried looking at some known apiaries. Of three, I could spot two hives I've personally been in in one apiary. A second apiary may be under a gazebo cover, or it may have been when they were moved after some vandalism. The third are hives that are there sometimes and other times are on the road ... probably off doing almonds or else the shadows are so heavy they were not visible. White hives in bright sun can show up nicely.

Hmmm, just remembered another I've visited. I can now clearly spot hives in 2 of 4 I know about. This is probably beyond actual satellite images, but instead aerial photographs, but Google Maps just says it is the satellite view.

Street view can help you verify that you're looking at the right house, if you're looking for one you have seen from the road. Personally, I don't want mine visible from a road, if for no other reason than to lose fewer bees to windshields. I suspect most are hidden away. But I would also expect most are open to the sun at least to the south and/or east.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Our hives will be way up the holler in West Virginia. The closest hives I know of to ours are close to ten miles away. I expect there are some a little closer because we see an occasional honeybee at the site of our apiary. Most of the hives I mentioned are 130 miles from our apiary.

The good side is that we have little competition for forage except from natives. Our bees won't be in constant contact with the diseases of others. But the downside is if we wanted to raise queens. With no other apiaries close by, if one of our two hives produced a virgin queen, the pickings of local males would be slim. She'd have the other hive, and the result would be Carnis (presuming the almond bee drones were expired and only the two California Girls were producing). But the next generation would be inbred. Not a bad location if you want controlled breeding. Lousy if you want to mate locally.

But if I could spot local hives maybe I could strike up a friendship with local beekeepers, maybe move a hive for breeding purposes.
 
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