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Host beehives on your land?

  • 14-04-2021 11:10am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 556 ✭✭✭ Mad Benny


    Would you consider allowing a few hives on your land for a temporary period ?

    Having a secondary location is invaluable to a beekeeper particularly when splitting colonies and during flowering seasons.

    I'm a beekeeper living in Dublin. I'm sure other boards beekeepers would be interested in other parts of the country.


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,459 ✭✭✭ SouthWesterly


    I've done similar this year in kerry. I've a keeper putting some hives on my land.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,037 ✭✭✭✭ Danzy


    I know a lad in cork who has a few hives. If anyone is interested.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,289 ✭✭✭ epfff


    I allow a keeper to have some hives in a corner of field on an out farm.

    I didn't know the guy before I made contact with him here and he is a total gentleman. He puth a strand of electric fence around his hives {about the size of my kitchen table)

    I feel I'm doing something for environment and from talking to him he gets massive enjoyment out of it. I'm more than happy to facilitate him with his hobby and as a bonus he gives me jars of honey occasionally.

    I'd be happy to allow another keeper have hives on another out farm.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,726 ✭✭✭ kk.man


    Mad Benny wrote: »
    Would you consider allowing a few hives on your land for a temporary period ?

    Having a secondary location is invaluable to a beekeeper particularly when splitting colonies and during flowering seasons.

    I'm a beekeeper living in Dublin. I'm sure other boards beekeepers would be interested in other parts of the country.

    I would consider it


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,238 ✭✭✭ 80sDiesel


    Introduced honey bees will compete against native bees and other pollinators. More harm than good can be done by introducing a hive.

    I am restoring some meadows back to species rich wildflower meadows and the last thing I would do is add a hive to complete against the local pollinators.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 696 ✭✭✭ minerleague


    80sDiesel wrote: »
    Introduced honey bees will compete against native bees and other pollinators. More harm than good can be done by introducing a hive.

    I am restoring some meadows back to species rich wildflower meadows and the last thing I would do is add a hive to complete against the local pollinators.

    Interesting viewpoint, for someone interested in beekeeping ( sister here ) what would you recommend ( more plants and flowers for bees already there ? )


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,238 ✭✭✭ 80sDiesel


    Interesting viewpoint, for someone interested in beekeeping ( sister here ) what would you recommend ( more plants and flowers for bees already there ? )

    It’s kinda like asking how many foxes should I get if I introduce some rabbits. The answer is , don’t introduce the rabbits in the first place.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,238 ✭✭✭ 80sDiesel


    Interesting viewpoint, for someone interested in beekeeping ( sister here ) what would you recommend ( more plants and flowers for bees already there ? )

    It’s kinda like asking how many foxes should I get if I introduce some rabbits. The answer is , don’t introduce the rabbits in the first place.


  • Registered Users Posts: 854 ✭✭✭ beveragelady


    80sDiesel wrote: »
    Introduced honey bees will compete against native bees and other pollinators. More harm than good can be done by introducing a hive.

    I am restoring some meadows back to species rich wildflower meadows and the last thing I would do is add a hive to complete against the local pollinators.

    A lot of beekeepers are keeping native Irish black bees so this isn't necessarily a valid objection. Surely it would be easy enough to get a commitment that non-native bees won't be accommodated on your land?

    This is how I got my own hives. A local chap, an amateur beekeeper, wanted somewhere to keep a hive so I let him use a patch of land at my house. He would show me what he was doing when he would call over to maintain them and I found it fascinating. Now I have more hives than he does, and a very happy population of native bees to provide my honey.

    Edit to add: If you're not going to be actually fiddling about with the hives the risk of getting stung is minimal. My morning walk takes me within three feet of two very busy hives and I often stand and watch them for a few minutes without ever getting stung.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,238 ✭✭✭ 80sDiesel


    But you may have plenty of the one native Irish honey bee but you may also have decimated the local non honey bee population.

    It’s more valid to say that you have hives on your land and that you are unaware of what effect that is having on the local pollinator population.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 466 ✭✭ imfml


    There is no evidence that hosting a beehive will impact negatively on other pollinators in the area. Pollinators are in decline and more pollinators in an area means more foraging will be available to support all. I have a couple of hives in a small holding in Dublin and the farmer is delighted to have it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 854 ✭✭✭ beveragelady


    80sDiesel wrote: »
    But you may have plenty of the one native Irish honey bee but you may also have decimated the local non honey bee population.

