I have a question that falls under ethics.
I just got off the phone with a guy who owns a lavender farm and I asked him if he would mind if I put some hives in his lavender farm to help him pollinate and to get a crop of lavender honey. He asked me how much honey he would get. I couldnt ask answer the question but reassured him that he would get some honey.
So my question is... would it be ethical to ask someone who might be grateful to recieve some honey who lives next door to the farm if I could house some bees there since I know that bees will fly and find the lavender.
I would offer him 5 lbs of honey for the 'rent'. I see no problem with going to the guy next door. Personally the farms that I use to keep bees before I scaled back they did not expect honey or payment. They figured that I had my bees there to pollinate the alfalfa, buck wheat, apples, etc and I did not charge them. They were more than happy for me to keep my bees there.
You're not stealing anything. He gets free pollenation either way. If he was smart he'd pay you to put them there.
This may be a silly question, but does he necessarily want/need the plants pollinated? Aren't they selling the blossoms and plant bits? In which case the pollination is irrelevant. Or is this guy making lavender seed? If the guy is not interested in pollinating the flowers, he will certainly not pay.
And if he is unlikely to pay for a service he doesn't need, there is no harm in offerieng him some yard rent. Why go next door unless the origional farmer is tough to deal with?
I would A) tell the origional guy he will get 5 lbs, or whatever passes for yard rent in those parts, and if he says no, take it up with the other guy.
I am looking for an outyard or two for next year and am likely to offer a dozen nice one pound bottles as yard rent. The people can eat what they want and give the rest away to friends. I find most folks think that a 5 lb bottle of honey is just too much for them - but that is just the folks I have asked.
For whatever it's worth, I've read that lavender has a higher essential oil content after it's been visited by bees. It's not generally propagated by seed, as I recall. But a stronger lavender aroma and flavor will result from having the bees around.
I bought some lavender seed this year, never came up, but it is out there.
It sounds like you have a unique opportuntiy to make some specialty honey and I hope this works out for you.
As beekeepers we are a bit like salesman when it comes to finding a new yard. Most farmers would reap some secondary gain but not all of them think like that. So we have to knock on a lot of doors. Next time you visit with this farmer take your wife and well behaved children with you. It is tougher to say "no" to someone supporting a family.
I would take this farmer a jar of honey and tell him you will try to keep him supplied with as much as he needs (not many people make me go broke doing this). But also explain that if the bees do not make honey that you can't give him any.
In general, I give at least a pint per harvest(2 per year) to each of my yard owners and/or tenants. I try to keep small containers of honey in my truck to give away as I approach someone valuable. I wish that I had some today...
That is a geat idea. I am going to visit him this weekend. However, I do not have any honey because I just started beekeeping so I plan to go over to my mentors house and he will give me some honey to give away. That will be nice!
I hope people are nicer when it comes to letting the bes stay on their land. I guess we will see.
In France where i am from, lavender growers pay to get hives in for pollination even if they do not produce seeds. It effectively enhance the quality or quantity (or both) of the essential oil used in the perfume industry. Your neighbor should know that if he is a good grower. It sure is nice to maintain good neighborly relationships !!!
Out in the western US, farmers will pay up to $50.00 per hive for pollination services for various crops. Keep this in mind.
How do you find people who are interested in pollination?
So far finding people that want pollenation has not been a problem. It is finding someone willing to pay for pollenation. I have a nursery contact that at his home he has started a orchard. He planted the first 5 acres in apples 4 years ago. This was his first year he got any apples. Last fall he planted another 10 acres. He has asked if I will get big enough to pollenate his feilds but as of now he is not ready to pay. The other contacts for pollenating I have had have been anywhere from giving me a place to keep my bees for free to one that asked me how much I would give him to place bees on his farm as he wants them there for the garden type produce he grows. He thought produce would give me enough honey to pay him. All you have to do is let more people know you keep bees the places will come if you need a place to put them. Getting paid for pollenation you will have to find an orchard or other crop that needs to be pollenated by an insect who does not have a contract with someone else.