Win a copy of Permaculture Design Companion this week in the Permaculture Design forum!
  • 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 experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Mike Jay Haasl
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • James Freyr
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Dave Burton
  • Pearl Sutton

Is where I live likely alright to have a beehive?

 
Posts: 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi,

I've been looking into bee keeping lately and am uncertain if I'd be unable to keep bees in my back yard. I live in the country although a remote area there are a number of homes in my area along a large lake with the people focused on lawn care and yard maintenance which implies they tend to spray a lot of chemicals and poisons to keep their lawns monocultured and green. Across the street from my coldasack is national forest land. Would the bees likely be searching the forested areas for flowers to pollinate or would they look around the people's yards for honey sources? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you.
 
steward
Posts: 5042
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
1394
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm not a beekeeper but I've hung around them a bit.  I think you'd be just fine to keep bees.  They'll search out flowers and pollen wherever they can.  If your neighbors kill their clover and dandelions, the bees won't visit them.  If they have flowers planted that have neonicitinoids (sp) on them it would hurt the bees.  But that risk is there anytime bees are near conventional people.

They'll be in the forest when the trees are blooming, they'll be along the roadsides when the ditch flowers are blooming, they'll be in your garden when your broccoli is bolting, they'll be wherever they need to be.
 
Posts: 8
Location: Southwest VA
bee
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There are a lot of different theories of the cause of hive issues.  I have over 250 hives (my main source of income) and I only have a 97% survival rate from year to year.  Research only gets done in the direction of the money so you can only trust the research so much.  

I think the primary issues with bees come down to over inbreeding and hive management.
A lot of bees have had there hygienic factors bread out for other factors that bee keepers wanted more.
There is to much over harvesting of cash (by honey, wax, pollen, or pollination contracts) from hives.

Don't forget bees can and will fly 2 miles from there hive.
 
pollinator
Posts: 596
Location: Southern Arizona. Zone 8b
75
fish bike bee solar woodworking greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It's kind of difficult to answer your question since we have no idea where you live.

However, as a general answer, Honey bees will generally forage for nectar within a 2 mile radius of their hive.
 
gardener
Posts: 2689
Location: Central Texas zone 8a
489
cattle chicken bee sheep
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I watched a show in which bee hives were bring placed in large metropolises. One ended up with a green honey. After extensive research they found the source. The bees were collecting anti freeze from a storage tank behind a auto mechanics shop.

Yeah, don't eat that honey.

I don't know if there are many locations where pesticides, herbicides and chemicals are not around within that 2 mile radius. As long is it is not in a concrete jungle as i described, i would go for it.
 
gardener
Posts: 615
Location: SoCal USA
110
cat dog trees wofati composting toilet bike solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Josh Wall wrote:I only have a 97% survival rate from year to year.



That's an outstanding survival rate, if only 3% are dying each year. I've heard the average survival rate is 67%, or 10 times greater loss than you.
 
Josh Wall
Posts: 8
Location: Southwest VA
bee
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Mark Tudor wrote:

Josh Wall wrote:I only have a 97% survival rate from year to year.



That's an outstanding survival rate, if only 3% are dying each year. I've heard the average survival rate is 67%, or 10 times greater loss than you.



It all comes down to the type of bees and the management.  I can get into details if anyone wants me to.  
 
wayne fajkus
gardener
Posts: 2689
Location: Central Texas zone 8a
489
cattle chicken bee sheep
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is my first year for bees so any info appreciated. Id love your opinion on langstroth vs top bar.  I did one of each thinking i would pick one for next years expansion.

By 97% do you lose 3 complete hives out of 100, or does each hive lose 3% of the bees?
 
Peter VanDerWal
pollinator
Posts: 596
Location: Southern Arizona. Zone 8b
75
fish bike bee solar woodworking greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

wayne fajkus wrote:This is my first year for bees so any info appreciated. Id love your opinion on langstroth vs top bar.  I did one of each thinking i would pick one for next years expansion.

By 97% do you lose 3 complete hives out of 100, or does each hive lose 3% of the bees?



Pretty sure he's talking about hives.

Individual hives lose nearly 100% of their bees every year, the queen is the only honey bee that survives for more than 4-5 months.  When the nectar is flowing, the foragers typically only live 6-7 weeks.

 
Josh Wall
Posts: 8
Location: Southwest VA
bee
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

wayne fajkus wrote:This is my first year for bees so any info appreciated. Id love your opinion on langstroth vs top bar.  I did one of each thinking i would pick one for next years expansion.

By 97% do you lose 3 complete hives out of 100, or does each hive lose 3% of the bees?



I only use 10 frame medium boxes.  I have not seen a top bar hive in years as I'm into production and they do not work with production very well.
As far as the amount of bees lost in a hive.  You would have to look into the life cycle of the hive over winter.

Over the last 7 years I have had around 250 hives and my worst year I lost 7 hives.
8 years ago I got a hold of some queens with bad genetics and lost a few more hives than normal.  I did not do my research very well.

I would suggest you read up on the types of queens.  IMO you would want a queen that has good hygienic traits as this will help keep the hive clean.  There is a point that you need to find that is between a good harvest ($$$) and keeping the hive clean.  Talking to bee keeps around you will help, but remember to ask them why they do something and what else have they tried.

Every location is different and every year has flows at different times.  This is where you have to decide on how much of what to harvest (honey, wax, and pollen) to what to what you want to supplement.  I set aside 75 pounds of pollen every spring to have if needed to feed back.  I'm careful about the amount of honey I harvest making sure that I only have to feed them in the fall and early spring.  I know plenty of people that end up feeding in the middle of summer from over harvesting when the dearth hits early, but the down side is I end up with an extra harvest to do every year.

You need to ask a question to point me down a single direction.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 2283
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
179
books composting toilet bee rocket stoves wood heat homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There are very very few places in the world that are so hostile to bees that they cannot be kept (some parts of China due to agricultural pesticides, some deserts, some cold regions). For the most part you will be able to keep bees without major problems.

Regarding your neighbours; their manicured lawns are not very appealing to bees anyway, as there is nothing for them to eat there. Of greater concern is the farmer who sprays a field of oilseed rape with insecticides, while it is in flower and the bees are visiting. Fortunately these events are rare.
 
gardener
Posts: 1332
Location: mountains of Tennessee
405
cattle chicken bee homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sounds like you're in a suitable area. Almost nowhere is perfect anymore. Technically, there is no organic honey because there is so much pollution & bees will fly several miles to find foods they prefer most. The other replies are all excellent advice. Your girls would most likely spend their time in the forest instead of the lawns. Go for it.
 
Posts: 31
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yeah man, your own harvested honey is the best food you can eat!
 
A wop bop a lu bob a womp bam boom. Tutti frutti ad:
September-October Homestead Skills Jamboree 2019
https://permies.com/wiki/118704/permaculture-projects/September-October-Homestead-Skills-Jamboree
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!