    That doesn't make any sense at all. The country is not over-populated with bees, far from it. Anything that is done to support pollinators can only be a good thing.

    Bees travel between one and five miles from the hive when they're foraging. The notion that a hive will wipe out other bee populations in an area is false. If you look at a serious beekeeper's setup you'll be amazed at how many hives are lined up in rows in a small area and somehow they all thrive.

    If people want to support other species of native bee they can do so by having wild corners in their garden and leaving undergrowth undisturbed, as well as encouraging the right plants. There's no need at all to try to limit the number of honey bees.

    It's worth remembering that beekeepers are always working to encourage bee-supporting flora, which sustains not only their own bees but local wild populations.

    I get that you don't want hives on your land, but your argument against them shows a lack of understanding.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,238 ✭✭✭ 80sDiesel


    But you don’t support pollinators. You introduce hives to complete against them.

    But I have said my peace. It’s like trying to tell the man to stop feeding bread to ducks. I can only give him the facts and hope he does his own research.


  • Registered Users Posts: 854 ✭✭✭ beveragelady


    80sDiesel wrote: »
    But you don’t support pollinators. You introduce hives to complete against them.

    But I have said my peace. It’s like trying to tell the man to stop feeding bread to ducks. I can only give him the facts and hope he does his own research.

    You're misinformed and you're spreading misinformation.

    Still, we can certainly hope that prospective beekeepers and prospective hive hosts will, as you suggest, do their own research.


  • Registered Users Posts: 14 ✭✭✭ Matteyd


    I'd have the same hesitancy as 80sDiesel.

    There's two sides to it, the pollination carried out by the bees and the bee population itself. Yeah the increased pollination in the region is good for crops / biodiversity no doubt, but to suddenly lump in a whole hive of bees into an ecosystem will definitely do damage to the "wild" population. Bees and other pollinators are dying out anyway due to pesticides etc and a lack of biodiversity, so to bring in a new crowd that will compete against the locals will do them harm.

    Id be more happy with creating a suitable environment and letting them come themselves. Have some lovely red currants in full bloom and there's great bumblebee activity around them these last few days, everywhere else in the garden is pure silent.


  • Registered Users Posts: 556 ✭✭✭ Mad Benny


    80sDiesel wrote: »
    Introduced honey bees will compete against native bees and other pollinators. More harm than good can be done by introducing a hive.

    I am restoring some meadows back to species rich wildflower meadows and the last thing I would do is add a hive to complete against the local pollinators.

    It's fantastic to read that you're restoring meadows with wildflower. You're doing your part. :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 854 ✭✭✭ beveragelady


    Matteyd wrote: »
    I'd have the same hesitancy as 80sDiesel.

    There's two sides to it, the pollination carried out by the bees and the bee population itself. Yeah the increased pollination in the region is good for crops / biodiversity no doubt, but to suddenly lump in a whole hive of bees into an ecosystem will definitely do damage to the "wild" population. Bees and other pollinators are dying out anyway due to pesticides etc and a lack of biodiversity, so to bring in a new crowd that will compete against the locals will do them harm.

    Id be more happy with creating a suitable environment and letting them come themselves. Have some lovely red currants in full bloom and there's great bumblebee activity around them these last few days, everywhere else in the garden is pure silent.


    A number of things completely undermine this argument:

    The range the bees travel to forage. They don't strip an area, a vast number of colonies can exist in the same area.

    Bees encourage wild flora by pollinating. Wild flora in turn supports bee population. That's how an ecosystem works. The more bees, the more flowering plants, the more forage for pollinators.

    Beekeepers often keep native bees. Over half my hives are wild swarms that found themselves some luxurious accommodation. The rest are also native Irish black bees, raised from nucs. They're not displacing any native species, they are a native species.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,570 ✭✭✭ yosemitesam1


    A number of things completely undermine this argument:

    The range the bees travel to forage. They don't strip an area, a vast number of colonies can exist in the same area.

    Bees encourage wild flora by pollinating. Wild flora in turn supports bee population. That's how an ecosystem works. The more bees, the more flowering plants, the more forage for pollinators.

    Beekeepers often keep native bees. Over half my hives are wild swarms that found themselves some luxurious accommodation. The rest are also native Irish black bees, raised from nucs. They're not displacing any native species, they are a native species.

