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Author Topic: new here, looking to do silvapasture, with honey, goat milk fruit and nuts.  (Read 3385 times)

Offline limbeehoneyacres

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So, i was looking  for some options for the east colorado plains area for bees/honey.  I am just afraid it might be a good bit too cold at times -32 degrees somehow this year in colorado.   

currently have 60 acres of dry lands with 3 of that 60 acres a natural spring/creekbed that gives natural hay (rare for colorado)

So my current plan is ... currently got cuttings for alot of mulberry, almond, pecan, walnut, peach, apple, pear, hazlenet, japanese weeping cherry (more for the epic eye candy), apricots, plums,  and chestnut cuttings on the way... probably like 300-400 ish cuttings. Also some blueberry plants that will be dark work horse propigation and goji berry cuttings as well.

Planning on doing some rows of trees. 

My goal is to have hives snuck in on the rows of trees with  hedges between the rows of trees. and between the rows will be raised bed row crops.  Such as pumpkin, watermellons, etc.  my plan is to do 30ft spacing between trees.

Anyone have a good tactic for placing the hives?
How do i go about finding an actual colony of bees?
How do i install a colony of bees in one of those automatic easy flow systems? (where i just come and turn for honey)
How do i keep them alive in colorado winters? (poly cover? plastic cover for heating on sunny days?
is there a way to get a specific breed ?
How expensive will this be?
do i need specific bee gear with the easy flow without murdering myself with attacks.
Is honey worth the investments?
Do i need to label  peach/cherry honey etc?
Will bees attack goats/pigs/horses/cows/dogs?
should i leave x% of honey in the winter?


Online Ben Framed

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Welcome limbeehoneyacres to Beemaster Forums!!

"So, i was looking  for some options for the east colorado plains area for bees/honey.  I am just afraid it might be a good bit too cold at times -32 degrees somehow this year in colorado.   

currently have 60 acres of dry lands with 3 of that 60 acres a natural spring/creekbed that gives natural hay (rare for colorado)

So my current plan is ... currently got cuttings for alot of mulberry, almond, pecan, walnut, peach, apple, pear, hazlenet, japanese weeping cherry (more for the epic eye candy), apricots, plums,  and chestnut cuttings on the way... probably like 300-400 ish cuttings. Also some blueberry plants that will be dark work horse propigation and goji berry cuttings as well.

Planning on doing some rows of trees. 

My goal is to have hives snuck in on the rows of trees with  hedges between the rows of trees. and between the rows will be raised bed row crops.  Such as pumpkin, watermellons, etc.  my plan is to do 30ft spacing between trees."



Though all the added plants you intend will be nice when they mature, most likely you already have nectar producing plants available?

" I am just afraid it might be a good bit too cold at times "

We have fellow members who keep bees in the extreme cold from all over the world. One is located in the Far North of Canada and post here regularly.  TheHoneyPump

"Anyone have a good tactic for placing the hives?"

Many folks in the Northern Hemisphere advise placing hives facing the South.

"How do i go about finding an actual colony of bees?"

I obtained my first colony of bees via the cutout method. A lady had a colony move beneath the siding in her home and wanted the bees removed.
You can purchase them if you do not have the knowledge or experience for such.

"How do i install a colony of bees in one of those automatic easy flow systems? (where i just come and turn for honey)"


I would not reccomend installing you bees in the easy flow systems, at least not until you have gained experience keeping bees the traditional way. (Just my opinion)

"How do i keep them alive in colorado winters? (poly cover? plastic cover for heating on sunny days?
is there a way to get a specific breed ?"


The members mentioned above have written much here at Beemaster about your questions as well as many others have as well through the years. I feel sure that some of our members will be happy to assist you as you progress along.. You might like to take advantage of our search engine which contains thousands and thousands of topics and post dating all the way back to Beemasters beginning as well as asking question as you move along in you journey as a beekeeper. We enjoy helping others.

"How expensive will this be"

That can very. I built my own hives bodies, tops, and bottoms as well as my frames. You might order a catalog or go on line to examine the things you will need including smoker, protection gear, etc. There you can price accordingly which should give you a general idea..

"do i need specific bee gear with the easy flow without murdering myself with attacks."

I an not sure I understand this question.

"Is honey worth the investments"

Many of use are hobby beekeepers and are not so much in it for the money but the simple pleasure of keeping bees.  But there are also beekeepers here who are descendants of generations of commercial beekeeping families. I have one of those folks in mind though he is modest and does not speak of it publicly except on occasion. We also have a member here from Australia Oldbeaveo along with his partner Karen who are commercial pollinating beekeepers.

