I spent a good hour searching for posts on advice on selecting good beeyard sites. Other than a few miscellaneous posts it didn't reveal a lot.
While, 'Planting for Bees' (perhaps Bee Forums longest running dialog without it's own forum) talks about some of the desirables traits I thought I would see what the groups thoughts are on what makes a good site for a beeyard.
I'll start with the obvious:
Good access in and out but not so good or visible to attract thieves
High ground to be above where the cold and fog settle in winter
A good mix of forage
But also some of my questions:
Is it good to be near a river, or in the flood plains above a lake?
Is is better to be on the top of a high hill, about middeway down, or at the bottom?
Is it better to be on the east, south, west or top of a hill?
>But also some of my questions:
>Is it good to be near a river, or in the flood plains above a lake?
A consistent water supply is good. Doesn't have to be anything more than a creek or a pond.
>Is is better to be on the top of a high hill, about middeway down, or at the bottom?
Some of this porobably depends on your climate, the rainfall etc. But I never paid much attention to that. Usually getting to it with a truck is the main issue.
>Is it better to be on the east, south, west or top of a hill?
Here, in this climate, I would always go for the east or south. Getting the bees warmed up in the morning or getting the warm all day is best for production here. Unless it's a Top Bar Hive, I put them in full sun here. That may not be the best in TX because of the heat there.
In North Carolina:
- South or Southeast exposure to get morning sun
- If possible, afternoon shade to avoid hottest sun
- Avoid low places where cold air and humidity are likely to settle
- 24 X 7 access in all weather conditions is very important IMO
Check out honey plants of North America and also Hive and the Honey Bee for information on good forage. The HHB lists major and minor flows for each state and HP of NA details the plants, timing of flows, and some pics for help in ID.
I would also suggest working with some large honey producers that have kept bees for a while. They might need the help and you might get paid. THis has been the best way for me to learn about the major honey flows in my area.
some other factors to consider might be:1)neighbors?,2)agricultural crops and spraying,3)proximity to other apiaries.
I just got a new yard by accident. a rancher - saltwater disposal operator that I do electrical work for had a swarm on the side of one of his building. I did not really want to get it but as a favor to a long time customer i got the bee vac out. In the heavy morning dew they fell to the ground and the vac came in handy. It was a monster swarm. He asked if I had a place to put it and I said no not really and that I had to move 3 others that were bothering some friends. It seems that he just leased about 4000 acres for cattle and row crops next to a big vegatable farm. I now have 4 hives behind a locked gate next to a small creek with shade no cattle and far enough away from the crop land to be somewhat safe. I also have a key. Now to work on quail hunting rights. Who knows if they will make honey but they are safe from people and people are safe from them. The pastures are full of wildflowers and clover now so time will tell. I had planed a move to another yard but it required notice to enter had water and shade. but had no all weather road. and had kids and animals and was only 75 acres. South of my area there are groves of tallow trees but I have been unable to connect with a land owner and the ones I know have migratory beekeepers on their property for the tallow flow. We lost 2 hives last august and one over the winter had 16 now with the new swarm 14 not bad for no chems or feeding.
I require sites where I can back my truck right up to the hives. Too old to carry and dolly honey.