Bees and greenhouse

Tom1953(5)March 27, 2005

Would I be in for more trouble if I allow bees in my greenhouse? I was thinking of putting a hive outside the GH and a tube running into the house from the hive. Would it work?

I grow tomatoes and cucumbers in th GH and was hopeing for better pollination.

Thanks a bunch


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Honeybees don't work out well in a greenhouse. They can't find their way out. When I had bees, some did make it into the greenhouse through the open roof windows or through the open door, but most of them died trying to get back out. There is only a remote chance that they could find the tube to get back in, because they have to circle and climb a bit to get their bearings.

For better polination of the tomatoes, it is only necessary to shake the vines. Do you have a variety made for g-house growing? If so, then you only need to gently shake the string that holds them up to pollinate the tom. flower.

For the cukes, my advice would be to get a small paint brush and do it by hand. There are bees that work both crops, but they are the solitary bees, like a bumblebee. These require little space, and won't beat themselves to death in a corner. The back away and land back into the vegetation after they encounter the sides. A very different critter than some high strung Italians.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 10:24PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

I was thinking the other day, for overwintering bees in the far North in a greenhouse,
so the bees could move better in hives to get to the food stores, or get out once in
a while for a short cleansing flight inside the greenhouse, but I'm not sure if it would
work.....would the bees fly into the plastic, [greenhouse cover] and kill themselves??

    Bookmark   April 3, 2005 at 7:21PM
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ccrb1(z5 IND)

this idea is similar to providing some artificial source of bottom heat to the hive over the winter.

The inside of a beehive will be so warm, in a greenhouse, that the bees will follow their instincts and fly a lot further than a cleansing flight. They'll rattle themselves silly on the glass, frustratingly try to fly by the bearings of the sun.

While not dormant or hibernating, a hive at an ambient temperature of 40 or so, or below, never has bees wandering out for a cleansing flight, as it would mean certain death. Any artificial heat source, including being placed in a building or greenhouse, would do more harm than good. The workers can hold it in, waiting for a mild enough day, in most climes.

the idea of a greenhouse would only work if you could guarantee that the temperature wouldn't exceed about 48 to 50 degrees, about the temperature many colonies make short, immediate cleansing flights.

and with this artificial heat, the food stores would be used up faster.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2005 at 8:56PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

ccrb....thank you for your thoughts.

You're right about temperature and light, just found out it had to be dark....well I could
cover the greenhouse, but just for a few hives, probably not worth the effort.
Some bee keepers have them in buildings like this one in the far North....

Here is a link that might be useful: Wintering Honeybees Indoor

    Bookmark   April 10, 2005 at 12:35AM
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Greenhouse bees.
Observation Hives would allow bees routine entry from the field and from there bees could be piped into standard hives as well. But now, what about temperature and cleansing flights?

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 12:58PM
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Hi Tom, If you can stand the thought of something other than honeybees doing your pollinating, you can buy packages of bumblebees from that are supposed to perform very well in a greenhouse.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 5:43PM
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Your best option for Honey bee pollination is to place one or two colonies at one end and have both ends open. In other words the honey bees "fly through" the greenhouse. The use of bumble bees is the better option, colonies are easy to obtain and their effectiveness is well documented to work effectively.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 8:17PM
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The use of honeybees for a GH is a very bad choice. Honeybees by nature fly a straight course from food source back to their hives so they would only be confused and die trying to get out. honey bees also make honey and store it for use later so if the supply gets too much or the bees get to many the hive will swarm and leave. The best choice for a GH is bumble bees that are breed for pollinting. They are very small and the hive is about 12' sq. that's all they need since they don't make honey. They are very gentle and will float around from bloom to bloom doing their job. You will love these bees!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 4:28AM
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Would a greenhouse which did not allow any sunlight in and only used artificial light work for using honeybees in greenhouses?

    Bookmark   January 22, 2012 at 11:10PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

I would think it's not a good idea for reason's above.

Bumbles seems the way to go, a thread below.

But...the original question from Tom is one I would try, just to see what happens,...nothing lost.
Heaving the hive outside with another exit/entrance, [pipe] into the greenhouse where some bees might to some pollination might work?
Perhaps Tom tried out this idea and can share some information on this.

Here is a link that might be useful: Greenhouse waiting on bees

    Bookmark   January 28, 2012 at 1:07PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

The artificial light in the greenhouse might be worse then natural light,... bees flying into the light fixture?

Apparently bumbles will die out in the greeenhouse with limited
food supply, ...a kind of a sad thing, only a one way street for these interesting creatures.

If it was summer, then I would have the bumbles on the outside with two exit/entrance....then they have a Joice, can flourish, last all summer/fall and some queens can overwinter.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2012 at 1:24PM
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Why do bumblebees not get confused in a greenhouse like honeybees? I was thinking of using bumblebees or honeybees to pollinate greenhouse plants. I was thinking of having an adjoining room attached to the greenhouse with a large entrance for bees to fly from inside the greenhouse, through the large entrance, and then into their hive which is in the adjoining room. If using artificial lights, correct spectrum leds would be used. Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 11:12PM
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Also, another idea was putting the beehive inside the greenhouse with a partition which can seal off the beehive area when the beehive is being worked.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 11:23PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Honeybees don't like the subtle light in greenhouse and would fly towards bright light ignoring the flowers on plants.
The docile gentle bumble is a complete different species and can work in these darker, warmer/cooler conditions when all honeybees would stay home.

A honeybee hive would also die out when placed inside the greenhouse.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 10:46PM
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