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  1. Default What do Bees like?

    These may seem like silly questions to our beekeepers since I know very little about beekeeping or bees. Have read only a little of the history of the craft.
    If you put the hives at the edge of a field full of different types of flowers would the bees tend to go more to a single type of flower or pick and chose. They are girls, window shopping wouldn't be surprising to hear. Would they spread beyond the field of easy to reach floral and go to more distant sources? I realise tracking something as small as a bee would be near impossible but..I'm sure someone had it done some where.
    I have noticed that most of the sources of honey tend to be ground flowers. The two exceptions I can think of off hand (and I'm sure there are more) are orange blossom and tulip poplar. What about apple, cherry, or other flowering trees?
    A lot of the terms I have read in your posts are unfamiliar to myself and I'm sure others. What is a super? A queen excluder? A deep? A shallow? A draw comb?
    The old style hives that looked like upside down wicker baskets
    those aren't in use in the US, probably for a hundred years or more I'm sure, but was the quality of honey better? Less per hive?

    And the question I sure you hear every time you tell someone your a beekeeper. Have you had to deal with the African 'killer' type bees yet? Are they in your area? Is the honey yield greater or less from that type of bee?
    Thanks for putting up with a lot of rambling questions,

  2. #2

    Default Re: What do Bees like?

    Ask all your questions here, the only dumb ones are the ones you don't ask.
    I will try to get them all without being to long winded.

    The bees will go to any floral source that is readily avaliable. They usually will go to one source at a time. If it is producing a strong nectar flow, hence orange blossom honey,etc. Of course they have their favorite sources but anything they can get they will take. They will fly up 3 or 5 miles from the colony to collect nectar.

    Yes the bees will collect from apples and cherries. I think the reason you don't see these types of floral honeys is because of the pollination needs of this type of farming. I don't know a whole lot about this part of the buisness but others may more know than I.
    My mentor does pollination for a blueberry farm, the blueberry farm usually has him bring 60 colonies for pollination. The more times the bees visit the blueberry blossom the bigger the berry. On the other hand in an apple orchard the more blossoms that the bees visit the mor3e apples they will get, but the apples will be smaller. Apple orchards ask for less colonies otherwise they have to go through the orchard and remove apples early in the season to get the size they want. I think it really depends on the plant and its reproductive behavior.

    Super- the box on the hive that the bees collect and store honey that the beekeeper takes.

    Queen excluder- A wire screen that has openings big enough for work bees to get through but to small for the queen. This keeps her out of your supers so you don't have brood where you want honey.

    Deep or shallow- These are the depth of the boxes (hive bodies, supers) They are all the same. Just different sizes. Usually you keep the bees in the deeps (hive bodies), this is where they rasie young. Then there are mediums and shallows for gathering honey for consumption. This makes it easier to lift. A deep full of honey can weigh about 80#

    Drawn comb- When you start keeping bees you put foundation in frames. Foundation is a sheet of beeswax with hexagons stamped into them. The bees then add wax to draw them out into full cells. Prolly not the best explanation here. I will get some pics around to help explain this.

    The upside down wicker basket is called a skep hive and as far as I know it is illegal to keep bees in skep hives in the U.S. The reasons are, you can not inspect the health of your colony. This is very important. Skep hives are also a por choice to use because you basicly have to kill the bees to get the honey out.

    African Killer honey bees. I live in Michigan and no this is not a problem for me as of yet. No one really knows if it will ever be a problem here either. It is said that they will not make it through the winters here. No one is really sure.

    Hope I got your questions answered, I am always willing to share my knowledge just ask.

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