Re: Dangerous places to put a bee yard
Understand that I am NOT a militant anti-agricultural chemical phobe... everything has a place and a guy has to make a living, let science do the talking I say. But that said, if it were my bees, I would try to find another location. Sod offers nothing, as you note, and the unintended drift from spraying can be significant. Not just the risk of drift onto the colonies, but drift aerially onto surrounding forage the bees will work, into water sources, etc. At the absolute minimum I would say find out what EXACTLY they will be spraying, when (like they'll call you the day before every time), the manner of spraying (aerial? Tractor? ATV boom?) and every day they spray you want to shut the bees in the hives that whole day. If the sprays are fungicides, pesticides or absolutely if they are systemic or persistent pesticides, I'd move on... the contamination of neighboring areas (with the forage the bees will be working) is just a big risk, and that'll be more than just to your girls: their wax, the honey.
Pesticides commonly used on sod range from Baccilus Thurengiensis (benign to honeybees) to Sevin (one of the most acutely toxic pesticides to honey bees, like a couple micrograms LD50). However much honey you give the guy, if his cutting crew tells him they saw some webworms he's spraying ASAP. And your bees are not going to be what's on his mind when he makes that call, it's just economics.
If it's potentially a great spot (you know the forage is strong for the area and it has good honey potential), my $.02 would be put 2 or 5 colonies on it for a year and see how they do. Best case you get a feel for the microclimate flows and come back next year, worst you lose 5 but save 35 colonies of bees, comb and honey from a windy day's drink from the Carbaryl firehose.
Bees, brews and fun
in Lyons, CO