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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Cleveland, OH, USA
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    475

    Default But where do you PUT them all...?

    Let's imagine for the sake of this thread that I live in an apartment, and have been able to keep up to five hives on a farm for a song and a jug of honey each year. But I've decided to step up to sidelining - or, if sideliner isn't the proper word, perhaps a leveled-up hobbyist. I want increase to somewhere between 20 and 50 hives, with an ambitious long-term goal of maybe a couple hundred. Never mind the schedule or method of increase at this juncture; it's beside the point.

    My host farm is unwilling to give up any more land than I currently use, and obviously I can't keep any at my apartment. Perhaps someone who keeps bees at their own home with a yard may have a similar predicament if they want more bees than they have space for. I realize too that pollination gives you temporary space for your hives; but before, after, and between contracts you need somewhere else to put them.

    Question: where do you guys get your land from?

    Do you just flat-out buy it? Rent it? Try to talk your way into using it for free? Squat?

    How do you find acceptable land? Do you go on Google Maps or drive around to look for a likely spot and then try and find out who the owner is and ask them? Or does it take some connections, ultimately?

    Do you try to seek out a great massive yard, or do you prefer a couple of smaller ones? Or do you hope you are able to find a whole lot of farms that you can keep just a couple of hives at each (and is that as uneconomical a strategy as it sounds?)?

    Is it worth the time to seek out and ask the owners/administrators of public spaces, managed forests, educational or medical establishments with large campuses, or do these guys usually say no?

    If your answer would be along the lines of "all/any one of these is worth a try", which specifically do you do? Which have you had the most luck or best results with? Which have you tried and gotten no luck at all with?
    Beeless since 2012; coming back in 2014. Suffering from apicultural withdrawal!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,618

    Default Re: But where do you PUT them all...?

    Years of living right, spread by word of mouth. Treat your landowners right, pay in honey, and when you see a good site, knock on the door with a jar of honey in your hand. What goes around, comes around.

    Crazy Roland

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Dayton, OH
    Posts
    59

    Default Re: But where do you PUT them all...?

    There is a beekeeper here in SW Ohio that is constantly on Craigslist charging people to put hives on their property. http://dayton.craigslist.org/grd/4261959556.html. $198 per year per hive! I doubt they would constantly post unless they were getting people to bite.

    The folks you want to look for is anyone who is a Whole Foods/Prius/"backyard chicken" type (no offense to those folks) who would think its keen that they can get "eco-cred" by hosting bees. Post on Craigslist or hang a flyer at Whole Foods or Tractor Supply and I'll bet you'll have all kinds of interest. Your hives better look pretty, though. That said, you can probably convince lots of folks to host 3-5 hives, but convincing someone to donate the space for 20-50 hives is another issue altogether. For that, you likely need farmers/large landowners.

    I know someone who would likely host all you wanted to put on his property, but he's way down in the New Philly/Dover area. PM me if you're interested in going that far south.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee, USA.
    Posts
    398

    Default Re: But where do you PUT them all...?

    Get to know farmers and they will come asking you. I have 8 yards and have never asked for a single one of them. Had several others ask that lived to far away. Most don't even ask about getting honey in return but I always give them about 3 gal.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,379

    Default Re: But where do you PUT them all...?

    Take a Sunday drive and look around the country side. If you happen upon a farmer that is doing some post pounding or other types of laborious work,
    stop and offer your help and if he would mind having a couple hives on his property in a location that would not trouble him. If he says NO, keep helping him anyhow
    and offer your phone number up if he ever needs a hand because you just like getting out of the city. Farmers work hard for a living and a lot of times they
    do it by themselves, an extra hand can not only benefit them, but after they "feel" you out they may offer up a place for you to put them, and if you are
    respectful, word of mouth travels through the farming community like wild fire, next thing you know you may have more yards than you can handle!!

    Ive stopped and talked to farmers and introduced myself and sometimes the conversations turn into like we are best friends!! Of course having been raised
    around agriculture is a bonus on my end. Ive obtained places this way and also got contacts for other places as well. Then you can pick and choose where
    you want to put your bees!

    Always respect their land and their wishes, and don't forget to call them or send a card during the holidays.........and of course, always offer honey to them,
    enough bottles that they can give some to friends or family and they can brag that it was made off their property!

    The farmer where I keep my bees at now has turned into a good friend of mine and I give him atleast five one pound bottles of honey and also a gift certificate
    to his favorite place to eat, which I found out during conversation. He gave me my own key to the gates and I am free to come and go as I please.

