I know this is strange blog posting. But I am working with a local school to set up an apiary. They want to have some basic information for planning. So I worked up the ideas below. I did not get real specific, but would like to know from readers if I have left anything out. Please comment.
Considerations for apiary location
- Avoid damp or low spots.
- Provide a windbreak.
- Position hive to receive the morning sun and some shade in the afternoon.
- Avoid spraying insecticides in the area.
- Provide a security fence of at least 6′ so bees fly over peoples’ heads.
- Provide physical security with a locking gate.
- Put up a sign to warn people with allergies to avoid the apiary.
- Build a sturdy weather-proof table to set hive bodies on when working the hives.
- Provide a locker or storage for equipment, such as bee suits. hive tools, smokers.
- Arrange hives so they can be worked from the back.
Considerations for apiary management
- Determine who will be responsible for managing the apiary, should be in the school’s employ.
- Provide an EpiPen in case of emergency and know how to use it.
- Use log books to track hive data.
- Inform people who work and frequent the area about the hive.
- Develop rules of access.
- Develop committee to plan sale of bee products, and apiary best practices.
Considerations for individual hives
- Elevate hive 12″ to 16″ off the ground, by using a wood stand or concrete blocks.
- Paint light shades or leave natural (spare varnish)
- Individualize fronts so bee can easily find their hive.
- Record standard notes on each hive.
- Keep grass and weeds cut low around hives.
- Shovel snow around the hives so that entrances are not blocked by drifts.
- Provide a water source for have, shallow to bees can walk up to the water and not risk drowning.
- Keep other animals, such as dogs out of the apiary.
- Purchase equipment locally. We have a great local vender and a large national vendor in Albion.
- Use free local technical help, the Kalamazoo Bee Club has over 500 members, it puts on a yearly day-long bee school and monthly lectures.
- Use mentors, opening a hive and knowing what you’re seeing is very difficult to learn from a book.
- Once you know how many hives you want, a budget can be established.
- Woodware can be bought painted and put together or in parts, depending your budget.
- Once the number of hives and people involved a beginning budget can be established.
- If the ‘go live’ date is next spring, work and training should begin soon.
- The author of this outline is retired, and available anytime.