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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How would you describe the perfect apiary in detail?

Would you like to see multiple seasonal blooms in your apiary? ... a variety of fruit trees scattered around (plum, peach, and/or pear)? ... What about water sources? ... flowering hedges? ... liberally sown wildflower seeds?

As you can tell I'm planning! :D

I realize the odds of producing a honey crop within the first season of establishing package bees is pretty slim ... is it impossible though?

Sounds like I need a crash course in Texas plants and trees! I will say this ... our Peachtree is covered with bees when in bloom along with our hedges!

This is going to be so fun even with all the challenges!:banana:

Robert
 

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This is only my personal opinion, and as such it is almost certainly wrong! :D But in my opinion, planting for a honey crop vs. planting for healthy bees are two different things. For healthy bees I want LOTS of variety, but for a honey crop, I want LOTS of the particular flower providing the nectar flow.

For healthy bees I want a willow tree, sugar maple tree, some various fruit trees like apple trees, cherry trees, peach trees, nectarine trees, apricot trees, pear trees, plum trees, almond trees, the list could go on a while... along with sourwood, tulip poplar, and some other inedibles that provide a source of nectar or pollen for the bees, plenty of clover and dandelions on the ground. A nice big patch of Veronica (they really love that stuff), a field with some goldenrod and buckwheat nearby... oh yeah, and at least one evodia tree.

Now for a honey flow I would prefer my hives to be in a huge orange grove with the perfect weather and soil conditions and absolutely no variety of flowers for the bees to pick and choose from.
 

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I rarely find bees (honey bees) working my pear trees,also there are many varitety of the goldenrod plant,here in SW Mo. i have the type they rarely work. I have found that you can go to alot of work and expense planting for bees and they will work in it, but if they have found something they like better somewhere else,your hard work and expense was for nothing except made us fell better.They can be deviant little bugs.:D They are something you can love and hate at the same time.:scratch: Jack
 

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In North Texas for general bee health I would say some Vitex Trees, Buttonwood, Texas Kindneywood. I am also experimenting with Sweet Almond Verbenia. When all else dies out I find them working the Lantana as a last resort.
 

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Rasetruscan,
To answer your other question, about getting a honey crop the first season from package bees... it can be done, but... not likely.

If you get them first thing in the spring, no later than April 1, and feed feed feed, even hiving them on foundation, there is a chance you'd get a small crop by the fall.

However, I have hived nucs April 1-10 on foundation, and fed fed fed, and by the end of the summer in my locale (se Missouri) I have pulled 50 pounds of honey off that hive. It's mate, same type of bee, same regimen, didn't produce enough to harvest. So, you pays your money, you takes your chances! :scratch:
Good luck!
Steven
 

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couple hundred acres of melons - they love those blooms, but I've never eaten 'melon' honey.
 

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There was an article in one of the bee magazines that stated- "2 acres of anise blue hysop can support 250 hives".

Thats an amazing plant
 

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anise blue hysop - mmmmmmmmmm good

I think there is probably very little we can do without a couple of sections of land and a number of years to influence honey production, unless we are in the habit (or fortune) of living within or being able to move our bees to those crops producing those resources.

The rest of us trying to maintain a healthy bee population can only influence what we personally own. I have to believe that a lot has to do with what we do (or don't do) to 'help' with the health of our hives - but I can't go over to my neighbor across the street and tell him that using all those herbicides to control grass weeds such as dandelions and clover are hurting my bees - I just don't use them myself and allow my lawn to get a little out of control.

Kind of like our own children - we nurture them, provide them safety, food and love - but they wander off into the big, wide world for 3/4 of their young life, of which we have little or no influence.........

Do what you can, can the rest.
 

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Sgt. Mjr. No Jack is right, the golden rod around here never seems to have honey bees on it. Bumbles, some other native bees, but I have never seen a honey bee working golden rod on our fields.
 

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Are you sure that's goldenrod and not ragweed?
Yep, it's goldenrod. Our's must have BO, at least where i live. out of thousands of goldenrod plants in full bloom i can sometimes find a clump of 5 or 6 plants that they are working before the aster starts blooming, very strange and flusterating. Another strange thing i have noticed, as much as the bees love sweet clover, if the strange looking black flies are working it you won't see a honey bee on it. I don't know what this black fly (coal black) is but it is about three times bigger than the common house fly and looks like it may have a stinger on it's tail. Anybody else seen them and know what they are? jack
 

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but I can't go over to my neighbor across the street and tell him that using all those herbicides to control grass weeds such as dandelions and clover are hurting my bees - I just don't use them myself and allow my lawn to get a little out of control.
Why not. I told all my neighbours to stop using herbicides and pesticides during a day. Only in the dusk. I told them politely and explained everything and they do listen. I was surprised when they come with a label and show me what will they spray.
I don't spray with anything, ever and this seems is slowly spreading. I see my neighbours are not spraying apple trees anymore and apples just grow :) Maybe not so pretty but who cares ?, they don't mow grass as frequently as before. All in all, after I got my bees everything seems just better around :) Talk, talk, talk with people. When growing food for personal use no spraying is needed. Everything grows....
 

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This is the State of the U.S. Masters and turf grass, next to a man's lawn around here in this very urban setting, his children come in a close second.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
From what I am gathering from the posts is there are two types of flowers for bees ... nutritional and nectar types. Also, you can plant all you want, but the bees will go where they want to go!

Well, I have decided to inventory my home's landscaping. Not pollinator friendly at all! In fact, I originally wanted to establish a backyard hive but the homeowner's association came out in full force against my idea. Our family lives in sprawling suburbia! So with that bit of negativity from the neighbors, my hives are going to be established in Athens, Texas and on a 100-acre farm in Garland (at least this is close by). Again, I can't have a hive at my home ... SO ... I'm going to change the landscape to accomodate bees and other pollinators. In the process of this transformation, I am also going to attempt to lure a wild swarm to take up residence in one of our trees. With this plan, I'm not in violation of our Homeowner's Association!

In North Central Texas here is a list of "Bee Friendly" plantings ...

Shrubs
Azalea
Barberry
Beautyberry
Bee Bush
Boxwood
Burning Bush
Bush Honeysuckle
Butterfly Bush
Cherry Laurel
Cotoneater
Crape Myrtle
Fire Thorn
Flowering Quince
Hydrangea
Indian Cherry
Lilac
Oleander
Privet
Spirea
Viburnumk
Weigela
Wisteria

I'm assuming Bees will work any Holly Tree or Shrub, Fruit, Berry, or Herb.

Of the list which would be considered Nutritional, and which would produce good Nectar?

Of the fruit bearing trees we have a Peach Tree. I have recently purchased 2 Plums, 2 Pears, 1 Pomegranate, 2 Red Seedless Grape Vines (not sure that encourages pollinators, but sounds very yum to me!)

Suggestions?

Robert
 

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Robert, if one of your trees are hollow inside, take or get some old dark comb, and put a few drops of lemongrass oil on it, and place it inside the tree. Like the movie, build it and they will come.:thumbsup: Jack
 

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I planted apple trees and duch clover to go along with my bees not just for the bees. I always wanted apple trees, and the clover is good to build nitrogen into your soil. Plus clover is a nice lush green for your lawn.
 
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