    And NEVER offer a release of liability or agreement, do everything by handshake and honor.

    Goodluck in finding some more places for your bees, when you do get them, cherish them.
    Coyote Creek Bees

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Nowthen,Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    183

    Default Re: But where do you PUT them all...?

    I post these on community bulletin boards in local grocery stores. Not only have they worked to find new yards, but they've helped bring in new customers as well.

    got bees.jpg
    -Phil Domeier
    www.nowthenhoney.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,241

    Default Re: But where do you PUT them all...?

    What Roland said.
    The first ones are always the toughest to find as there is a natural suspicion about giving strangers free access to property. Once you have a "toehold" they become easier to find through a friend or relative of your other landowners, especially after they have tasted the honey. It will get frustrating at times finding a perfect spot with an accommodating landowner. I have had people point at their backyard and say that's all they own but I'm welcome to put all I want back there but the perfect spot across the road with the log chain and the 5 pound padlock on the gate is owned by some rich guy in Houston.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,210

    Default Re: But where do you PUT them all...?

    Nice. R u overwhelmed w/ callers?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  9. #9

    Default Re: But where do you PUT them all...?

    I have one yard that I swap a pollination fee 3+ hives for storage of boxes. Hives are permanent hives. Had three swarms move into empty boxes. Plus I sell him honey for his farmer market store..
    David.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,782

    Default Re: But where do you PUT them all...?

    Some good comments here.

    Farmers know that bees pay back in dividends, and then top off that deal with a box of packed honey and they will feel like they are getting a sweet deal.

    The hard part isn't finding farmers willing, it's the beekeepers territory your going to have trouble working around. Beekeepers are very territorial.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
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    5,782

    Default Re: But where do you PUT them all...?

    Oh, and never complain about the pesticide usage on their property, just make sure you form a relationship with the farmer and all the farmers around well enough that they will inform you about spraying in advance

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
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    2,836

    Default Re: But where do you PUT them all...?

    I placed a craig's list add for one day just to see what would happen. I got 12 offers fro placing hives. sine it woudl take me a couple of years to put that many hives together i decided the finding placed could come much closer to the actually having of hives part.

    As folks find out about my beekeeping some offer me places to keep them. it takes a bit of work to explain to them that expanding is considerable financial commitment on my part and many of these "enthusiastic adventurers" fall by the way side.

    Then there are the hand full of serious educated and still interested offers that I am working with. I have plans to locate bees in one to two outyards this next year. Having locations that belong to others is a petty common way of keepign bees.

    Also in my searching I have found that in many cases public lands can be used with permits to keep bees on.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Bloomington In
    Posts
    790

    Default Re: But where do you PUT them all...?

    Finding location is not that hard around here, I have found enough yards for 2-300 hive's this fall, by just letting farmer's know that I keep bee's. That's when they offer a place to put bee's.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    1,693

    Default Re: But where do you PUT them all...?

    Quote Originally Posted by melliferal View Post
    Do you go on Google Maps or drive around to look for a likely spot and then try and find out who the owner is and ask them?
    This is what I do. Most folks around here are happy to have some bees around in exchange for a gallon of honey a year.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,620

    Default Re: But where do you PUT them all...?

    I don't think finding property to keep the hives on is really going to be your problem. Its all the other stuff that it takes to maintain those hives that maybe your problem. It takes quite a bit of space to store enough equipment to run 50 hives. I guess it could be stored outside covered up would be an option. But, you will need at least a small shop somewhere to assemble and repair equipment. I'm right at the 50hive mark right now with plans for expansion and I am quickly running out of room to store bee equipment. So far finding local yards has not been a problem at all. I have found it harder to find yards further south out of my area.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    1,244

    Default Re: But where do you PUT them all...?

    I Myself am an old sod buster, so I know from a lifetime of experience that farmers weather they be livestockers or cropers love the land and anything that benefits crops. I am also a hunter so I have long ago learned that developing a relationship with farmers, and other land owners is an integral part of life. Schmoozing we call it! I use honey as a gift to say thanks to those who allow me to hunt on their land, Many times that act in itself silicates an innovation to put hives on their land. In a world of texting and internet communications, where many people do not even know their neighbors names, the art of face to face communication is rapidly becoming a lost art. the ever decreasing circle of interaction is causing a tendency toward a decreasing ability for people to deal face to face. Get out and meet the world. say hi to the guy walking his dog along a country road, help the old timer push is truck out of the ditch. you never know when you will earn the friendship that will bring an extra bonus. and any friendship is one of value.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    483

    Default Re: But where do you PUT them all...?

