Taking bees to an Orchard

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aberreef 

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My sister-in-law has just moved into her new home that has a 2 acre orchard which will need polinating;)

One downside is that they live just over an hours drive away so I'll have to leave them there more or less unattended for the flowering season. I'm figuring flowering will start around late April to the begining of May and last for about a month, right at the start of swarming seasonbee-smillie.

When should I take them to the orchard and what precautions would you guys suggest to prevent swarming?
 

Poly Hive 

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If they are only an hour away why not just go every ten days as normal?

PH
 

mbc 

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I agree with ph, otherwise if fuel costs are too much just take strong colonies which your comfortable with puting a couple of supers on then cross your fingers.
 

Hivemaker. 

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Take them there when the tree's are well in bud,secure the frames well in the TBH's,athough some combs may break off,and do swarm control each weekend,you will most likely get some good dandelion honey.
 
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mbc 

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I missed the bit about you having tbh's. I amend my recomendation to: not moving them or shook swarming them into a proper hive and feeding like mad to ensure decent pollination
 

oliver90owner 

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Is this 0.8ha orchard a commercial entity?

OK, suggestions.

Leave a spare beesuit, maybe?

Use a more local beekeeper?

There is little or no financial return for SIL pollination duties (unless there is an alternative nectar source nearby). Apart from some top fruit later in the year!!

If strong colonies, late April could be swarming season already! So swarming could be a high risk.

You might even consider moving already A/S'd colonies, given the opportunity. That should solve that side of things for a month. Not sure about that option, if both your colonies are in TBHs.

With TBHs it may mean a need to collect swarms rather than controlled A/Ss, so maybe not so good an idea!

Travelling TBHs for a normal drive of just over an hour might mean a much longer drive when moving them?

Are your hives big enough to split the colony? Or could you weaken them so they would not be likely to swarm for the next month (by removing a fair proportion of the colony into another hive)?

Some ideas, but I think I might invest in a couple of framed hives and offer the service in 2012!

Regards, RAB
 

aberreef 

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If they are only an hour away why not just go every ten days as normal?

PH
Good point, trouble is I'm usually pushed for time with the dodgy shifts I work plus all the other animals to look after. May have to make time I suppose:driving:

Take them there when the tree's are well in bud,secure the frames well in the TBH's,athough some combs may break off,and do swarm control each weekend,you will most likely get some good dandelion honey.
Ah ha well noticed:coolgleamA:. I'll be taking my National hive though and leaving the TBH in place. It's quite surprising how strong the comb is though provided it's not full of honey. I picked my hive up from 20 or so miles away with no mishaps (it was small at the time, only 5 combs 1/2 size).


The orchard is in the middle of nowhere (seems like at least) with alot of different farm land locally (rape, crops, grass etc plus miles of hedging). How much honey can I expect the bees to produce from this site from an average season?
 

aberreef 

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Is this 0.8ha orchard a commercial entity?

OK, suggestions.

Leave a spare beesuit, maybe?

Use a more local beekeeper?

There is little or no financial return for SIL pollination duties (unless there is an alternative nectar source nearby). Apart from some top fruit later in the year!!

If strong colonies, late April could be swarming season already! So swarming could be a high risk.

You might even consider moving already A/S'd colonies, given the opportunity. That should solve that side of things for a month. Not sure about that option, if both your colonies are in TBHs.

With TBHs it may mean a need to collect swarms rather than controlled A/Ss, so maybe not so good an idea!

Travelling TBHs for a normal drive of just over an hour might mean a much longer drive when moving them?

Are your hives big enough to split the colony? Or could you weaken them so they would not be likely to swarm for the next month (by removing a fair proportion of the colony into another hive)?

Some ideas, but I think I might invest in a couple of framed hives and offer the service in 2012!

Regards, RAB
I type so slowly:svengo:

Thanks for the ideas. Would I be able to buy a mated queen this early in the year (April). If so could I kill two birds with one stone and create a second colony by splitting before moving to the orchard?
 

jimbeekeeper 

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My sister-in-law has just moved into her new home that has a 2 acre orchard which will need polinating;)
Is this 0.8ha orchard a commercial entity?
As RAB has questioned unless this is a tip top commercial orchard I would say given all your factors it is not worth it.

