Just learning so be gentle please. Flow hive coming in February. We want to be prepared. I saw the list of things I need to purchase. I am curious about the environment around the hive. How to avoid predators such as Fox, Raccoons, etc? I saw that we need to build something off the ground to set it on as well. Do we also need to plant wildflowers around the hive or let nature take over?
Welcome to the mad world of beekeeping.
Bees tend to not forage in the immediate vicinity of the hive so keeping the grass trimmed short around the boxes is the best thing to do.
They will forage fairly near in early Spring if the weather is cold. I don’t know where you are but here in the UK nearby Spring forage is invaluable so I have thousands of crocus planted where the hives are and there is willow by the ponds.
When planting for bees you need large swathes of flowers rather than small individual plantings. Good luck
We are all as gentle as Italian or Carniolan bees here!!!
From your profile, I can’t see what part of the world you are in, and this is a worldwide forum, so it would help to know that. If you have raccoons, I guess you are in the US. In that case, you may have skunks too, and they love live bees. So to start the ball rolling:
- Raccoons usually try to lift the roof off the hive, so you either need to weigh it down with a heavy rock or a cinder (breeze) block, or strap the hive.
- For skunks, if you raise the hive up on a nice hive stand, or even a stack of cinder blocks, the hive will thank you. Or you could use Michael Bush’s upper hive entrance strategy, but that doesn’t fit without modifications to the stock Flow hives.
- Plantings - bees will go where nectar flow is best. If you plant for them, great, they may graze there. But if there is more nectar elsewhere, they will abandon your flowers and go with the flow…
Thank you all we live in Mid Missouri USA
Hi Shanna ,
This is the Captain from Beautiful Gippsland in south east Australia . Your intuition to plant bee friendly plants is well founded and you should study what bees like in your area ,when they flower and how many there are before you get serious about any significant plantings . I would encourage you to join your local bee club and find out who has similar thoughts . Like any new passion (bee keeping should involve passion ) you can honeymoon on whims and fancies that may prove to be misplaced when you look back on your endeavours in a few years .
Plant roses , lavender , sage ,rosemary , for starters , they have other nutrition and cooking values while making for great honey and bee health at the same time . So start small , use cuttings and local proven stocks of bee friendly plants . Check reference books specifically dedicated to recommended bee friendly plants and fauna . We have such reference books in Australia so rather than reinvent the wheel , study up and adapt to your specific micro-climate / region .
I am conducting experiments on static gardens (stationery beekeeping ) which involves keeping your hive in the one location season in and out .This involves trying to ensure year long sequential flowerings of multiple flower sources to enable bees to feed almost year round . Winter forage for bees is generally the hardest with fewest plants flowering , Spring to early summer the best season for hive expansion and (honey flows to occur ) there are always exceptions to every rule or guideline , so that is another reason to tap the local knowledge of beekeepers in your area with some club members being too helpful ! by that I mean different bee keepers have somewhat different ideas and all of them produce honey !!! So information overload / conflicting ideas / where too . ??? You will quickly uptake many ideas and find some work for you and others don’t so well . Than is the normal learning curve however before you get confused , I would recommend studying a beginners book and following it to the letter . you will eventually challenge and modify your knowledge but a good basic starter will give you guidance , direction , 24hr access and a good mentor that is local will fill in all the gaps .
Personally I plant to extend and fill in the gaps in flowering by season and month . I aim to have 4-5 regular flowering plants every month and my difficulty here is in late summer and autumn/winter . Generally Spring looks after itself with huge floral diversity and abundance . Your planting guide will give a flowering timetable and honey /pollen yields per acre - or should anyway .
I f you do not have acreage to plant do not dismay , every plant you create increases pollen and nectar availability . Planting generates cumulative effects both in plant size and seed bank/cutting availability and a bee friendly plant given to your neibor for xmas or birthdays ,keeps giving if you know what I mean .
Must toodle but check out Micheal Bush Bees , he has an inspiring website , author , lecturer and general GURU on all things bees .
cheers from the Captain down under ,
See you in the buzz of the bee world !
Being in Missouri you have a really nice source for red cedar beehives near Branson if you were ever in a pinch and needed boxes. http://www.ozarkcedarhives.com/
Yes that is what I’m doing, managing to fill a few seasonal gaps.
Our Local Bee club newsletter has an article this year and suggesting flowers fro each month written by Celia Davis.
I’m doing a bee keeping course with her staring next Friday week for several weeks and 2 apiary meets to consolidate.
Hi Valli ,
Its The Captain here,
How did the course go with Celia , ? I am having mixed success with my spring /summer plantings and have lost 2500 Manuka to the hottt spell . Wiser heads suggested an autumn planting but of course I had already planted the seed in autumn the previous year and there was slow progress in the nursery as a cold winter combined with limited extra heating meant a late planting pre summer . Not so bad in suburbia where you can coddle them ! But the bush and farm life can be harsh as I have found out . Just the sand hill I guess . The important lessons are won by practice , luck and knowing the difference I suppose . I still have a substantial net multi-floral gain one year to the next and I ready myself for some late summer splits to nukes to carry over till spring .
PS there are some great bee lift trolleys that enable the handeling of 4 x super hives to be easily lifted and moved . They can lift 10 /11 frame full boxes to be moved and inspected with ease . I am thinking of getting involved with one such innovative chap and see what happens !
Chow David Smith ( the Captain )
Definitely needed if you keep Warre hives
2 weeks into course - it is very basic - a little disappointed - the course is 8 weeks or so.
I think I learned more by myself already - I read avidly and watch DVD’s and chat to people - this is very much a "This is a bee hive " type of class. I’m several levels above that.
Bring on the spring - I’m already planning splits, swarms and Queen rearing
Hang on in there it will get more interesting particularly when you are at the apiary. Remember lots of people are starting from scratch. You have bees already
Ps I edited this post because in retrospect I thought it was a little mean. If you have the original in your mailbox then I apologise
@Dee I have time on my hands when not working - I just finished nearly a month stint of live in - It gave me the idea to see if there is a commercial outfit I could go work with - I know one commercial guy but he is not the most “straight” person I know and have had a run in with him over something else in the past. also he is too far from me.
The Warm Hive Day is on at Stoneleigh tomorrow so may put some feelers out