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Importing a honey bee hive with existing bumble bee population

 
Don Splitter
Posts: 53
Location: Ely and Minneapolis, MN Zone 3
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I'm looking for some advice. I knew that I had pollinators up at my cabin, but I realized after this year I don't have honeybees, but I have bumble bees.

I wanted to use a single Warre hive on my property.

Does anyone have experience importing honey bees into the mix with native bumble bees? If so...I want to get a honey bee hive, and hopefully bring them into co-existence.

Any suggestions, or advice is greatly appreciated.

 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3356
Location: woodland, washington
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chances are pretty good that one Warré isn't going to cause problems for the existing native pollinators. if you were to bring in a whole bunch of hives, that could very well upset the current balance, but one shouldn't be a problem.

consider what might be the factors limiting pollinator populations. they need nesting sites, nectar, pollen, and water. honey bees won't have a noticeable impact on nesting sites or water. depending on what the mix of plant species in the area is, they could compete somewhat for nectar and pollen, but again, one hive isn't going to upset things terribly.

also, I'm sort of surprised that there aren't honey bees there already. you don't say where your cabin is located, but there have been honey bees in Minnesota for quite some time now, and I would imagine that feral colonies are distributed fairly well across the region.
 
Dan Cruickshank
Posts: 59
Location: Virginia
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We have 6 hives now on a two acre piece of property in the middle of grand suburbia. From my observations, this hasn't seemed to impact the bumble bee population here at all. More specifically, in spite of having six hives of honey bees, when I walk through my garden I see a whole lot more bumble bees than honey bees pollinating our plants. I see bumble bees pollinating our rose of sharon bushes, our clover, our melons and our squash. Indeed, I often struggle finding honeybees pollinating anything but the weeds!

In other words--I don't think you'll have a problem with a single hive. Indeed, I would recommend you keep at least two if not four hives. That way if one dies over the winter, you can replace it with swarms from the others.

Just a thought.
 
kent smith
Posts: 211
Location: Pennsylvania
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I started beekeeping this spring and now have three hives here. I had noticed last year before getting the bees that we had few honey bees and lots of bumble bees. I do not notice a change in the bumble bee populating with the hives this summer. I too have noticed that there are some plants in the garden that the bees pollenate and some that the bumble bees pollenate. The cucumbers seem to have lots of bees and the beans lots of bumble bees.
kent
 
Kevin Longeway
Posts: 17
Location: Calgary, Alberta
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I am by no means an expert but I will share that at a Urban bee workshop i went to, we were talk that Bumble bees like to stay with in a 1 mile area and will pollenate whatever is closest. Where as honey bees are more driven to collect so they will tend to take whatever plant has the highest amount of pollen at any given time of the season. They will also travel 3-5 miles (i could be off on this) to find these maximizing plants. That means in my mind they should never really compete if the area has a good mix of plants. I hope this helps some.
 
Kim Kaseman
Posts: 11
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I'm also in MN. Farther North, though. I've also been told that there's not a large population of feral bees here and catching swarms will be hard. I'm determined to try!
 
jacob wustner
Posts: 64
Location: Western Montana
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From my experience, honey bees don't have a detrimental effect on local pollinators, in fact I see the opposite. This may be because the honey bees efficiently pollinate plants that are the best for them, thus increasing the numbers of those plants. This increases the presence of pollinator plants, thus providing more forage for both honey bees and other pollinators. Maybe this is why so much of our food is pollinated by both honey bees and other pollinators. Many others disagree with this, but they don't watch the blooms and the cycles of the seasons like I have to.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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