"Do i need to label  peach/cherry honey etc"

Only if you are positive that those are indeed the types of honey you offer, but is sounds like you will have a fine mixed honey eventually.

"Will bees attack goats/pigs/horses/cows/dogs?"

Usually not unless you keep a variety such as the Africanized bee from South America which is making its way Northward. I do not believe they have made there way into your area.  Now if the dog or goat sticks his nose in the hive entrance, or wonders to close to the hive entrance, it will be the job of the guard bees to change its mind from being so nosey lol. Usually once is all it takes to train the dog or nosey goat. lol

"should i leave x% of honey in the winter?"

You should make sure they have x% of feed going into winter, be it honey or sucrose..  Some may debate the latter... Im not one of those, I personally see the benefits of sucrose.. This will be for you to study, learn, and decide for yourself. In fact that is not bad advice for any question you may have arise, as you make progress. Ask questions, seek answers, search and study and decide what works best for you in most things... Though we can help guide you along, experience is the very best teacher....

Again, Welcome to Beemaster!!

Phillip

Offline BeeMaster2

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Limbee,
Welcome to Beemaster.
Ben answered most of your questions so I will focus on just a few.
Don?t put bee hives close to animals in small areas that cannot run away, especially horses. Animals free to roam will learn to stay away. You may need to put a solar charged electric fence around your hives to keep bears out.
Is beekeeping profitable? If you plant all of those fruit trees and harvest the fruit it will definitely be profitable even if you don?t get a drop of honey. In your area I very much doubt that will bee a problem.
The further north you go, the shorter the honey season is but the days are longer and the bees make a lot more honey in a short time.
Start out small, two regular hives with good insulation and slowly increase your numbers as your orchards grow. Eventually you will want two hives per acre. Bees easily fly 2 to 3 miles To make honey with minimal loss due to flying time so put the bees in one location near the middle of your orchard. Pick a spot that has a good wind break from the prevailing winter winds and make sure they have a lot of sun during the day. Make sure that you can drive to the apiary location during all above freezing weather.
As far as expenses are concerned, starting out you need a good center bee suit, a hive tool, a large smoker, and two hive boxes with at least 4 supers for each hive. I recommend that you check out Mann Lake.com for most of the things you need. I recommend that if you can, make the super boxes but buy the frames and foundation. They are cheaper in bulk.
By my third year, I had 12 hives and the honey I sold paid for all of my expenses including a $1000 dollar 9/18 frame extractor. The first two years I had two hives.
There is tons and tons of inflammation here on BeeMaster for you to read and learn about beekeeping. Many people used this site as theirs mentor asking and getting their questions answered here.
See if you have a local bee club. That would greatly help also.
Jim Altmiller
« Last Edit: February 01, 2023, 08:07:47 am by BeeMaster2 »
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Offline Michael Bush

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>So, i was looking  for some options for the east colorado plains area for bees/honey.  I am just afraid it might be a good bit too cold at times -32 degrees somehow this year in colorado.   

I've had them in Laramie and in the Panhandle of Nebraska.  In 1984 we had a winter with -40 F temps everynight for a month and a half.  In Laramie we had -40 for about a week once.  it is hard on them and you will get some losses at those temperatures, but a strong colony with some insulation on the cover can survive that.  Some won't, but some will.

>So my current plan is ... currently got cuttings for alot of mulberry

I have a lot of volunteer mulberry.  I've never planted one on purpose, but I tend to leave them if they aren't in my way.

> almond

I don't know about almonds.  I have my doubts.

> pecan

There are some "Northern" pecans that might survive your temperatures. Most pecans won't.

>walnut

Walnut will do fine.

> peach

Not sure if you can find peaches for your extremes.  Maybe.

> apple, pear, hazlenet

Plenty of zone 4 and under apples etc.

> japanese weeping cherry (more for the epic eye candy)

Don'e know much about those.

> apricots, plums,  and chestnut cuttings on the way...

Those should do fine.

>probably like 300-400 ish cuttings. Also some blueberry plants that will be dark work horse propigation and goji berry cuttings as well.

In your climate I think you're better off with Aronia melanocarpa or choke berries than Goji.  I never tried blueberries so I have no comment on that.

>Planning on doing some rows of trees.

Anything that blooms is good, but Linden will probably produce the most honey in the least time.  Black locust is pretty good too.  I don't have an opinion of my own yet,, but I'm planting a bunch of Vitex.  I have them in pots right now.

>My goal is to have hives snuck in on the rows of trees with  hedges between the rows of trees. and between the rows will be raised bed row crops.  Such as pumpkin, watermellons, etc.  my plan is to do 30ft spacing between trees.

