high altitude bees

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by gobug, Oct 18, 2004.

  1. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,274
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2003
    Location:
    Colorado
    I have always been interested in keeping bees, but never taken the leap. As an exterminator, I always refer bee swarms to local bee keepers to save them, and have often thought about getting ready so I could take one for myself. This past weekend I visited a group interested in sustainable agriculture in southern central colorado. I was amazed to see they had two bee hives at 9600 feet altitude. One was obviously not healthy, and I didn't know how to evaluate the other. Apparently, they lost one hive last year and replaced it. I was a little dismayed that they did not plant anything to help the bees.

    My interest, and question, after seeing this high altitude experiment, is what steps could be taken to help bees at higher altitudes. I have property at 7500 feet and would love to start beekeeping when I move there. Will planting some clover and other flowers help them stay healthy at that altitude?
     
  2. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    14,716
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Kansas
    If you can, find a high=altitude beekeeper that is willing to sell you a split. A strong hive will have at least some of the genetics that you want, since the parent stock had adapted so well.

    Many beekeepers would rather feed syrup and buy pollen for their bees when they need it, instead of planting. It is easier.
     

  3. justgojumpit

    justgojumpit Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    428
    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Location:
    North Salem, NY
    can't help you there, gobug, but this will definitely be an interesting read. i hope you can find your answer here.

    justgojumpit
     
  4. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,274
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2003
    Location:
    Colorado
    I was thinking of planting an acre or so of clover. It is mountainous but I have several flat areas that may do well with a clover crop. The deer will like it, and it will give the bees something nearby. I have seen some ground dweller bees on my property - bright yellow, fuzzy, smaller than a bumble bee with a distinct orange stripe. But not a single honey bee. I didn't think to ask where my friend at 9600 got their bees, but I'll ask. I didn't get the impression they know too much about the bees, and I only spent a minute checking them out.

    I am glad I read some of the warnings above about buying used equipment. Can I save money by constructing some parts on my own? Where can I find plans?
     
  5. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,274
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2003
    Location:
    Colorado
    Justgojumpit,

    I just read through your thread about the TBH. It seems you are disappointed with the results and would not recommend it. Is it possible that a second year would yield much better results? I am posting this here because of my prior question about plans to build my own. Does the other style hive make it easier to harvest the honey without damaging the comb, or is this still a problem unless you have the proper equipment?

    Also, as I do get calls in the spring for swarms, would it be worth capturing a Denver "split" and trying to relocate it to the mountains?
     
  6. justgojumpit

    justgojumpit Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    428
    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Location:
    North Salem, NY
    gobug, there is an arsenal of wonderful plans at www.beesource.com. The thing with the tbh is that i started three hives at the same time, and i took a split from each lang hive. one of the lang hives then proceeded to swarm later on, and the tbh swarmed as well. These two swarms were combined (one of the queens killed) and then put on top of one of the lang hives to attempt a two-queen colony, which failed. so now i have one lang hive that had been split, and then received the bees from two swarms. this hive produced the most, about 50% of the honey. the second lang was split and then lost a swarm. this hive produced about 40% of the honey. the tbh, which lost a swarm, only produced about 10% of the honey, which to me is pretty far off. This weekend i will be moving this colony into a lang hive, which involves cutting comb to fit lang frames and supporting the combs with rubber bands around the frames. the bees will build connections to the frames and then remove the rubber bands. i have some drawn out empty frames to help this colony along after the move, and i will feed them like the dickens to get them through the winter. Note: i will be sure to get every ounce of pollen possible transferred into that hive so the bees will have a quick spring buildup. also, i will be getting an extractor this year, so i'm looking forward to working with more langs. i will keep the tbh to attract swarms.

    unless you have an extractor, you will not be able to keep combs intact for reuse next year. I would have no concerns relocating bees into the mountains, just make sure they are well stocked with honey and pollen before you make the move. i am guessing that beekeeping in the mountains would be harder due to the decrease in the number of days that the bees can fly (because of rain and cold, primarily) but if i moved to the mountains, i would definitely give it a try anyway.

    i hope i've given you some useful information.

    justgojumpit
     
  7. Raymond Agliam

    Raymond Agliam New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Location:
    hawaii
    I am a beekeeper in hawaii....I sell honey as well as offering bee removal services. Yes, I've seen honey beez living up at the 10,000+ feet altitude on the slopes of Mauna Kea Mountain....this area grows almost 100 percent mamane trees....flowering early spring....I was amazed at first...couldnt believe that there were honey beez to be removed at that altitude....but...yeah there they were...working very hard.....beezzy as normal honey beez....but.....as soon as the cold winter weather rolled in along with some snow which lasted for about a couple of weeks ... the honey beez switched to hibernation mode thereby making it easy for a successful bee removal....yes .... they were all alseep......alohas