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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Tough Decisions

When I first decided to start keeping honeybees and placed my add in the local paper, I was not sure what kind of response I would get. However, after the first few calls, I knew that the demand for my bees was going to be strong.

Here is the ad I placed:

Since I live in a neighborhood, I have to keep my bees elsewhere and making the decision on where to keep them was based on several criteria. Briefly, here's how I made my decision;

1. Distance from Home - My time is limited and I want to be able to check on my bees often, without having to drive a significant distance. Several people who were interested in me keeping my bees on their land were just a little too far away for my first year.

2. Availability of Food and Water Sources - Bees will fly up to 2 or 3 miles to forage for food, but the closer the better. Some candidates had and abundance of food and others had no food or water source nearby.

3. Disposition of Landowner - This is how I viewed the overall interest and personality of the candidate. Some people were just looking to help out the bee population, other farmers, or the environment. Others were looking for a substantial amount of honey or even "rent". I eliminated these candidates right away and anyone else who just didn't seem to be the kind of person I would want to deal with on a long-term basis. I should note here that it is customary for a beekeeper to keep the landowner stocked with honey (within reason).

4. Overall Site Survey - This included factors such as property size, distance to dwellings and other buildings, visibility from roadway, and environmental factors such as chemical spraying of fruit, wind, sunlight, and drainage.

I'm very pleased with the decision I've made and the location on where I will be keeping my bees. I sincerely appreciate all of the interest in those who responded to my ad and I wish I had the time and resources to put hives on more than the locations that I finally decided on.

If you are one of those property owners who I ended up not putting my hives on, please keep in touch and let me know how your garden or orchard is doing for 2008. Perhaps next year we can work something out. Of course, it all depends on how my first year goes.

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