We have 1/4 acre orchard, but the bees hardly touch it due to the stronger lure of OSR.

Also if like us, your sisters is her garden and unless she realy manages it, which might progress to spraying...does not mix with bees?
 

tonybloke 

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The orchard is in the middle of nowhere (seems like at least) with alot of different farm land locally (rape, crops, grass etc plus miles of hedging). How much honey can I expect the bees to produce from this site from an average season?
crops, grass and hedging don't make an awful lot of honey, the osr will give a crop early in season, and unless there is a lot of bramble or ivy about, I wouldn't expect much at all from such a location.
 

aberreef 

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As RAB has questioned unless this is a tip top commercial orchard I would say given all your factors it is not worth it.

We have 1/4 acre orchard, but the bees hardly touch it due to the stronger lure of OSR.

Also if like us, your sisters is her garden and unless she realy manages it, which might progress to spraying...does not mix with bees?
It's a sort of semi-commercial entity. The orchard produces quite a few tonnes of apples every year plus some pears, plums and walnuts. I doubt they will be spraying because they are pretty organically minded.

More important than the honey I suppose is the apples I'll be bringing home in the autumn. They are mainly cider apples so it's VITAL that they produce as many as possible. Plus my pigs ove them;)
 

taff.. 

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my bees are in an apple orchard that produces ITR of 400 tonnes of apples p/a.

this year I had approx 210Lb of honey from 2 colonies, and that's without stripping them of everything they had. the majority of that honey came from the dandelion, white clover and blackberry. obviously some came from the apples but not really that much compared to the clover etc
 

Poly Hive 

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Cough.

Why do the BFA charge for top fruit pollination?

For fun?

To cover costs?

To compensate for damage to colonies from no or little flow?

Ooooops sorry the quiz starts tomorrow....

PH
 

aberreef 

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my bees are in an apple orchard that produces ITR of 400 tonnes of apples p/a.

this year I had approx 210Lb of honey from 2 colonies, and that's without stripping them of everything they had. the majority of that honey came from the dandelion, white clover and blackberry. obviously some came from the apples but not really that much compared to the clover etc
Nice crop. Makes my 3lbs seem even worse:rofl:. I seem to remember the SIL saying the orchard produces about 150 tonnes a year but seems like alot to me:leaving:

I've just been looking on Google maps at the area around the orchard and there's alot of what looks like fruit farms all around plus various fields and a nice deciduous wood, all within a mile or so. The bees should find something to their liking even if they only polinate the treesbee-smillie
 

drstitson 

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orchards

problem is, as i was told at my beginners course, is that bees have a hierarchy of preferences wrt flowers, and so when provided with an orchard full of blossom will stick to the dandelions on the ground!!!!

BTW YHPM.
 

aberreef 

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Cough.

Why do the BFA charge for top fruit pollination?

For fun?

To cover costs?

To compensate for damage to colonies from no or little flow?

Ooooops sorry the quiz starts tomorrow....

PH

It's gotta be worth a gallon or 2 of cider;)
 

oliver90owner 

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It's gotta be worth a gallon or 2 of cider

Lidls probably sell cider at about a quid a litre (OK, with no alcohol, or anything much else, to write home about:ack2:); Morrisons sell fuel at about £1.20 a litre (and rising?). I know I can use quite a lot of fuel in 10 hours driving!

Yeah, I know good cider is worth it, but at what cost? What density of colonies are needed for pollinating top fruit? I reckon you would be better going apple picking later in the year.:)

I still reckon on 2012 year. Take an empty hive this year and tell them to keep well away from it as it contains 'killer bees'. Take the cider, too!!:D

Regards, RAB
 

mbc 

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An old kiwi trick at the beginning of the kiwi fruit boom was to charge a pollination fee for a box with a dead possum in it, the orchardist would be happy as they could see flies going in and out !
 

aberreef 

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An old kiwi trick at the beginning of the kiwi fruit boom was to charge a pollination fee for a box with a dead possum in it, the orchardist would be happy as they could see flies going in and out !
:toetap05::puke::rofl:
 

Skyhook 

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I suggest reading 'Honey by the ton' by Oliver Field'- see his experiences with apple pollination.

I'm afraid I don't know of a book on 'Honey by the ounce' :rofl:

(sorry-couldn't resist it!)
 
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