    The problem is that academics have no appreciation for how the country used to be absolutely rotten with honeybees pre varroa and that modern honeybee densities are nowhere near where they were historically, when coincidentally wild pollinators were also present at higher populations than today.
    American holding yards of 500-1000+ hives in an area would have a negative impact but nothing of that sort is seen over here


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,155 ✭✭✭ Castlekeeper


    That doesn't make any sense at all. The country is not over-populated with bees, far from it. Anything that is done to support pollinators can only be a good thing.

    Bees travel between one and five miles from the hive when they're foraging. The notion that a hive will wipe out other bee populations in an area is false. If you look at a serious beekeeper's setup you'll be amazed at how many hives are lined up in rows in a small area and somehow they all thrive.

    If people want to support other species of native bee they can do so by having wild corners in their garden and leaving undergrowth undisturbed, as well as encouraging the right plants. There's no need at all to try to limit the number of honey bees.

    It's worth remembering that beekeepers are always working to encourage bee-supporting flora, which sustains not only their own bees but local wild populations.

    I get that you don't want hives on your land, but your argument against them shows a lack of understanding.

    My understanding and experience is that the country is seriously short of good biodiverse habitat though, it's not because of lack of pollinators that the country isn't full of wildflower meadows, more the other way around.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,155 ✭✭✭ Castlekeeper


    The problem is that academics have no appreciation for how the country used to be absolutely rotten with honeybees pre varroa and that modern honeybee densities are nowhere near where they were historically, when coincidentally wild pollinators were also present at higher populations than today.
    American holding yards of 500-1000+ hives in an area would have a negative impact but nothing of that sort is seen over here

    Modern biodiversity is nowhere near the way it was historically either. I'm not sure of the bee carrying capacity of a lot of land.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 14 ✭✭✭ Matteyd


    A number of things completely undermine this argument:

    The range the bees travel to forage. They don't strip an area, a vast number of colonies can exist in the same area.

    Bees encourage wild flora by pollinating. Wild flora in turn supports bee population. That's how an ecosystem works. The more bees, the more flowering plants, the more forage for pollinators.

    Beekeepers often keep native bees. Over half my hives are wild swarms that found themselves some luxurious accommodation. The rest are also native Irish black bees, raised from nucs. They're not displacing any native species, they are a native species.

    Well now you mention it, the bees are good for their own biodiversity. Just because honeybees can pollinate a flower doesn't mean the other native pollinators can, so it's only good for themselves. This is what's happening in the USA where the European HoneyBee is causing wreck, it can pollinate ornamental, garden and introduced "wild" flowers that the native bees cant, so they have this great resource for out competing locals. They also compete by just physically occupying the flower, getting there before other species and reducing their success rates. The fact that they travel a few miles to forage doesn't make much of a difference because thats what they're all at, gold habitats are scarce, and there will still be overlaps.

    Ecosystems work based on finite resources and competition. Whoever gets the most food/water/space wins. Every addition to an ecosystem will have implications for its wider functioning.

    It's good that some of your bees are rehomed wild species, but still, if they are moved into new regions they will without doubt be competing against the locals. Its just something to be mindful of is all. We should all be planting as much as possible and allowing what's there to flower so there is enough flowers for as many pollinators as possible of all types.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,037 ✭✭✭✭ Danzy


    80sDiesel wrote: »
    Introduced honey bees will compete against native bees and other pollinators. More harm than good can be done by introducing a hive.

    I am restoring some meadows back to species rich wildflower meadows and the last thing I would do is add a hive to complete against the local pollinators.

    I've 5 acres planted and managed purely for flowers for pollinators, spread out through the year in flowering.

    Some of the plants are borage and phacelia, plants that honey bees absolutely love and will work hard to get to.

    I've often seen many sunny days when no honey bee would be working them and conditions would be Ideal for nectar.

    What's a few acres like that of 2 plants they especially love out of 8000 acres that they forage.

    Then again I knew that when I planted it and did it for other insects.

    1 good tree will draw hives over the best acres of flowers.


    After varroa came in the 90s. There will only ever be a fraction of the honey bee population, regardless of forage.

    Mild winters are a bigger threat to pollinators than habitat loss at this stage.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,050 ✭✭✭ Dinzee Conlee


    Are ye saying there is such an abundance of wild native bees, combined with a lower level of food available to them - that introducing a hive or 2 into a corner of a field is going to knock the whole environment sideways and the wild native bees will go hungry or die?

    Thats the impression I'm getting on this thread, which seems a bit mad...

