How many hives

Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum

Help Support Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum:

wightbees 

Queen Bee
Beekeeping Sponsor
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
Messages
2,654
Reaction score
6
Location
Isle Of Wight
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
How long is a piece of string
How many colonys of bees can a area support. I know this is a bit of give and take due to the area but there must be a rough guide that beeks use?
I have read that OSR for example is 4 per acre.
But how about general country side and towns ?
 

Finman 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 8, 2008
Messages
26,806
Reaction score
1,093
Location
Finland, Helsinki
Hive Type
langstroth
How many colonys of bees can a area support. I know this is a bit of give and take due to the area but there must be a rough guide that beeks use?
I have read that OSR for example is 4 per acre.
But how about general country side and towns ?
4 per acre is absolutely too much. Osr blooms 2 weeks, and if it is rainy weather you get nothing. Your yield period is 4 month or what? - what you harvest 10 weeks?

If you want honey yield, australians have reseached that 1 hive per 2 hectares is good.
 

Black Comb 

Queen Bee
Joined
Aug 10, 2009
Messages
2,737
Reaction score
1
Location
Cumbria
Hive Type
other
Number of Hives
10+
I can't quote any sources except that several experienced beeks have told me the optimum is 6 per site.

One of the reasons being that any more encourages drifting, another said that's the max. for forage collection within a local area.

Others will no doubt have different views.
 

wightbees 

Queen Bee
Beekeeping Sponsor
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
Messages
2,654
Reaction score
6
Location
Isle Of Wight
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
How long is a piece of string
I have lent my Hooper book to someone but i am sure he quotes 4 to a acre for OSR in the back in the flower types section.Can anyone check for me ?
 

chipper 

House Bee
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Nov 14, 2009
Messages
161
Reaction score
4
Location
Devon uk
Hive Type
none
Number of Hives
More than a hundred...Langstroth Jumbo
I think you can only answer this by trial and error. Every area will be different.
I have a minimum of 15 hives per site, no hives are moved, and because there are no other beeks in the areas covered Yields are reliably above the average. Some of the apiaries are only 2kms apart.
 

wightbees 

Queen Bee
Beekeeping Sponsor
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
Messages
2,654
Reaction score
6
Location
Isle Of Wight
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
How long is a piece of string
Thanks Peters even though i got 4 from somewhere lol
 

Finman 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 8, 2008
Messages
26,806
Reaction score
1,093
Location
Finland, Helsinki
Hive Type
langstroth
.
4 hives per hectare has been in books 50 years. During that time hive size has grown 3-fold.

Your 3 per acre is 7 per hectare. 50 hectares rape and you are ready to put there 300 hives. I have here hundres of hectares rape and fireweed but i must be carefull, whee l put hives.
Use your brains!

I put hives on summer rape 2 hives per 10 hectares. Rape is soon bloomed and bees ought to get honey from another flowers.
If the the pasture is mere rape, i do not put my hives in such place.

But it depends what alternatives exist.
 
Last edited:

beebreeder 

Field Bee
Beekeeping Sponsor
Joined
Aug 17, 2009
Messages
785
Reaction score
0
Location
Wilts
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
Lots
can you guarantee you have the only bees in your area, if its osr they seem to go miles for the stuff, weather depending, spoke to a commercial beekeeper in north hampshire a while back and he has cut some sites from 20 colonies on a site down to a dozen and the yield is still the same for less hives to inspect.
 

Black Comb 

Queen Bee
Joined
Aug 10, 2009
Messages
2,737
Reaction score
1
Location
Cumbria
Hive Type
other
Number of Hives
10+
Just to say we have no rape in our part of the world so it doesn't come into consideration.
 

oliver90owner 

Queen Bee
***
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
16,027
Reaction score
426
Location
Lincolnshire
Hive Type
14x12
Let's get all this into perspective. There are other reasons/calculations, but:

An acre is aprox 70yards x 70 yards.

A suare mile is 560 acres.

Bees can fly more than a mile to forage.

Simplistic calculations on available forage are misleading.

Regards, RAB
 

wilderness 

House Bee
Joined
Dec 8, 2008
Messages
413
Reaction score
1
Location
South Oxfordshire
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
4 + 1 nucs
assume a bee can travel 3 miles from the hive to forage, that's 28 sq miles or 18,000 acres it can cover (probably not all in the same day however)
 

wightbees 

Queen Bee
Beekeeping Sponsor
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
Messages
2,654
Reaction score
6
Location
Isle Of Wight
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
How long is a piece of string
So how do bee farmers go about this then ?
 

PaleoPerson 

Field Bee
Joined
Jul 18, 2009
Messages
705
Reaction score
0
Location
Essex
Hive Type
14x12
I agree with RAB, but look at the maths again.

Hypothetical Scenario.


If the bees forage no further than a 1.5 mile radius from the hive, then there is 4523 acres potentially available to them.

It is the amount of forage available within their forage area as a whole and for the full flying season that is important as to the number of colonies it can support.

There are a number of other factors to bear in mind such as distance from hive (longer flying times, energy expended, local conditions, etc. etc.).

I had some colonies situated within an OSR field, but they still collected Horse Chestnut for which they had to fly over the OSR to get to. Bees do what Bees do.

When we talk about quantity of hives/acre, are you not talking about pollination? i.e. you have a crop of x number of acres and the flower will be in bloom for y number of weeks. How many hives do I need to ensure adequate crop pollination?
 

johnandyrob 

Field Bee
Joined
Nov 28, 2009
Messages
849
Reaction score
0
Location
Co. Durham
Hive Type
langstroth
Number of Hives
18
Their was a study done on osr and apparently it only gives nectar early and late in the day stopping during the midday period or should I say the bees only collected during these times and collected other nectar including hawthorn through the middle period of the day
 

Finman 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 8, 2008
Messages
26,806
Reaction score
1,093
Location
Finland, Helsinki
Hive Type
langstroth
.
Practical experience

if the rape field starts at the distance of mile, half of yield will be lost for distance.
The most effective foraging distance is under 1 km. what other factors drop the yield?

-cultivated corn fields over which bees must fly to reach flower fields
- dense forest
- gliff and sand soil areas which are poor and quick to dry up
- well cutted lawns in gardens
- modern hay harvesting does not let flowers bloom long time

when i notice all this from supers, summer is over.

I have places where i get splended yield in early summer but nothing in midd or late summer.

In different sites the yield may be 3-fold and sometimes 5-fold, and the distance between sites is only 4 miles.
 

Finman 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 8, 2008
Messages
26,806
Reaction score
1,093
Location
Finland, Helsinki
Hive Type
langstroth
.
Pollination ?

No one pay me for pollination. Do i nurse the beehive the whole year that i pollinate something for nothing?

Last summer asked from a farmer, may i bring hives to his rape field.
In autumn we discussed how it went. A farmer told that rape field bloomed 1 day after that when i brought the hives.
 

drstitson 

Queen Bee
Joined
Aug 4, 2010
Messages
7,656
Reaction score
2
Location
surrey, lincolnshire etc.
Hive Type
dadant
Number of Hives
14
Pollination

In the US there is a massive pollination industry centred around the almond crop.

My bees are primarily to increase pollination of our crops with honey as a pleasant byproduct.

Finman - I presume your country does not have a significant top fruit sector (but well established soft fruit production)????

DOI: Live a few km outside Vignola (MO), centre of Italian cherry industry!!
 

Latest posts

Top