It depends on how big the trees are, but big ones, like Chestnuts and Walnuts, that's a good distance.  If you plan dwarf fruit trees, you can go closer.  I would leave space for whatever big mower you plan to use at a minimum, and that's allowing some space for maneuvering and room for the trees to get big around.

>Anyone have a good tactic for placing the hives?

https://bushfarms.com/beesfaqs.htm#locating

>How do i go about finding an actual colony of bees?

Ask around.  Search online for bee clubs.  Usually a truckload of package bees comes through Colorado in the spring but you would have to find out where they distribute them.  The local bee club should know.

>How do i install a colony of bees in one of those automatic easy flow systems? (where i just come and turn for honey)

You still have to learn to manage bees and you still have to inspect.  But it does simplify harvesting honey.  You install them the same as any other hive.
https://bushfarms.com/beespackages.htm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fk7n1LGdhIg&list=PL0cW96U9vYJlvMDRDc83hsGpp4mWucrv-&index=1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Zt3vmpGuNo&list=PL0cW96U9vYJlvMDRDc83hsGpp4mWucrv-&index=2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vI4gzmatkyE&list=PL0cW96U9vYJlvMDRDc83hsGpp4mWucrv-&index=3

>How do i keep them alive in colorado winters? (poly cover? plastic cover for heating on sunny days?

Insulation on top is definitely worth doing.  Wrapping has it's disadvantages, but is done by many.  Heating on sunny days is not always good.  It's best for the bees to remain inactive.  Although it's good for them to get a day to take a cleansing flight now and again and a warm enough day to move stores around from time to time, but all in all it's best for them to stay below freezing most of the time. 
https://bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#stopwrapping
https://bushfarms.com/beeswinter.htm

>is there a way to get a specific breed ?

Usually when you buy a package you are required to specify.  Typically your choices are Italian or Carniolan.  I'd prefer the Carniolan, but the Italian are ok.

>How expensive will this be?

Expensive.  Just your plan to get Flow Hives will be expensive.  Even regular hives are expensive, but not nearly so much.  Price your equipment and always include the shipping costs.

>do i need specific bee gear with the easy flow without murdering myself with attacks.

The Flow Hive will not preclude the need to open the hives.  Beekeeping is beekeeping.  The Flow Hive just simplifies harvest.  You still need protective gear, smoker etc.

>Is honey worth the investments?

It is certainly possible to make a profit.  It's also possible to spend a lot of money and lose money.  Moses Quinby used to say you can't make money on bees if you spend a lot of money on equipment.  So keep it simple and cheap and you may make a profit.  If you don't keep it simple and cheap, you will probably not make a profit.

>Do i need to label  peach/cherry honey etc?

Unless you have an awful lot of any given tree you won't know where the honey came from.  The bees will forage the 8,000 acres around them.  Unless you have a lot of acres of a particular tree and that's the only thing blooming, you can't know what the nectar source is.

>Will bees attack goats/pigs/horses/cows/dogs?

As Jim said, as long as the animals have room to flee it's not a problem.  If they are confined and close to the hives, then it could be a problem.

>should i leave x% of honey in the winter?

Yes.  In Colorado you will need a hive that weighs somewhere between 80 and 150 pounds going into winter depending on the race of bees and the size of the cluster.  Generally about 100 pounds.
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Online Ben Framed

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limbeehoneyacres,
Helping one another, enjoying positive interaction and making good friends makes Beemaster Forums a great place to bee 🐝.. As I said earlier, "We enjoy helping one another". I am confident the well thought out answers placed above by Beemster2, Michale Bush, and Myself will be of help to you. Those two, (plus countless others) here at Beemaster, have been of 'great help' and service to me while I have made my way on my beekeeping journey. I joined Beemaster a few years ago, not knowing very much about 'keeping' Honeybees.

As Beemaster2 stated, many see the family of Beemaster as being their mentor. I am one of those. I not only have 'a' mentor, but I have many mentors of varying degrees of beekeeping experience (form 7th generation beekeepers to experienced hobbyists). I have yet to find a need to read a book about honeybees because our members are so gracious to help answer my 'many' questions. (Even though knowledge can be found via many avenues).
Thank you again for joining, while it is my hope that you also enjoy your time spent here at Beemaster, learning about our friend, the honeybee.

Phillip

Offline The15thMember

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Welcome to Beemaster, limbeehoneyacres!  :happy:  I'm assuming you were referred here by my sister MellonFriend on The Goat Spot.  We were talking about your questions yesterday, and she gave me a heads up that you might be coming.  I'm really glad you decided to join us here!  Lots of good advice already, but I'll add my two cents on some of your questions. 

