With this wonderful Spring, I'm getting more colonies between splits and cutouts than I can fit on my ranch.
So I've been thinking about ways to market my girls. Note that they're all wild-caught. Most are at least partially africanized, so they're 'aggressive' compared to Italians, but not the worst where they follow you 1/2 mile. The benefit of these colonies is that they're really hardy. Last winter I started with 9 hives & ended with 9 hives. I had 0% losses the year before. Only losses (other than next-day absconded cutouts) has been 2 colonies to fire ants. And every colony remain strong, after splits they still have 15-20 frames each.
So, given that, I'm considering a different 'strategy' for marketing. Let me lay it out, and please give me feedback on what you like & where it needs improving.
I'm going to offer to do all the work to get people an Ag exemption for bees (people with 6-20 acres). The price will be $700 per hive, number of hives varies with how many acres they have. They fence off a little area for the bees. I bring the bees in. Each colony will be at least a deep and a super full. I help them with the paperwork to apply for the exemption. I will maintain the colonies for the first year, and I'll teach them what they need to do. I'll include consulting for the second year as needed. I'll also guarantee the colonies to survive those first 2 years. I get the honey the first year, they get it the second & beyond.
They can save thousands each year with their ag exemption. They get healthy colonies that won't need regular monitoring or chemicals: basically add/remove supers, split in the spring, and that's about it. They need their own suits/tools/extra supers. Or I could offer an ongoing service: I do all the work & they pay me a stipend to keep them there. Of course I will tell them to avoid mowing near the colonies and that they are aggressive (hence the fencing to keep kids/animals away). And they are really only 'mean' when they are queenless (split/swarm), hungry, or overcrowded; and I can help address those situations.
Keep in mind, central Texas. Lots of ranch land, but people are splitting ranches into 10 acre plots & the only option for ag exemption is bees. Is this too high, too low, a bad idea? I'll have to draw up a contract to spell things out & have them acknowledge the dangers of bees (allergies, etc).