    Quote Originally Posted by melliferal View Post
    Let's imagine for the sake of this thread that I live in an apartment,
    I think living in an apartment, your problem would be less about space for the bees, and more about space for storing equipment. Think about storing supers when they aren't on the hives, and where do you extract ? Do you have an extractor? You will probably need one after scaling up, unless you have a good line on using somebody else's honey house. We recently moved into a place with lots of room to scale up our bees, so one of our first purchases was an extractor which sits in the garage (accountant wanted me to purchase before year end). We'll be working with 10 colonies next summer, and see how that goes. If it's still fun, and not turning into 'real work' at that point, we'll try scaling up a little farther. But there is no way I could do that without the garage to store stuff. I've got a stack of a dozen honey supers, an extractor, and a shelf full of 'bee stuff' in there right now, and the stack of honey supers will likely grow to 2 dozen by the end of next summer. If we do continue to scale up, I'm not sure where I'll store a lot of the stuff, getting up to 50 honey supers is a lot of garage space over the winter.

    But, I do have an accountant leaning on me to scale up just a bit more with the bees, and achieve specific revenue thresholds from honey sales, so I wont rule out moving up to the 20+ level.

    I was an apartment dweller for 20 years in the city before I moved onto the island, and there is no way I would have been able to store this much stuff when I was living in the apartment.

    Quote Originally Posted by awebber96 View Post
    anyone who is a Whole Foods/Prius/"backyard chicken" type.
    When we moved up island we took a short term rental in town as a place to live, while we looked for a new home. We moved on relatively short notice (6 weeks) and there wasn't time to find / buy a place. After we got here, my wife posted a query into the local backyard chicken facebook group regarding a place to set 10 colonies. She had half a dozen responses within a day, most of them suitable for 10 or more. Forage isn't a huge concern in our area, you'd be hard pressed to poke a pin in the map, and find a place that doesn't have 50+ acres of blackberries and/or fireweed within a mile circle of that pin. We did end up buying our current home on a small acreage before we moved the bees, so when the time came, we put them into our back yard where we have plenty of space.

    If I wanted to place 50 to a hundred hives, over and above what our own yard can hold, a few postings in select spots will easily generate leads for enough spots, at least around here it will. Other areas may be different.

    I probably shouldn't mention this, but, before we had enough space at home, we did keep hives on the property of some friends. 2 double deeps fit nicely in the back of our Prius to move them around

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Macon, GA USA
    Posts
    942

    Default Re: But where do you PUT them all...?

    My best source of yard locations comes from the smaller farmers who supply produce to the local farmers markets. They offer several advantages.

    1-They need bees but can't pay for continuous pollination when they are growing something at least 10 months out of the year (I'm in GA). I don't charge a pollination fee if I can leave my bees in one location year round. I do give them some honey for their personal use.

    2-Because of #1 they are very tolerant of having bees around and are genuinely concerned for their welfare.

    3-Most use little to no insecticides because they are organic, sustainable, all-natural, etc.

    4-For weeds, most use plastic or some other mulch. They don't go crazy with the roundup which means fence rows, fallow fields, and other unused areas are allowed to grow over with weeds and brambles which are all good for bees.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Johnson County, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    93

    Default Re: But where do you PUT them all...?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    silicates an innovation
    Love it!
    Once the bee is inside, Mr. Veil is no longer your friend.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Cleveland, OH, USA
    Posts
    475

    Default Re: But where do you PUT them all...?

    All right, a couple of things. Firstly, before anyone else gets the wrong idea, the location next to my name is inaccurate! At the end of 2012 I moved to Louisiana, and I couldn't figure out how to change that location information in my profile. I think somebody told me once, but getting to it has slipped my mind. I do not live in Ohio anymore!

    Secondly, I want to point out that right this moment I'm not actively planning to increase, I'm just exploring the feasibility of it. I've been thinking about what all moving up to that number of hives would entail, and I've got what I think are some pretty good ideas for handling most of what needs handled. But finding large amounts of land I wasn't so sure about - I know that finding a farmer who'll let you put a couple of hives on his property is pretty easy and effortless, because I've done that - but I didn't know if finding a farmer who'll let you put a couple dozen hives on his property was as easy, and keeping 100 hives by way have having 30 farms spread all over the back nine with 3 hives on each just seems silly and inefficient to me.