    Now, I wouldnt know much about bees, but this is totally at odds with a lot of what I've heard, where bee numbers are in decline all over... :confused:


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,037 ✭✭✭✭ Danzy


    European honey bees are not native to America, by definition they are invasive.

    Same as blackberry bushes, lesser celandines, Dandelions and White clover.

    Here, they are corner stone plants for pollinators.

    Honey bees are an integral part of our native ecosystem and all the hives now in Ireland wouldn't be a bit part of what was wild in a part of Cork twenty five years ago.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,570 ✭✭✭ yosemitesam1


    Are ye saying there is such an abundance of wild native bees, combined with a lower level of food available to them - that introducing a hive or 2 into a corner of a field is going to knock the whole environment sideways and the wild native bees will go hungry or die?

    Thats the impression I'm getting on this thread, which seems a bit mad...

    Now, I wouldnt know much about bees, but this is totally at odds with a lot of what I've heard, where bee numbers are in decline all over... :confused:
    There's no such issue


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,037 ✭✭✭✭ Danzy


    If you are planting for pollinators, go for shoulder season items. Ones that flower just before the black thorn in Spring or in Sept and October

    The rest of the year will have as much as the weather allows them to forage.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,816 ✭✭✭ Bullocks


    Danzy wrote: »
    1 good tree will draw hives over the best acres

    Mild winters are a bigger threat to pollinators than habitat loss at this stage.

    What trees are best for bees?
    How does the mild winters affect the bees?
    Would the bee society have insurance to cover someone if I were to let them keep a few hives on the farm or is it something I'd need to be sure of on my own end of things


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,570 ✭✭✭ yosemitesam1


    Bullocks wrote: »
    What trees are best for bees?
    How does the mild winters affect the bees?
    Would the bee society have insurance to cover someone if I were to let them keep a few hives on the farm or is it something I'd need to be sure of on my own end of things

    Furze, blackthorn, horse chestnut, sycamore, crab apple, holly, whitethorn, lime, spanish chestnut are the most useful trees/bushes.
    Beekeeping membership gives third party insurance


  • Registered Users Posts: 303 ✭✭ .42.


    Will English lavender attract bees?
    I planted over 100 plants at the end of last year and hoping for a garden full of bees this year.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 14 ✭✭✭ Matteyd


    Do managed bees have negative effects on wild bees?: A systematic review of the literature
    Rachel E Mallinger, Hannah R Gaines-Day, Claudio Gratton
    PloS one 12 (12), e0189268, 2017
    " Managed bees are critical for crop pollination worldwide. As the demand for pollinator-dependent crops increases, so does the use of managed bees. Concern has arisen that managed bees may have unintended negative impacts on native wild bees, which are important pollinators in both agricultural and natural ecosystems. The goal of this study was to synthesize the literature documenting the effects of managed honey bees and bumble bees on wild bees in three areas: (1) competition for floral and nesting resources, (2) indirect effects via changes in plant communities, including the spread of exotic plants and decline of native plants, and (3) transmission of pathogens. The majority of reviewed studies reported negative effects of managed bees, but trends differed across topical areas. Of studies examining competition, results were highly variable with 53% reporting negative effects on wild bees, while 28% reported no effects and 19% reported mixed effects (varying with the bee species or variables examined). Equal numbers of studies examining plant communities reported positive (36%) and negative (36%) effects, with the remainder reporting no or mixed effects. Finally, the majority of studies on pathogen transmission (70%) reported potential negative effects of managed bees on wild bees. However, most studies across all topical areas documented the potential for impact (e.g. reporting the occurrence of competition or pathogens), but did not measure direct effects on wild bee fitness, abundance, or diversity. Furthermore, we found that results varied depending on whether managed bees were in their native or non-native range; managed bees within their native range had lesser competitive effects, but potentially greater effects on wild bees via pathogen transmission. We conclude that while this field has expanded considerably in recent decades, additional research measuring direct, long-term, and population-level effects of managed bees is needed to understand their potential impact on wild bees."

    I cant post links, but there's the summary of a study (named at the top) on the effects of managed bees on the wild population, saying it generally has a nil to negative effect on wild populations. There are only so much resources, plants only produce so much nectar at a time, it makes sense. I don't get why people are so reluctant to acknowledge that. This also shows that there is pathogen movement from manged to wild, the same thing that happens in fishfarms. Introducing bees into the corner of a field won't turn the ecosystem into a barren wasteland but it likely will have a negative effect on the wild population.


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