Anyone have a good tactic for placing the hives?
Hive placement isn't that hypercritical.  Just place them in a location close to or inside your orchard, somewhere that is convenient for you to work them, and with their entrances not facing any major walkways.  You can put them all together or space them far apart, there are advantages and disadvantages to both.  With your very cold winters, full sun might be advisable to help keep the hives warm in the winter.

How do i go about finding an actual colony of bees?
is there a way to get a specific breed ?

You could try to find a feral colony, or you could purchase some bees.  Feral colonies can be obtained by trying to catch swarms or by finding an established colony to remove.  Bee clubs and pest control companies can be a good place to find feral colonies that may be in need of a home.  If you'd rather purchase some bees, it's best to buy local bees if you can.  They are already adapted to your environment, so they have a higher chance of survival.  Bee clubs can also help you find local beekeepers who are selling packages or nucs; a local bee store, or, if you don't have one, a farm store, is also a great place to ask around for who has bees for sale in your area.  Anyone selling local honey at a farmers market or even at your supermarket, may also be able to help you find bees.  If you can't buy local bees, try and purchase some bees that are from a climate similar to yours.  You can get particular varieties or breeds of bees, but local mutts are my recommendation, since they are already surviving and hopefully thriving in your climate.

How do i keep them alive in colorado winters? (poly cover? plastic cover for heating on sunny days?
 
There are many different methods of overwintering bees in cold climates, but it certainly can be done.  I don't have experience with keeping bees in very cold winters personally, but many of our members do, and honey bees, as has been mentioned already, can be VERY successful in cold climates. 

How do i install a colony of bees in one of those automatic easy flow systems? (where i just come and turn for honey)
do i need specific bee gear with the easy flow without murdering myself with attacks.
Despite Flow Hive's marketing, a Flow Hive is still a hive of bees, and requires care just like any other animal.  You wouldn't expect to purchase a cow and just have it give you milk without you feeding, watering, cleaning, and otherwise caring for it, and bees are no different.  While Flow Hives have some time-saving advantages, they also have some disadvantages, and none of the Flow Hive's specialty equipment is a replacement for good management of your colony.  The colony will still need to be fed, regularly inspected, have boxes added and subtracted, potentially treated for mites, and otherwise cared for.  You will need bee gear to do all of those things, how much gear is up to you.  I would recommend at least a veil and a smoker.  We happen to have a thread about gear preferences going on right now in the General Beekeeping section of the forum, if you'd like to take a look at that. 

How expensive will this be?
Is honey worth the investments?
   
Beekeeping can be very expensive, especially up front, but there are many ways to save money.  As has been mentioned, Flow Hives are more expensive than traditional woodenware, especially if you can build it yourself.  Top bar hives are also a good DIY option.  In my opinion, honey is very much worth the investment and is usually not difficult to sell locally.  Not to mention the other products the hive offers, including beeswax, propolis, pollen, pollination, and even the bees themselves.

Do i need to label  peach/cherry honey etc?

No, mixing all your varieties of honey together is fine.  Mixed honey is often labeled "wildflower".  If you have multiple trees blooming at one time, it will be difficult to separate the varieties anyway, and keep in mind that bees will forage on any flowers that are within a 3 mile radius of the hive, so depending on your flows, the honey won't be monofloral anyway.  Bees usually put only one kind of honey in each cell of honeycomb, but they can put many different kinds of honey on a single comb. 

should i leave x% of honey in the winter?
It is recommended that you do, especially your first winter.  Some people do take all the honey and feed sugar over the winter, but bees will generally winter better on honey than sugar. 

Will bees attack goats/pigs/horses/cows/dogs?
Not for no reason (assuming the hive isn't Africanized, which shouldn't be a problem in your area of the country).  I have my hives near one of my sister's goat pastures, and while we have had the goats get the occasional sting, the bees do not care they are there.  I wouldn't place the hives inside the goat pen however, as I would be concerned about the goats rubbing up on the hives and knocking them over, which would cause the bees to be very angry.  As Phillip said, our dogs have learned not to stick their noses at the entrance, and they now give the hives a healthy berth (well except the Pomeranian, who can't seem to get stung through her thick fur :shocked: :grin:).  We also have our rabbit hutches just down the hill from the hives, and the rabbits have never been stung.  I walk through my apiary regularly and sit by the hives and watch the landing boards without any equipment on whatsoever, and I would have no qualms about doing so even with a small child.

Hopefully this information is helpful to you, and please feel free to ask any more questions you may have.  :happy:     
« Last Edit: February 01, 2023, 12:49:08 pm by The15thMember »
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