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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    North Alabama, SW Kentucky
    Posts
    1,914

    Post

    When my county extension agent found out that I keep bees, he asked if I would take swarms when he gets called about them. I told him that I would since I am the only keeper he knows. Well, now I realize that he is talking about A LOT. Is there any of you that would be willing to advise me on how to charge for this service? Feel free to email.
    Thanks
    WayaCoyote

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Butte Co - North State California
    Posts
    19

    Post

    I've bean hoping/praying that a swarm would land on my fence or somewhere in my yard. But from what I've been reading its more complicated than just putting them into some quickly made wooden box. (I dont keep bees yet - first comes info on it - then decision time.)
    --Ðøug 2004.3.16.23.32.25 PT

    [This message has been edited by Doug Meister (edited March 17, 2004).]

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Post

    >I've bean hoping/praying that a swarm would land on my fence or somewhere in my yard.

    Not impossible, but not likley unless there is a bee colony nearby.

    >But from what I've been reading its more complicated than just putting them into some quickly made wooden box.

    Actually that works fine, but if you leave them too long and they build it full of comb it's a mess to transfer them to a movable comb hive. Still a swarm in the box is worth two in the bush.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Post

    >Is there any of you that would be willing to advise me on how to charge for this service?

    I look at both the situation of the swarm AND the people or business that have called.

    For a simple swarm pickup, ie, walk up and slap a branch of bees into a nuc, $50. Unless the homeowners looks to be economically depressed, then it's free.

    Business's have a liability to the employees that work for them, and get charged minimum or more if it is not an easy pickup.

    Removals of existing colonies in buildings are much more. I tell them up front that I do not do reconstruction, and I charge $50 per hour with a four hour minimum. It usually takes three to five hours depending how carefull I am not to destroy more than necessary to get to the bees. Height is also a factor in the equation.

    If you are going to collect swarms, you are going to incur expence in hiving them. Fifty bucks won't buy a home for them, but it will offset the expence of the equipment you will need.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    McMinnville, TN, USA
    Posts
    716

    Post

    Well I see swarms as an income of a 50 dollar package. I do have plans on charging for removale from buildings. But simple swarm pick no charge. I guess I might feel different if I already had all the swarms/hives I wanted. I am one of 4 people in the county that is listed by the ag center as a beekeeper. And only one other is listed as a swarm call. I am the only person on animal controls list. So I hope I will be busy. I would like to get to 30 hives this year but my realistic goal is 10. Just another point of view if I had the hives I think I can handle I would charge a milage fee for simple swarms. As the swarms that make it can be made into nucs the next spring for sale.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Post

    From my point of veiw, I'm interested in more local survivor bees and swarms are my best source for that. I also pick them up for free under ideal circumstances. But if they are on a bush and easy to get at it's one thing. If they are 30 feet up a tree, it's another. And you will OFTEN get calls for swarms that are really just hornet's nests or an actual hive in a martin house or even the eaves of a three story house.

    I would charge for anything other than an easy pickup.

    I understand charging though. Because you waste a lot of time on false alarms, (like the hornet's nest or the hive in a house or tree) and swarms that leave before you get there. It's not always worth your while to do it at all. I think it's like everything else. It's supply and demand. If there is a demand to have them removed and you have all the bees you want anyway, then it's definitely worth charging some money. $50 for an easy swarm seems reasonable. Of course all they have to do is wait a few hours and they will leave anyway for free.

  7. #7
    jfischer Guest

    Post

    Anyone considering swarm removal as a profit center
    would do well to rent the movie "Ghostbusters".

    In the movie, the fledgling entrepreneurs are asked
    to remove a ghost from a hotel. They do so, and
    tell the manager what he owes them.

    The manager refuses to pay, so the Ghostbusters
    promptly offer to release the captured ghost on
    the spot.

    This "negotiating tactic" is a skill more important
    to success in the business than the mechanics of
    removing bees.

  8. #8
    jfischer Guest

    Post




    [This message has been edited by jfischer (edited March 17, 2004).]

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Post

    >Of course all they have to do is wait a few hours and they will leave anyway for free.

    Or they will move into the garage, or attic, or storage shed, or .... The point being, remove them from the property before they move into a building and become very costly to have removed. This is an important selling point for charging the puplic for your service.

    >Well I see swarms as an income of a 50 dollar package.


    A package of bees are more likely to stay put and start producing for you. It was pointed out to me here by Loggermike (?) that swarms have only a 50% chance of making it to production. I didn't really know if I should believe him at the time, but this winters losses were swarms and removals that didn't make it. Also the queens need to be replaced in most cases as they are usually the old ones leaving with the swarm.


    >This "negotiating tactic" is a skill more important
    to success in the business than the mechanics of
    removing bees.


    I still have a hold out who won't pay me for cutting down a tree and removing the gum. A lot of work for a measly fifty bucks. Most business's will share the cost of the bad transaction over the total of sales. That is why we all pay for the bum who passes a bad check. If bussnessmen did not pass on the losses to other sales he can not remain in business.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    brown county,indiana,usa
    Posts
    571
    i ask them alot of questions on the phone first,where is the swarm?,how high off the groung?,how long have they been there?how big a swarm?,are you sure they are honey bees?if it's complicated i negotiate from there or say no thanks.some swarms are just like free money in themselves. i've also charged people for suiting up and taking care of hornets etc.,distance is also a factor of course.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    North Alabama, SW Kentucky
    Posts
    1,914

    Post

    I don't really have a lot of equipment yet, and I am not exactly interested in developing a large number of colonies. But I do want to provide a service to the community while reducing the cost to hive them myself. And from the response I have gotten from the sheriff's department and the ag agent, I may get very busy collecting swarms.
    So thanks for the input. The last times I just threw together a TB hive real quick. I guess I could keep doing that.

    In a rural area like this, i strongly doubt anyone will be willing to pay much of anything unless it was at a business.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Julian, NC, USA
    Posts
    252

    Post

    I dont mean to rain on the parade, but I have a little different take on swarms, or bee removal.
    I was called out to remove a hive from a fallen oak tree one day. Simple enough task. Brought the chainsaw, bee-vac and some other stuff I thought I needed.
    What I found, I didnt want. Small Hive Beetle!
    After talking to my State Apiary inspector, I found out that the Small Hive Beetle travels with the swarm. Needless to say, I ended up destroying the bees and beetles before ever setting foot in my apiary.
    Be careful when picking up swarms, as you may get more than you bargained for.

    regards,
    Kurt

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kiel WI, USA
    Posts
    2,368

    Post

    And always ask if they're living in a brown paper nest, or underground.

    [This message has been edited by dcross (edited March 18, 2004).]

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