    At any rate, it seems most people here tend to agree that you get more offers for land by establishing some kind of reputation. Well, that's perfectly reasonable, but it's also unfortunate in a way because I've just moved here as I said, and therefore I have exactly zero reputation. I probably have an additional handicap, being a northerner in a land where everyone in agriculture speaks Southern. So I'm hoping that I'll be able to find farmers with lots of land hereabouts that are excited enough about getting a dozen free colonies of bees on their land that they'll overlook my otherness, and perhaps allow me to start building that rep.

    Going out and helping random people in hopes of landing a bee yard, I'm a little leery of doing. If it needs done I'll do it; but, I'm leery. I live in the (small) city, and have to commute, basically, to the rural areas in order to look for people to help. I'm not entirely sure how to go about this - I would help anyone stuck in a ditch anyway, but how often do you see someone stuck in a ditch or broke down on the side of the road? It's really quite rare. I guess I could spend many hours and gallons of gas cruising backroads looking for someone doing some kind of work on his property so I can run out and ask him if he needs help...it's just, that kind of thing seems so fake and shallow to me. At least door to door solicitors are honest about the fact that the only reason they've come onto your property is to get you to buy something, or sign something, or go to their church, or whatever; I try to imagine being somebody working on his property when some stranger bounds across my field to come up and ask if I need some help with something - and oh, by the way, do you have some land I could use? It's...weird-sounding.

    Quote Originally Posted by NowThen View Post
    I post these on community bulletin boards in local grocery stores. Not only have they worked to find new yards, but they've helped bring in new customers as well.

    got bees.jpg
    This is absolutely brilliant! I could certainly do that. There are general stores, feed & seeds, a Tractor Supply, and mom-&-pop restaurants aplenty down here, most of them probably have bulletin boards. I hadn't thought about doing this before - but they were basically Craigslist before there was a Craigslist. It's bound to work.

    Websites of local growers and groups like that are another great and obvious place to start that didn't occur to me. Thanks for these great suggestions!

    Quote Originally Posted by johng View Post
    I don't think finding property to keep the hives on is really going to be your problem. Its all the other stuff that it takes to maintain those hives that maybe your problem. It takes quite a bit of space to store enough equipment to run 50 hives. I guess it could be stored outside covered up would be an option. But, you will need at least a small shop somewhere to assemble and repair equipment. I'm right at the 50hive mark right now with plans for expansion and I am quickly running out of room to store bee equipment.
    Quote Originally Posted by grozzie2 View Post
    I think living in an apartment, your problem would be less about space for the bees, and more about space for storing equipment. Think about storing supers when they aren't on the hives, and where do you extract ? Do you have an extractor? You will probably need one after scaling up, unless you have a good line on using somebody else's honey house. We recently moved into a place with lots of room to scale up our bees, so one of our first purchases was an extractor which sits in the garage (accountant wanted me to purchase before year end). We'll be working with 10 colonies next summer, and see how that goes. If it's still fun, and not turning into 'real work' at that point, we'll try scaling up a little farther. But there is no way I could do that without the garage to store stuff. I've got a stack of a dozen honey supers, an extractor, and a shelf full of 'bee stuff' in there right now, and the stack of honey supers will likely grow to 2 dozen by the end of next summer. If we do continue to scale up, I'm not sure where I'll store a lot of the stuff, getting up to 50 honey supers is a lot of garage space over the winter.

    I was an apartment dweller for 20 years in the city before I moved onto the island, and there is no way I would have been able to store this much stuff when I was living in the apartment.
    I decided what I'd do about this particular problem early on - although in a way that wouldn't necessarily work for everyone, I'll grant. You're right that I definitely wouldn't have space in my current apartment - it's a studio, which is big enough for me to live in. Renting a self-storage place might be fine for some equipment; but I don't know if it's cost effective; and they might work great solely for storage but not as workshop space because there's no utility and generally poor access.

    My solution is to move up to a 1-bedroom apartment. I would arrange it as a studio apartment, and use the bedroom solely for bee things. I imagine a room that could fit a queen size bed, nightstands, and a dresser should be able to accommodate a modest sturdy work table and chair, an extractor, and the rest of the floor for stacks of supers and equipment up to a certain amount. It would only be maybe $20 or $30 more a month over what a studio typically costs, for what amounts to climate-controlled full-access storage with electricity and access to water. If I decide at some point I'd really like a bedroom to use for a bedroom, then it will simply be time to move to a two-bedroom apartment.
    Beeless since 2012; coming back in 2014. Suffering from apicultural withdrawal!

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