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I have been asked to teach a class in the upcomming spring sesson of our beginners beekeeping class. The topic is selecting a apiarie site plus working a bee hive. The working a bee hive I have no problem with, but selecting a apiarie site I need some input. Here are a couple questions I would appreciate your help with.
What criteria do you use in selecting the site?
If you could explain why you use that specific criteria it would be helpful.
Please let me hear from as many as possible so I can cover a wide range of circumstances.
Thanks
Barney
 

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My mentor made me go through this walk through of my farm when I chose my site. His main pointers were- as much sun as possible, especially during winter months. (If not all day sun, morning sun was more important. Then also if there was a natural northern wind break. Not damp! Not out in plain view to everone (I have 3 schools right beside me...kids are curious) And have an easy area to work in. Food and water sources were not an issue here on our farm. To make sure the bees had plenty of room to come in, easy maintained areas...not weedy.
Not sure if an amatuer opinion helps, but it's what I went by.
 

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Access- I want to be able to drive as close as possible because of heavy supers and other items are not fun to carry far.
Good road - part of good access - If I need a mule team or a helicopter to get there, it's not much good to me.
Windbreak - helps with winter survival, snow drifting, general protection from our strong prevelant winds. This place blows, literally.
Land contour- lowlands could flood in case a torrential rain hits the area. Hilltops expose the hives to our winds. Ultimately, I'd rather be high than low - that holds true for so many things.
Proximity to homes - Of course, 'everyone' thinks it's just oh so cool to have bees nearby. But, they change their minds when the dog dish is covered in bees, the kids are afraid to swim because of bees. I also don't want to have to defend myself legally or otherwise from any accusations if a family member gets stung or bitten by any kind of bug, wasp, spider or any animal that could have eminated from the hives. Many people don't know the difference between a wasp and a bee.
Crop forage - without adequate floral foraging, it really doesn't matter how accessible or what contour the site has.
Water - I like nearby ponds, but they tend to dry up early in hot weather so often. A nice creek is welcome for fresh water, but hard to find in many areas here.
Adjacent crops & flora sources - while alfalfa makes good honey, when they spray it with Mustang for alfalfa weevil, it tends to kill bees very effectively. Then I am glad the road to them is readily accessible, because I may have only a few hours' notice to relocate the hives for several days during the effective life period of the chemical. Alfalfa around here is virtually always cut for feed and not see. That means once it gets to about 10% bloom, it gets swathed and baled- no good to the bees. Many people are quick to point out their nearby alfalfa fields to me as 'prime locations' for bees. I usually just smile and thank them for their time, then leave because it will do the bees very little good. I want to know what crops are nearby so I can guess what sort of chemical warfare the bees will be subjected to. CRP is my favorite because nobody spends money spraying it for anything!
PaturesI like pastures, because I know the rancher or farmer will check his cattle fairly often and in turn also keep an eye on my bees. Unfortunately, cattle like to rub and scratch themselves on hives knocking them over, so I need to fence the hives off from livestock. Gates are often locked so the bees are safer from vandals, I have one farmer who gave me keys to his gates.
Wildlife - kind of a double treat/threat here. It is so cool seeing a large flock of turkeys, herd of deer, etc. near your hives in the morning. Conversely, skunks and some other critters are just plain pests! This one is at the bottom of the list becaue it really does the bees no good, but I may get the benefit of hunting on the land, also.
 
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