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Forest beekeeping question

 
Lauren Dixon
Posts: 67
Location: Kalispell, Montana
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It seems that most folks in my area keep their bees in the lush valley bottom, around alfalfa, canola, orchards, etc. I, however, live on a mountainside, at reasonably high altitude, in a predominantly conifer forest. We have some wildflowers, and quite a few wild berry bushes (huckleberry, black raspberry, wild strawberry, etc). I had someone tell me that I could not keep bees here, as there is little pasture for them. Is this true? I see very few wild bees here, but tons of bald faced hornets and paper wasps.
 
Matthew Reed
instructor
Posts: 8
Location: Portland, OR
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Lauren,

You'd be surprised at how well bees can do in areas like you describe. While you may not get tremendous harvests, I think it's worth a try with a colony or two and see how they do. If they are terribly light on honey stores or die out, then you'll have had an experience and learned something. It would also be worthwhile to identify native, pollinator friendly plants that can be planted in the area to help supplement the nectar sources available to your bees, as well as any native bees that live there.

Best,
Matt
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 3662
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
134
bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
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Matthew, I also have a forest property, mostly aspen. How would I go about identifying the local bees?
 
John Polk
master steward
Pie
Posts: 8018
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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The Pollinator Partnership has created a series of booklets for each region of the U.S.
These booklets identify, for each region, the native pollinators AND the plants that they seek.

Go to the above website, and enter your ZIP code. You will then be directed to the proper guide for your region.

It is a great tool, and free.
They even list local sources for the seeds/plants.
Should be in every homesteader's library.

 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 3662
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
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That is sweet , (like honey), John. Thanks!
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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