• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Mike Haasl
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Dave Burton
  • Joseph Lofthouse
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Ash Jackson
  • Kate Downham

Keeping Bees in a Forest Garden

 
master steward
Posts: 3942
Location: USDA Zone 8a
1155
dog hunting food preservation cooking bee greening the desert
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It seems to me that keeping bees in a forest garden would be a great addition to the garden.

Especially if there are some flowers planted for the bees.  These would be shade loving flowers.

https://permies.com/t/47686/top-plants-yard-bees




If I remember correctly, forests were the first native homes for bees.

Here are some ideas I found for keeping bees in a forest garden.

These are for mason bees:








Have any beekeepers tried using a forest setting for your bees?






Here are some threads on beekeeping:

https://permies.com/t/15424/Beekeeping-start

https://permies.com/t/43864/type-hive-Sheer-Total-Utter

https://permies.com/t/37135/permaculture-projects/ultimate-skiddable-bee-hut

And Mason Bees:

https://permies.com/t/136888/Mason-Bees-worth-investment

https://permies.com/t/139366/Native-Bees

https://permies.com/wiki/140436/Native-Bee-Guide-FREE



 
pollinator
Posts: 2676
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
322
books composting toilet bee rocket stoves wood heat homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Honey bees do better in a sheltered spot, but with good exposure to direct sun. It helps them take advantage of forage from earlier in the morning as the day warms up.

Looks for sunny glade, and edge effect spots for siting hives.

Re forage; I would never discourage people from planting for bees, but unless you are planting large acreage you will have minimal impact on the overall nectar supply for a honey bee colony. If you are planting specifically for pollinators, look for plants that give good nectar flow in your local dearth. Local beekeepers can tell you when that is.
 
Anne Miller
master steward
Posts: 3942
Location: USDA Zone 8a
1155
dog hunting food preservation cooking bee greening the desert
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My dream location would be like the picture I posted.  Not in the middle of a food forest, it would be on the edges where the shade loving flowers would get a little sun.  That picture is just too pretty!

A girl can dream, can't she?  We, girls, dream of meeting prince charming, we dream of that beautiful wedding we are going to have, we dream about that cottage in the woods with children running about!

When we lived in Dallas, we has beehives.  Our backyard was mostly shady, like a forest garden! We grew no flowers.  Somehow the bees provided us enough honey for our family and some for friends.

Then there are mason bees.  They are pollinator and that is why people furnish homes for them.

Did you know that carpenter bees prefer to nest in shady areas?

Here are some suggestions for shade loving flowers that bees like:

Bee Balm


Bleeding Heart


Penstemon


Columbine



Threads that might be of interest:

https://permies.com/t/138194/Edible-Plants-Pollinators-Love
https://permies.com/t/137369/planting-zombie-apocalypse-herb-garden#1080164

Now I know we have plenty of folks here who raise both honey bees and mason bees.  Please help the bees out by making some suggestions!
 
Posts: 40
Location: Ozark County, Missouri
8
forest garden foraging homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
we caught 5 feral honeybee swarms this year and have integrated them into our forest gardens nicely. on about 1 acre in the heart of what we're actively managing, we put them in different niches. it's cool to see how the different colonies behave in slightly different settings. 1 is in the forest at the edge of our forest gardens. 1 is in an understory of a 25 ft tall native persimmon patch (that we're grafting various persimmon varieties onto). 1 is next to our gazebo where we hang out a lot in the heat of the day so we can have great observation of that hive. they get a lot of afternoon sun so they've been bearding often. another is near a natural building we are completing so we're also near that one a lot. and finally the other is near a couple delightful heritage smelly roses. i check on that one when i go to smell my roses.

it adds another layer to the forest gardens that are really delightful. catching feral swarms also expands the bounds of our community. each hive goes by the name of where we caught it - Lick Creek for example- further integrating us into our bioregion.

we do a lot of natural building here with earthen plasters as well and we've noticed that mason bees really enjoy drilling holes in the rough plaster coats (prior to the fine finish coats). it's something we didn't expect would happen as a result of natural building. again, another interesting, if unintentional, layer of biodiversity and habitat creation.
 
Posts: 148
Location: Gulf Islands BC (zone 8)
46
hugelkultur goat forest garden chicken fiber arts medical herbs
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I wish I was confident enough in my bee handling to capture swarms! Oh well, maybe someday.

I kept bees for several years in a forest edge in a previous property and this week have just set up a new hive after a hiatus of about a decade from beekeeping. Here they are in a clearing of about an acre surrounded by forest.

They are busy working the gardens where we have lots of pollinator plants and have let last year's kale and some early greens go to flower. There are also hundreds of naturalized foxgloves and a few giant rugosa rose bushes in sunny edge areas. And although we have eliminated invasive Scotch broom on our place there is lots growing and flowering next door.
 
wren haffner
Posts: 40
Location: Ozark County, Missouri
8
forest garden foraging homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Love to hear of all of your biodiversity! I enjoy seeing all of the different pollen colors they bring in!

We don't catch catch them as in off of a branch or something - we set up swarm boxes (a la horizontalhive(dot)com) and use natural lures like propolis and lemongrass. Dr Leo has a lot of the advice and even swarm box plans on his website if anyone is interested in reading more. it's our third year successfully catching swarms and working with bioregionally adapted honeybee genetics. We love and have learned a lot from his natural beekeeping ethos. Natural selection at work creating strong colonies instead of propping them up!
 
Andrea Locke
Posts: 148
Location: Gulf Islands BC (zone 8)
46
hugelkultur goat forest garden chicken fiber arts medical herbs
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oh, now a swarm box is something I should look into. That is within my capabilities; wasn't so sure about capturing swarms out of trees and house walls!

I had no idea how many different colours of pollen there were until I kept bees. It's fascinating to watch the bees entering the hive with the different pollens and try to figure out what plant species they were visiting. There are quite a few beekeeping websites that have a pollen colour chart and I hope eventually to develop something for my own site.
 
pollinator
Posts: 377
Location: Athens, GA Zone 8a
72
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Our neighbor across the street had his chimney taken over (and almost pushed over) by a large hive of honeybees. I said I wished they could be lured over into my yard, as I've got all kinds of flowering plants going, buckwheat covering up newly delineated beds, etc. They said the hive was in so deep, they might not be able to lure them out and would have to kill them, which made me so sad. But in the process of investigating what could be done, the head of the local beekeeping group turned me on to this guy's work:

https://www.newurbanbees.com/

My partner grew up with bees and didn't want me to get a hive. He said it would be more than I could handle. But the New Urban Bees guy came over and set up a hive for me free (scroll down at the above link to see the info and images). He seemed really excited to see all the honeybees working my buckwheat. He said what we'd do is first try to capture the local bees; that if they don't take to the hive, we can order some bees later. He complimented me on how much bee forage I have already gotten going just this year.

What he's doing is to save the bees, not to take advantage of them for honey. He said we might get a little honey just to taste, but he's more interested in the slow, steady, strong development of colonies that will then split to start new colonies. He'll come out and take care of the bees to the extent that I don't want to do it, and he'll teach me the ropes. Putting that hive up this morning was absolutely no big deal, and he said after we see how this one does, I can have more hives here if I want. The main reason I want the bees is for pollination and to protect them and help keep them from going extinct, so this really did work out!

 
What? What, what, what? What what tiny ad:
Greenhouse of the Future ebook - now free for a while
https://permies.com/goodies/greenhouse
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic