Is 7 acres enough for beekeeping?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by NikiandAlex, Feb 28, 2005.

  1. NikiandAlex

    NikiandAlex Member

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    Hi, my fiancee and I just bought 7 acres (mostly open) and were wondering what is the maximum distance if we kept bees for them not to bother you. He thinks he's allergic (hypocondriac in my opinion considering he was stung a couple of years ago and nothing happened...he says it only bit him), so I wanted to know if it would be safe in that space. Thanks!
     
  2. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    The cool thing about bees is that they don't need acreage. The only space they need is that occupied by their hive. The truth is, they are so occupied with their own doings, that they don't much care for what you are doing. I've had colonies within feet of our main doorway and regularly weedwacked or mowed around the others. You can stand in front of most hives and not be troubled a lick, unless an occasional bee just bumbles into in their haste to get where they are going.

    Bees range for miles in any direction. I used to keep colonies of bees right in the nearby town in folks gardens and backyards because of the abundance of nectar. Once they got used to them, they all loved them and didn't want me to move them elsewhere.

    If you are really concerned about being stung, you should get your doctor to prescibe a bee sting kit and keep it in your refrigerator. Chances are, you'll more likely need to use it because of getting stung by a yellow jacket or bald-faced hornet, rather than a honeybee.
     

  3. Pat

    Pat Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Bare. They don't need acerage., but I've been told they forage up to 3 miles around the hive (I have no idea how far our bees forage, nor when I see a bee working if it's one of ours or one of one of my neighbors). They do have "bee ways" paths that they normally take to and from the hive. If you stand in that bee way, you will notice them flying by.

    I know I have to be "careful" weed wacking or mowing around our bees, but only if the weather is threatening rain or we have a high humidity day. All I do then is just keep a eye on the hives, and they will show you when they've had enough noise (or the fumes from the mower or weed wacker). You really have to work at getting stung normally also. (pinch one behind your knee while squatting or in the fold of your arm while bending it) Other than that it's while they are defending the hive (and then mostly when you are robbing it ((notice the verb "robbing" says a lot what you are doing to them doesn't it?))).

    I would suggest joining a local bee club also. They not only offer guidance, but many also offer a extractor and capping knife for you to use. Also, they can negotiate a lower price for the bees (buying in quanity) and the wooden ware.

    Pat
     
  4. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I have 2 hives on an acre of land, and my kids are comfortable getting up to 20 feet. Any farther away than that, and there simply are not enough bees to worry about. A bee forages in a 3 mile radius, so any hive you have will have its members scattered very thinly over a pretty wide area.

    There IS some confusion about bee allergies. For example, I grew up being told that I was allergic to honey bees but I am not. It is yellow jackets that I am allergic to. The venom of the honey bee and the yellow jacket are entirely different; I am fine with honey bees.

    What happened was, when I was a toddler I stepped on a yellow jacket and had a very bad reaction. Everyone was QUITE busy trying to get me medically stable, so nobody looked to see if there was a stinger or not (honey bees leave a stinger, yellow jackets do not).

    At any rate, when I was an adult I had allergy testing done, and it came back that I was ONLY allergic to the yellow jacket. What is even better is, since I was stung by a yellow jacket as an adult and only had a local reaction, I will react only locally from now on. Children are more vulnerable, but I am now a much larger adult and I am safer than I was.

    Honey bees, by the way, do not bite. Yellow jackets can, and sometimes will, but honey bees simply CAN'T!

    Also, honey bees ingore humans if they can. They would really rather not be bothered by something that is not pollen, necter, or water. A honey bee will SOMETIMES defend itself if it is attacked, but really would rather not even do that. A honey bee has a job to do, and really prefers to ignore us so that it can do it's work.

    A NORMAL reaction to a bee sting, by the way, is pain, redness, and itching for 2-3 days. A true allergic reaction has to do with hives, asthma, and such. Bee sting kits ARE available, I carried one for a while.
     
  5. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Oh, yes. Some people put us a 4' or 5' solid fence around the hives. That means that the bees must fly up above peoples heads when they leave the hive. Your fella would not really see them, that way.
     
  6. justgojumpit

    justgojumpit Well-Known Member

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    I've heard of people keeping bees in big cities, on balconies and such. The thing is, bees thin out pretty quickly once they leave the hive. They will not be scattered over a radius of three miles, but will usually work one nectar or pollen source at a time. The bees usually have trees or buildings to clear on their way to that source, so they fly high and out of sight, until dropping down to the hive entrance. Any barrier around the hives will make them fly high faster, and make the low flight zone smaller and smaller. The only time you will really encounter the bees away from the hive is at a pollen or nectar source, or at a water source. If you are worried about the bees taking water from undesired places, you can fill a tank and attach it to a short piece of soaker hose. The tank will get filled by rain, except in dry climates, so you won't have to fill it all that often. Otherwise, the only time they become a nuisance is when they swarm, and good beekeeping can minimize that. I would say go for it, and keep the bees maybe fifty feet from the house and walkways. That way uninformed people won't be as easily scared by your hives. Happy beekeeping!

    justgojumpit
     
  7. twind59

    twind59 Well-Known Member

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    Indiana
    Hi. I keep my bee's in the city in the backyard. Unless I walk to the hives I don't encounter bee's and my neighbors never see them. If I am 15 feet from the hives, the bees are usually flying up above my head by that time. 7 acres would be hawg-heaven for me!
    Barry
    Indianapolis

     
  8. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    When I had 2 bee hives, they were put at the edge of a slightly wooded area that was open to the south one acre of garden area. The bees produced plenty of honey and never were a bother while gardening. There was hay fields within about 100yds. that they utilized plus the 2 large gardens side by side.
    My dad lived in town and kept several hives on the go. The source of nectar for the bees must have been varied from whatever neighborhood plants were growing. It amazed me the amount of honey he got out of them.