Author Topic: Is there enough Natural Food  (Read 1982 times)

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Offline 40 Acre Bees

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Is there enough Natural Food
« on: January 21, 2017, 05:44:34 pm »
Realizing that last year was an exceptionally dry year and not real good for the bees, and with five hives we manged do get ourselves less than 5 lbs of honey.  We live in a rural area of Nova Scotia, with really no agriculture in the area.  There is a small green house operation about a 1/2 mile away, but other than that just a few residential houses.  When we had just two hives the honey production was actually really good, but after we lost both of them we ended up with 4 hives and no honey and then last year we captured one swarm and now had five hives and only 5 lbs of honey. So I now ask the questions - could it be possible that there is not enough natural food in our area to support 5 hives. If you zoom in on our profile page you can get an idea of the terrain.   Just wondering what others may think.  Thanks

Offline Perry

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Re: Is there enough Natural Food
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2017, 06:32:11 pm »
Hi folks.
Townson lives near you? He has not had much luck either, but he lives right on the ocean. When I was in Lunenburg I did well. It could be possible your area is tough, but I would give it another year for sure. This last year was terrible so don't base too much on it. I have always maintained that almost anywhere can support 5 hives here in NS.
"It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor."      
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Is there enough Natural Food
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2017, 11:25:41 pm »
If you zoom in on our profile page you can get an idea of the terrain.   

I see lots of trees.  What type of trees do you have around you?  Are there wildflowers? Do you have white Dutch clover that far up? You might check out the thread What Blooms Where and When under General Beekeeping.  That will give you an idea of what plants your bees can collect nectar from.  There are also websites posted that will help too.

Offline efmesch

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Re: Is there enough Natural Food
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2017, 05:20:08 am »
Why wait to see?-----ask (or do an internet search)  about what wild honey-producing flowers are suitable for your area.  Buy seeds and scatter them around where they will grow and produce honey for you.  Start with annuals that can reward you already this year and establish themselves for future crops. 

Offline 40 Acre Bees

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Re: Is there enough Natural Food
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2017, 08:02:57 am »
We actually do have a number of different species of wildflowers around.  Most of the wooded area is pine & spruce trees with a few wild apple trees in the mix.  We let the dandelions grow in our yard and leave everything as natural as can be.  As mentioned there is a small greenhouse operation less than 1/2 mile away and a fellow that has about 25 apple trees in the same area.  I plant a small section of buckwheat (40 X40) and usually attempt to grow a large bed of sunflowers (20 X 60) just up from the hives, but I have noticed that the bees are not really attracted to them only bumble bees.  I would think we have enough natural food but I just wanted to know what people think.  Thanks

Offline Mikey N.C.

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Re: Is there enough Natural Food
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2017, 10:49:13 am »
2 yrs. ago i planted mammoth russian and sonja sunflowers and like you honey bees didn't touch'em.
Was told to plant mexican orange,  did that last yr. same result.

Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Is there enough Natural Food
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2017, 11:43:09 am »
  I would think we have enough natural food but I just wanted to know what people think.  Thanks

I like efmesch's idea.  Last week I scattered seed bombs filled with aster seeds in the area around an out apiary.  At home, I have slowly been converting the yard over to natives and honey bee friendly nectar producers. 

I have discovered that honey bees are attracted to patches of nectar/pollen producers.  A single plant will not catch their attention as readily as a patch.  Not all sunflowers are created equal.  Avoid the pollenless or double petal varieties.
Full sun is also key.  I have reliable nectar producers that are in shade/part shade and the honey bees never work them.
The sources you have listed would seem to be sporadic.  A continuous nectar flow is desirable.  If there is a big enough gap in nectar flows, the bees could empty the supers and take the honey down into the brood boxes.  There could be times you need to pull the supers off and offer supplement feed.  In my area, an "old bee guy" preaches to watch your hives after the blackberries bloom as they could run short on food.  He calls it a blackberry dearth.

Offline Perry

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Re: Is there enough Natural Food
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2017, 01:12:04 pm »
good tips B12! :)
"It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor."      
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Offline efmesch

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Re: Is there enough Natural Food
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2017, 01:47:30 pm »

Offline Perry

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"It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor."      
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Offline Les

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Re: Is there enough Natural Food
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2017, 03:46:51 pm »
I am gradually turning a section of our yard into a habitat for bees, butterflies, etc.  Two perennials that I planted and all the pollinators swarm on are Anise Hyssop and Mountain Mint.  The good news is they are also very vigorous and will spread quickly.  Put in a few plants and watch them spread.

Offline Wandering Man

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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Is there enough Natural Food
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2017, 09:12:16 am »
I am gradually turning a section of our yard into a habitat for bees, butterflies, etc.  Two perennials that I planted and all the pollinators swarm on are Anise Hyssop and Mountain Mint.  The good news is they are also very vigorous and will spread quickly.  Put in a few plants and watch them spread.

I planted a couple of Slender Mountain Mint last fall.  I have Hyssop too.  Everything loves Hyssop!
No thread hijacking.  Just sharing a mutual nectar moment.  :hijack:  :bee:

Offline 40 Acre Bees

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Re: Is there enough Natural Food
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2017, 11:21:42 am »
  I would think we have enough natural food but I just wanted to know what people think.  Thanks

Last week I scattered seed bombs filled with aster seeds in the area around an out apiary.  At home, I have slowly been converting the yard over to natives and honey bee friendly nectar producers. 

I had never heard of seed bombs, do you make your own or do you buy them already pre made.  I just googled them and found it quite interesting.  If you do make you own what do you use for ingredients.  Thanks 40 Acre Bees  :yes:

Offline Mikey N.C.

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Re: Is there enough Natural Food
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2017, 07:55:52 pm »
40,
I think i watched a show were they used a small helicopter to drop seed bombs

Offline Perry

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Re: Is there enough Natural Food
« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2017, 08:19:15 pm »
40,
I think i watched a show were they used a small helicopter to drop seed bombs

Mikey, your post brought back an old memory for me. I remember in school during a field trip, seeing these rows and rows of flats of seedlings, spruce and fir and pine, maybe 6 to 8 inches tall. Every seedling was contained in a dark green plastic thingy, something that looked like those things you see on long stem roses with water in them to keep them alive. They were pointy on the bottom, with 4 slits down the length. Turns out after they logged large areas (back in British Columbia where I was born and raised), they took these things up in air planes and dropped them from the sky. The idea was these things would drive themselves into the ground and the slits would allow water in and roots out through them. This was done for many years but I believe the end result was that it had an extremely poor survival rate so the program was halted.
"It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor."      
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Offline CBT

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Re: Is there enough Natural Food
« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2017, 09:26:31 pm »
We used the Boy Scouts. Fed em lunch and a donation.