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Author Topic: Bees in the desert -- should I even try?  (Read 202 times)

Offline Desert Jack

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Bees in the desert -- should I even try?
« on: March 18, 2017, 11:32:32 AM »
Hi all.

So I've been wanting to keep bees for years and have now reached a living situation stable enough to do so. The problem with this is that this particular living situation is on a sheep and cattle station 40 minutes' drive from Coober Pedy, which you might recognise as deserving of descriptors such as 'the middle of absolutely nowhere', 'the actual desert are you crazy' and 'so hot that the heat itself makes it a tourist attraction'.

Basically, the temperature in my area ranges from average daily maxes of around 20 degrees in winter to 40 degrees in summer. This, I am aware, is not ideal bee weather. I am confident in my ability to provide the right kind of flowers and enough water (we have good bores here), but I am very concerned about the heat. I can find very little information on how honeybees deal with heat -- the internet says they stop work in the 30s and focus on cooling the hive, so are they going to be able to feed themselves? Are they going to be able to keep the brood cool enough or will it die? It looks like the only time of year they'll get to be really active is in winter, when nothing is flowering. Is this a viable climate to try keeping bees in and if so, what sorts of things should I do do help keep them cool and comfortable?

Has anyone else tried raising bees in climates like this?

Offline iddee

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Re: Bees in the desert -- should I even try?
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2017, 12:35:47 PM »
Contact Dee Lusby in Amado, Arizona, USA. You can find her all over Google. She keeps about 700 hives in the desert.
"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

*Shel Silverstein*

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Bees in the desert -- should I even try?
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2017, 03:27:17 PM »
I visited a buddy a couple of years ago who lives in N Los Vagas. He had honey bees coming to his garden in the morning and evening. They were feral African bees. I only knew that because that is the predominant bees in the area.
Their weather is like yours.
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Jim
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

Offline Desert Jack

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Re: Bees in the desert -- should I even try?
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2017, 08:44:13 PM »
Thanks guys.

Offline PhilK

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Re: Bees in the desert -- should I even try?
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2017, 02:59:34 AM »
Bees don't mind the heat, as they are good at cooling the hive. Coober Pedy has a dry heat, so with adequate water they should have no problems staying cool.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Bees in the desert -- should I even try?
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2017, 02:35:20 PM »
Dee makes quite a bit of honey.  Her and Ed used to run about 1500 hives in the Sonora desert.  She has had to scale back since Ed passed and she's not as spry as she was, but the bees were doing well.  Ed's Grandfather first moved the bees from the farms to the desert when DDT got popular for farming.
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--James "Big Boy" Medlin

 

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