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Author Topic: Where do I put my Hives ?  (Read 1749 times)
qabloona
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« on: December 17, 2008, 11:04:02 PM »

I'l be getting my first hives in the spring. Went on Kijiji website in Ottawa Canada and asked if anyone would be interested in providing space for my hives. I was surprised that within 24 hours I had 14 replies saying they would love to provide a location. Some have apple orchards, others have mixed vegetables and one has a totally organic operation. I haven't seen any properties yet and they are all within an hour of where I live. Of course everything is covered by snow right now. An experienced bee-keeper has advsd me to be careful of orchards because of pesticide use. Would appreciate any tips on how to evaluate a property. Should I automatically lean towards the organic operation ? Any tips or advice much appreciated   huh Dave
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BjornBee
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« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2008, 07:58:31 AM »

I do not favor any beekeeper supplying hives to commercial farms/orchards for free. Here is why...

1) Your undercutting a valuable service and providing a service for free. Commercial orchards who traditionally rely on pollination from honeybees, should pay. Whether you have 10, 100, or 1000 hives, you are providing the same important service. Do not devalue or diminish the service and value that beekeepers provide.

2) Why get paid? Because farm operations are not the ideal places for healthy bees, and honey production. Mowing operations, pesticides and sprays, and the lack of possible forage diversity, all make them NOT the first choice for hive location. Yes, they are easy to find, as many farmers KNOW what they are getting for providing a "free" place to keep bees. There is no downside to them, only you. If it were not for a pollination fee, your bees would be better off, and your honey production would be better off somewhere else.

3) There are many "gentleman farms" and those who have bought up older farm operations, and do not do traditional farming. These places provide the best forage and protection for your bees. Be selective. Do what's rights for your bees. The fact that 14 people contacted you, only shows the need, and demand, for bees.

I was very selective in where I placed my hives. Many said I could not charge for a year-round site. I sent letters and made contacts. I now have all my hives (except for some mating yards that were based on my need of location) on year-round farm operations that pay a pollination fee. Some of these farms are also then purchase my honey for their markets.

For now, I'd go with the organic farm.
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2008, 08:54:29 AM »

I agree, go with the farm that will be best for your bees, namely anything organic.

Don't feel guilty about providing free pollination, since they are providing a free space to keep your bees.  It does sound like a great opportunity to get some free vegetables and to share your honey with them, as well as possibly providing you an instant market for your honey.  (those organic birkenstock-wearing granola crunchers will pay premium for your honey  grin )

When you get to the big-time, like Bjorn is, then it makes more sense to spend a lot of time on it.  Smiley  Just go with it and enjoy the wonder of the bees for a while first before making it into work.

Many many beekeepers actually pay (usually with honey) for a place to keep their hives.

Rick

(great, now I'm hungry for some granola...I'll have to make a batch soon...  Smiley)
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Rick
BjornBee
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« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2008, 09:23:06 AM »



When you get to the big-time, like Bjorn is, then it makes more sense to spend a lot of time on it.  Smiley  Just go with it and enjoy the wonder of the bees for a while first before making it into work.

Many many beekeepers actually pay (usually with honey) for a place to keep their hives.

Rick


First....I'm not "big-time".  Cry

Second, you'll never get close to "big-time" giving your honey away for sites, and providing pollination for FREE!  tongue

Third, There are many smaller sideline operations. They call themselves sideliners...which is for many, a substitute word for meaning...a "poor" beekeeper  grin

I'm not suggesting that there are not many adequate sites for a beekeeper to place a few hives. But I have heard many times, from beekeepers who select an operation to place bees on, that is far from advantageous for what the beekeeper wants. How many times have you heard "I have a pumpkin grower who will let me keep bees on his place for exchange of pollination". Traditional farmers, orchards, and many other type farms are NOT the best place to keep bees. And why someone would seek these places, have an environment not conducive to having healthy bees or a great honey crop, then on top of that, PAYS for the site by giving away honey.....blows my mind.  fishhit

It does not take a rocket scientist to read about pesticides, CCD, and the pitfalls of chemicals. And yet, many beekeepers seek out situations that are right in line, and goes against all the chatter of such problems. It's as if, all the potential problems are soon forgotten, because of some less than adequate place to keep bees if offered.

