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Considering becoming a bee keeper


i have been mulling this over for a couple years, and oddly enough the reason i started thinking about it was seeing the start up for the flow bee hive system. while i have about 1000 questions the big one is simple, should i even try.

we have 30 acres of land, split on each side of the road, the problem is we are almost surrounded by grape farms. simply put i could ask the farmer to not use pesticides but i know it will be a fools errand. i know him and he isnt going to change his ways. the area furthest from the grapes situation is fully wooded and probably going to get enough sun to keep the bees warm, especially in harsh lake erie winters. the prime area would be rather close to the grapes, and therefore a fantastic source of pesticides, herbicides and other poisons. it would be in a wooded opening around 50 yards from the grapes.

in my point of view i have to have answers to these questions before i waste time, money and a healthy colony on trying, so please, i welcome your input.


“You will miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” -Michael Jordan


I would agree with @Red_Hot_Chilipepper Give it a shot. You don’t necessarily need to start with a flow hive. You could start with a pair of traditional hives and then get a flow hive if you enjoy it. The flow hive frames are a different manner of extracting the honey. You will still need the traditional brood boxes to get your colonies established. Once they are at that point you could order the flow frames and put the flow super on top of your hives.

I am sure there are bee clubs in the Erie area. Reach out to them and ask your questions. I will say that grapes are wind pollinated so I don’t know if the bees will get on the grape flowers to the extent that the pesticides would affect them that greatly. The article I read stated that she hasn’t seen many bees on the grapes in their vineyard, but I would ask someone from a local group if they have seen any issues with bees getting into the vineyards after they have sprayed.


I think if you discussed it with your grape growing farmer you might be surprised by his/her support. Your bees would benefit his crops and your honey might have a unique flavor. My suburban neighborhood is supportive of my efforts as a new bee keeper. They willingly told be they will consider all sprays with bees in mind. :grinning:


Bees do not forage grapes which are wind pollinated so they should be fairly safe from what is applied to the vineyards. They might forage on the ripe fruit if flowers are in short supply


Unfortunately commercial grapes are self-pollinating and do not require bees, as @Dee mentioned . Also, they do not produce good nectar either. :flushed: So probably the farmer won’t care about the bees at all, and the bees won’t really care about the grape flowers.

I would just put the hive away from the vineyard to avoid contact with overspray from the pesticides, but otherwise I would give it a try. As others suggested, you could always try a year with a standard Langstroth hive - much cheaper, and you can always add a Flow super later if everything goes well.


Dang! I really missed a huge point in his post. I’m having an egg on my face moment! :hushed: