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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    carney, maryland, USA
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    575

    Default Thoughts on approaching landowners for outyard

    Second year beek, I have three hives going into this fall and winter; next year I would like to grow to 5 or 10 colonies. I also would like to make some queens, and do more splits.

    I know some farmers where we buy produce, so I was thinking of approaching them about bringing some hives to their property. I would appreciate any advice from anyone who has been successful at this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
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    577

    Default Re: Thoughts on approaching landowners for outyard

    This year we bought into a crop share thing in our area and I stopped by the farm one day to pick up extra cucumbers for making pickles. While I was there I asked them what they used for polination, and they said "whatever is out there polinating." I just let them know that I might have some extra hives next year that I could set up there if they thought it would be worth it. I didn;'t mention anything about cost, or anything like that. A couple of months later at the last crop share pick-up they approached me about pollinating for them next year and offered to waive the fee for either a crop share, or part of one of their meat shares. The crop share was something like $250 this year, and the meat shares vary from about $300 to $1000 depending on quantity and what kind of animal.

    I figure on bringing out two hives and setting them up for them on a nice stand. I'll leave them there from spring through summer so they will be there to pollinate anything the folks might be growing from apple trees to any flowering plants.

    From what I gather, pollinators usually get about $60 per hive for a "season" pollinating whatever the crop is. spring and summer easily overlap two "seasons" , so were looking at $120 per hive of "value" per hive that they are getting. The way I see it, it'll be nice to have more bees without having a ton of hives here at home. They get a benefit with the additional polinators, I get free veggies as fresh as one can imagine...and there is honey as well as wax. I probably make out on the deal on a dollar to dollar comparison.

    Well, i doubt this has helped you much as it's mostly just ramblings and thoughts. In my mind, farmers are ghood folks. Talk with them and see what they have to say. I'll bet they would welcome the bees.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    27,099

    Default Re: Thoughts on approaching landowners for outyard

    Phillip,
    Get into conversation w/ your farmer friends and tell them that you are looking for somewhere to set up another apiary. See what happens. They'll probably invite you to find a place on their farm.

    But don't be discouraged if they don't. There are other farms out there. Find a place you would like to set an apiary on and ask the landowner. You might get turned down. What did you loose?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Billerica, MA
    Posts
    298

    Default Re: Thoughts on approaching landowners for outyard

    Farmers have been very willing in my area to entertain the idea of a few hives, some wanted quite a few. I'd suggest asking sooner than later in the year to try to pick a suitable spot with the farmer now instead of when you're making splits or hiving packages in mud season. In my mind regular, year round access is one of the key things to discuss with them. Being able to get to the hives without putting the truck in four wheel drive is a good thing.

    Also consider landowners as outlets for your honey. I have two farmers that bought everything I bottled, and wanted more, for the last two years. They get honey and pollination, and I get hive space and a retailer.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Honey Hive Farms, Winfield Missouri
    Posts
    357

    Default Re: Thoughts on approaching landowners for outyard

    Honey Hive Farms,

    We have lots of hives, more then I can work myself so I crop share, IE I own the equipment and the bees, etc. I teach the person in some cases how to take care of the bees and they get a percentage of the honey. Works out nice.

    Have several different bee yards on other peoples land and works out great.

    NOTE::
    Make sure you both understand if the are spraying or not and when?
    7 dust is bad if they are a garden type person, or have roses, etc.
    Watch for cows, horses, etc.. they could push your hive over, etc.

    Good luck

    Tim Moore
    Honey Hive Farms "Saving the world one bee at a time"
    www.HoneyHiveFarms.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Plymouth County, MA, USA
    Posts
    123

    Default Re: Thoughts on approaching landowners for outyard

    Quote Originally Posted by KPeacock View Post
    I figure on bringing out two hives and setting them up for them on a nice stand. I'll leave them there from spring through summer so they will be there to pollinate anything the folks might be growing from apple trees to any flowering plants.
    While I don't think you are going to hurt anything just placing a couple hives at a CSA, you should understand that the actual effect they'd have would be variable. Bees tend to seek out the sweetest nectar when foraging. And once they've found something, they get hooked on it. So, for example, when people around here pollinate apples, they try to place them close in time to when the bloom is going to happen. Placing them a week or two early means (presumably) that they'll find something else, say some nearby clover...and that when the apples bloom, they'll be less interested, having already found a sweeter form of nectar.

    Relevantly, I also live in a big cranberry production area. Cranberries aren't particularly attractive to bees, but cranberries see massive yield increases from pollination. To work around this, farmers will place beehives on the north side of the bogs, as bees *tend* to orient on the sun upon leaving the hive, and look for forage to the south...meaning that the bees have to cross the bogs to get to their forage. (obviously if there's a huge forage to the north of them, they'll find it, but as a general rule) The bog area just south of the hives will see an increase in yield.

    So...things like...idk...melons or cherries, which are particularly good forage for bees, will probably see a benefit from just having bees nearby. But some other plants which are traditionally commercially pollinated might not see huge yield increases just having a hive or two in the area. That said, I'd look for somewhere to place your hives along the north side of that field.

    Of course, there's a spectrum of how important all that is. I mean, apple orchards, according to some Aussie agricultural resource online, see yield increases from 25-65% from having bees nearby. So, even with a modest yield increase, I think just about any farmer will jump at the chance to have bees nearby. Additionally, you give yourself somewhere else to drop some hives, and where better to find forage than in a garden? But you should be aware that it isn't exactly the same as a commercial pollinator who trucks in their bees at the optimal time to try to train them on the target crop. And a farmer's yield increases won't always be that huge boon that you'd think of with professional pollination.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    carney, maryland, USA
    Posts
    575

    Default Re: Thoughts on approaching landowners for outyard

    Thanks all for your ideas. Peacock, I like your idea of suggesting setting up a couple hives, then dropping it, to let them come back to you. I am not interested in any share, but hope it increases their crop yield. Maybe they will give us a discount on veggies.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    1,017

    Default Re: Thoughts on approaching landowners for outyard

    In my experience, as soon as people realize we have bees they ask us if we would like to set up on their property.

    Just ask - the worst that can happen is to hear a "no" but usually people will follow up with an alternative hive placement. Just make sure to set their expectations about how often you will be checking on the hives. Most people don't realize that in the summer you may be checking on your hives weekly.

    Also, make sure to sign a pollination contract even if you don't get paid, in order to protect yourself and as a proof of ownership.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Thoughts on approaching landowners for outyard

    Quote Originally Posted by merince View Post
    In my experience, as soon as people realize we have bees they ask us if we would like to set up on their property.

    Just ask - the worst that can happen is to hear a "no" but usually people will follow up with an alternative hive placement. Just make sure to set their expectations about how often you will be checking on the hives. Most people don't realize that in the summer you may be checking on your hives weekly.

    Also, make sure to sign a pollination contract even if you don't get paid, in order to protect yourself and as a proof of ownership.

    I couldn't agree more. I have yards lined up without enough bees to put on them. People find out you keep bees and start calling. Try craigslist or just drive down the road and start knocking on doors of potential places that look like the have good foraging within a mile or so. I use google earth and mark everything with waypoints so I keep the yards spaced out enough to maximize foraging in the area but minimize travel time (fuel expense).

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,593

    Default Re: Thoughts on approaching landowners for outyard

    I had a farmer approach me early this spring to rent bees for pollinating his crops. Needless to say we both walked away benefitting from the experience. He has referred me to a couple of his buddies who has contacted me for next spring...... now it begins.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    McClure, OH
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    1,017

    Default Re: Thoughts on approaching landowners for outyard

    Exactly. Keep in mind the driving distance, too. It definitely adds up timing wise and millage wise. Also, when hives are close to people's house, add some time in your schedule for socializing. I've had homeowners come out and ask me about the bees, etc.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,876

    Default Re: Thoughts on approaching landowners for outyard

    I have a "deal" worked out that is much to my liking but prof bee people tell me I'm being taken advantage of.