WORK is bangin your head from day one, with problems of a working farm, paying for a site, and wondering why your bees are doing so crappy.

MANY..are those that pay for sites. True. And there are just as many with problems every year, while sucking that next dollar from your wallet, while someone suggests that this is the best it can be, and this is the "fun" stage of your beekeeping experience. Well Duh!

(Dave) Did you offer to place bees on a site for free, and also pay for it? No. This idea of paying for a site is absurd! Your providing a service. they would not of responded if they did not want your bees. Selecting the BEST place your bees is one thing. Suggesting you PAY for it by GIVING your honey away, because other beekeepers do it, Blows my mind twice as much..  fishhit    fishhit

I know that some after calling out "HEY! I got bees! Who needs bees?" and having 14 people respond, may actually see a business opportunity. An opportunity that goes beyond asking yourself....."Ok, now which of these 14 people will I provide free pollination too, and also pay them a year-end payment of some of my honey? Hmmmm. Let me think this over....do not want to be stupid...don't want to put money in my families pocket.....I want this to be fun... rolleyes

I realize a new beekeeper started this, and he is in step one. But nothing wrong with the conversation that will be read be many others. I'm just trying to point out the valuable service beekeepers provide, the demand for your bees, and the business opportunity for you and your family, regardless of the number of hives you maintain.
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KONASDAD
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« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2008, 10:43:30 AM »

Think bees first, and as close to your home as possible as well. Given the few numbers of hives you will start out with, it becomes a waste of time to drive an hour to inspect one hive. The inspection takes 10-15 minutes after you get the hang of it. Think closer to home. you will also get the joy of just watching them if they are closer to home. You will learn more the more you watch, smell and listen to your hives in the begining.

As for charging a fee, thats your choice. I dont, but will in the future. I wanted to learn more before I charged someone a fee. I wanted to insure I knew what I was doing first. I was learning on their time. I also didnt place any hives on farms either. I use suburban yards and a golf course. Neither make money from my bees being on their property, so charging was not feasible.
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Shawn
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« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2008, 01:09:32 PM »

I guess I agree with Scadsobees. If the farmer is willing to let you set the bees for free then why charge him. I was looking for farmers around here and all said "sure." We have two big commercial bee keepers within 57 miles of here and all just ask to set their hives out. I dont know any of the farmers and ranchers that charge them for the area for the bees. Most of this area is alfalfa so the farmer is not really benefiting from the bees. I do know the bee keepers supply the farmer with a lrage amount of honey at the end of the season. Like eeveryone else has said I would pick someplace close to home where you know your bees are safe from sprays and other harmful things. Just my two since worth. 
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2008, 03:14:13 PM »

Ok Bjorn, I'm starting from the premise that if you are just getting your first hives, you are starting out and just embarking on a hobby.  Konasdad is right, close to home is best (backyard ideal!).  And most of us here are in it for the hobby, and the money starts making it all look like work.  Then it is less about fun and more about obligations to fill.

Trying to figure out the bees is complicated enough without trying to squeeze every last penny out of them! grin  That is why I mentioned free veggies, at least you get something out of the deal...  Its about the bees, not about the money.

Now after a bit when you have them figured out a little better and are more familiar with the bees, then it is time to start talking $$$.

I start with the bees and worry about the money later.
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Rick
BjornBee
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« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2008, 03:45:52 PM »

Scads,
I hear what your saying.

