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Now that I have 4 colonies I am wondering about how much my yard can take. I live in pretty densely populated burb on the Southside of Indy. There is one park but few other wooded areas. It is all mature neighborhoods with lots of mature trees and ornamentals but no agriculture anywhere close.

I'd love to hear your experience with something close to that. I was talking to a guy when I picked up my package bees this weekend and he asked so that's what brought it up.
 

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Now that I have 4 colonies I am wondering about how much my yard can take. I live in pretty densely populated burb on the Southside of Indy. There is one park but few other wooded areas. It is all mature neighborhoods with lots of mature trees and ornamentals but no agriculture anywhere close.

I'd love to hear your experience with something close to that. I was talking to a guy when I picked up my package bees this weekend and he asked so that's what brought it up.
Suburbs can handle a fairly large hive density. Everyone waters and plants, tends their yards, etc. So there is usually plenty of nectar and pollen sources around. At my place I have no issues at all with 10 to 15 hives. They produce better than 100# per hive in normal years. A lot of times forage is actually better in the city than in the countryside - no dearth.
 

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John- Your yard can take as many bees as your neighbors are comfortable with. I've got some hives in a small town
urban type setting with mature trees like you describe and the bees do just fine. Those hives that are for production
I avg about 50lb per hive, so urban beekeeping does work.
 

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I have 40 in one yard. Had 100 lb average a few years back with 24 there.
 

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Being near agriculture isn't always a good thing...broad use of insecticides and such. Your bees will do just fine. You will especially get to love the houses that let their yards go to crap...you won't see weeds, you'll see 'wild flowers'.... :applause:
 

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HaHa that is exactly what I thought before! :) If the neighbors want to let their yard be a dandelion farm then.... well thanks. My hives do just fine in the burbs. There are a nice variety of nectar and pollen sources throughout the season.
Being near agriculture isn't always a good thing...broad use of insecticides and such. Your bees will do just fine. You will especially get to love the houses that let their yards go to crap...you won't see weeds, you'll see 'wild flowers'.... :applause:
 

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You have an opportunity to educate your neighbors about the value of dandelions, clover, etc! I feel lucky to live in an old neighborhood, somewhat suburban but almost 200 years old and moderate to low income. People allow lots of white clover in their yards, and plenty of "weed" trees growing in the alleys. I imagine that the new suburbs are hell on all kinds of insects. Imagine that a person can go and buy imidacloprid (a neonic) off the shelf and spray it on their lawn just because they're scared of all bugs. Horrifying.
 

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Thanks for all the encouragement. My neighbors are all cool with the bees. Most are heavy gardeners (we have lots of recent Burmese immigrants in our neighborhood) so they love the pollination aspect.

It's a mixed middle to mid/upper income area. But we don't have a lot of fanatical yard groomers. My one neighbor was almost apologizing for not spraying his yard on the one hand but asking what he could plant for the bees on the other. I told him he was doing just fine :)

Thanks again!
 

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>Now that I have 4 colonies I am wondering about how much my yard can take.

Bees are foraging the 8,000 acres around them. In farmland, with the advent of 2-4-D for the ditches and Round-up ready crops in the fields, this means they have almost nothing to eat... in town, virtually every house has some kind of flowering plants... now if they would just leave the lawns with some clover and dandelions...
 

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Due to a broken lawn mower, we now have clover blooming in our yard. I haven't seen a bee on it but the little boogers are getting pollen and nectar somewhere, just not my house.
 

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Back when I first started to keep bees in our little town, I was worried about whether the bees would have enough forage. One of the bee club gurus who lives out in the country told me, "You'll make twice as much honey per hive as I do."
 

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I know a number of suburban beekeepers who do very well. One has had, IIRC, eight hives for some years now and says he's never lost a hive. Backyard beekeepers may tend to spoil their bees ... really attractive hives, attention to water sources, observed daily, well protected.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks again for the encouragement. Here's my miniature suburban beeyard. Girl's are a little cold to fly much today though.



Here's the orchard hive.

 

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My hives in town always do notoriously better than my hives on our farm. Most people in town irrigate and there are flowering plants for them to feed from spring until fall. I don't go more than 2 hives in one spot in town.
 
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