    I have 8 hives located at a farm market - depending on what is planted where I supposedly have year round vehicle access. Which I might have if my truck was 4WD. Instead I usually hoof it 200 yards or so from the farm road to where the hives are. And I use a cart if I need to transport stuff.

    The deal is I don't charge the farmer anything for pollination, the bees stay there year round, and he buys all the honey I want to sell him wholesale in 5 gal pails. This year I was getting 3.75lb from him - not too bad for wholesale.

    I'm sure his yields are radically improved from having the bees there. One year he was advertising "Pumpkin Blossom Honey" - I know the bees were quite happy to have the Pumpkins nearby! The area has lots of dandelions in the spring and goldenrod in the fall.

    When I approached him I was actually looking for the name of the person who owned the lot across the road - I told him what I wanted to do, and he said why not here.

    All bee maintenance is up to me - and I have a bear fence and solar energizer around the yard.

    Life is not all a bed of roses. He is the sort of chap who might shoot something bearlike (me) if he saw one at the back of his property. So I have a Blaze Orange Inspector Jacket (BJ Sheriff) that I wear in the fall - and any time I can't let him know that I'm working the bees.

    When I first acquired this yard it was 20 minutes from my house. Now it is an hour and 20 minutes. But I hang on to it for the wholesale honey aspect. And it is pretty.Trenton in spring.jpg
    Last edited by Andrew Dewey; 10-06-2013 at 07:30 AM.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    McClure, OH
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    1,017

    Default Re: Thoughts on approaching landowners for outyard

    An hour and 20 min drive is hard. Otherwise, if you are happy and the farmer is happy with the arrangement, why not?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,858

    Default Re: Thoughts on approaching landowners for outyard

    90% of the time the farmer has asked me, which made it simpler to find yards. There are a lot of variables and if you are interested there is a resource at https://www.createspace.com/4044187

    When establishing a new yard, always find out how many hives the landowner's spouse is comfortable with. Some think one hive is plenty and four hives is a recipe for an apocolyptic horror movie.

    I work with one grower who lets me keep the hives on his farms year round. I hate moving bees. I don't charge him and I get wonderful honey crops. His different farms are spread out so I get different crops every year.

    And it's not just the farm, but where on the farm do you place the hives. I had hives placed right next to the vegetable patch, at the owner's insistence, despite my strong suggestion to the contrary. The pickers, hot and sweaty, got stung. Then I had to move the hives. Did I tell you i hate moving hives?

    Access for me is HUGE. I want 24/7 though I never go out on the weekends. I want to be able to drive up next to the hive stand and work off the tailgate. I've messed around with driving through electric fences on rotational grazing patterns and gates that I had to unlock, open, close, lock...and keep the horses from getting out. And I really want to stay away from the homestead. Put me out in the back fencerow.

    Swarming will be a big issue if the family feels terrorized with a swarm clustered on the porch railing, and I strongly suggest gentle bees.

    Don't forget access to water, a necessity if the only water close by is the farmer's swimming pool.

    I also look for diversity of forage beyond the crop they want pollinated.

    Plus, can I put enough hives on this location to justify my time? If you're only running 8 or 10 hives, it's not such a big deal. I run around 200. I like to put 8 to 12 hives per location.

    I have one farm where I pay "social" rent. This is where I have to talk to the farmer, or rather, let him talk to me and ask me on each trip, "Are the bees still dying?" I really just want to work my bees and move on, but he likes to visit.

    No yard is perfect, but each offers a wonderful opportunity. Don't be afaid to leave a bad situation.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

    Default Re: Thoughts on approaching landowners for outyard

    I have more hive locations than hives. Started out with Craig's List. I now have hives in the desert and on a local large alfalfa farm for a nearby racehorse stable.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    carney, maryland, USA
    Posts
    575

    Default Re: Thoughts on approaching landowners for outyard

    Thanks, Grant for your thoughts. I hope to get up to 6-10 colonies next year.

    Phil

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