Yes, were talking about a new beekeeper. So? He had the fortitude to advertise and find 14 people interested in his bees. My discussion, although keeping it in the context of the original posters questions, are also read by anyone clicking on this thread. It's the other hundreds or thousands of beekeepers who may read this, that probably have heard time and again, that beekeepers should pay for a site.

I know that when I started, I wanted to grow a business with bees. I asked "How can one make this hobby into a business, without being on the road living in the back of a truck, for months every year, like the migratory big boys?" I asked about "How can I get paid for pollination, and yet not move hives in and out of farms?"  (I hate moving hives) Want to guess what EVERY beekeeper told me...."You can not charge for a year-round site. Nobody pays for a year-round site, as they are considered honey sites."

I made contacts, sent letters, and when I had farmers literally banging down my door with orders, I was glad I did not listen to a bunch of old timers who were still giving away Honey for less than adequate sites. All I heard from the farmers were stories of how they were tired of getting their bees late, that the hives were not strong, that they were being overcharged, and so on from the migratory guys. When they were given a chance to have year round hives in place, they LOVED the idea.

Most of them were also going from traditional "all the eggs in one basket" exclusive apple growers, to diversified farms that needed bees for a host of pollination requirements. They were changing their needs, and I was willing to provide them what they needed.

Two things are constant within the bee industry. And you read about it all the time...

1) Someone asks about getting into the business, and the replies are overwhelmingly negative. All about the hard work, all about every other beekeeper out there all scratching out a living, and not a word of encouragement, or constructive ideas on how to succeed.
2) Mention about looking for a place to place bees, and 3 out of the first 4 posters will suggest somehow "paying" for such sites.

I'm just passing on my thoughts, that there are opportunities out there. And for those that start with the right attitude, business plan, and encouragement...who knows where it may lead. Dave may not ever have more than a few hives. But maybe Dave, or the next person reading this, will find some light of a rather dark tunnel, when it comes to many of these discussions.

Of course there will be all types of beekeepers. Many will no doubt be happy to keep bees on a working farm, while not being paid (or rather paying them a fee), putting up with decreased honey yields, and dealing with chemicals and pesticides, because they did not do some homework,....or perhaps not knowing any better. But that will not happen if I can chime in.....  grin

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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2008, 04:23:03 PM »

Just a suggestion from afar.

Look into local nurseries.  A friend that I race pigeons with and runs a pollenation service with his bees, likes to target nurseries because the bees can be left there year around, they due to pollenation work for the nursery operator, and the bee keeper gets paid for his service.  local nurseries would mean short distances with up to 1/2 dozen hives at one location. 
Charge from the get go, trying to go back and charge a fee after getting a sight for free without a pollenation fee is problematic.  It doesn't have to be a large fee, say $25.00 but that allows you to increase the fee at a later date when you get big enough to begin moving bees between orchards and fields for pollenation fees.  Believe me, without an adequate pollenation fee, moving your hives just isn't worth it economically.  The bulk price for honey isn't adequate to support a beekeeper on honey prices alone. 
Look at it this way, the pollination fees and bees sales pays for the costs of operation and honey sales are the profit.  Some years you get one, some years not.

Set down your goals in writing.  Include fees of some kind from the very beginning, and then re-evaluate yearly as your business grows.  The speed at which you grow should compliment your increase in knowledge and bee generated income.
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EasternShore
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« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2008, 08:35:33 AM »

I'ike to make another point here...please forgive me if I'm beating a dead horse...

Last year we put a few test hives on a local property to see how they would do.."for free"...guess what..the field workers opened the hives during the week, a big rain came...oh oh...so sorry sir your bees are dead....

Now..if we had a standard contract with this gentleman, he would have paid for the damage...BUT since we offered FOR FREE ...well follow the logic... I do NOT support pollenation for free...but if you do decide and NEED a place for your Bees AT LEAST cover yourself...my BEES are my children...and I'm not into Child slavery...so to speak...ok you all can laugh now...

By the way..the Bees I'm refering to were not mine...they belonged to a freind...
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