What to ask Farmers when checking for outyard space??
In my hunt for outyards, I have had some offers from farmland holders, good offers as their land is not cultivated for crops so is relatively bee friendly. I will be checking out two locations later this week, and while they are 40 minutes away, if I can get two or three sites out there of two hives each it makes driving an outyard circuit worthwhile, and spreads the risks out in terms of local conditions deleterious to bees.
However, I have also had a nibble from a very local farmer, which is nice as siting hives there means no huge commute.
That said, he is also a blueberry farmer. He has about 50 acres, and brings in 40 hives for commercial pollinating in blueberry bloom month. Which I am guessing is likely mid May to mid June?? He does spray at night to lessen impact on bees, but will there be residuals in the nectar and pollen next day??
So, when I go talk to him, what questions and concerns should we discuss? Your input would really help me there.
I did suggest that the pollinator service and I probably want to be as far as possible from each other, so if things work out I will site up on the most remote and uncultivated section of the land that I can find. I think he has one corner that is used as a place to park equipment and sawdust, surrounded by a huge wall of blackberries, and with space to plant alternate bee forage. He is retired, is interested in bees, and I can probably cadge a bit of plowing and planting for the bees as he understands their needs. These fields are also within bee flight of a large urban neighbourhood with gardens, and a big swath of mixed trees in a largish local park. And a completely uncultivated 20 acre section nearby is full of delicious thistles and weeds (it is up for sale...for millions of dollars! So it should stand vacant for a while).