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Long story short, I'm a "victim of my own success". Doubled the number of hives in my apiary within a short period of time, and based on their strength and mite loads, I suspect quite a few of them will survive the winter.

So, my next dilemma is that this area has too many bee hives, between myself and other local beekeepers.

Does anyone here have any advice on talking to landowners? That is, do you literally just drive into their driveway, and knock on their door and talk to the land owners?

I've tried sending letters to landowners, and I got basically zero responses.
 

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I presently have (4) bee yards. One is on my property. Another is on a friends 10 acres, he then sold the place and the new owners wanted me to keep the bees there. The 3rd I provided pollination services for and realized how well the bee's did there, so I talked him into letting me set up a yard instead of charging. The 4th was just word of mouth and someone that wanted bee's on their farm. I've had others ask me to put bee's on their property, but for now 4 yards are enough. So... you really don't have to go searching.
 

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Long story short, I'm a "victim of my own success". Doubled the number of hives in my apiary within a short period of time, and based on their strength and mite loads, I suspect quite a few of them will survive the winter.

So, my next dilemma is that this area has too many bee hives, between myself and other local beekeepers.

Does anyone here have any advice on talking to landowners? That is, do you literally just drive into their driveway, and knock on their door and talk to the land owners?

I've tried sending letters to landowners, and I got basically zero responses.
The letters don't work well - done my fair share.
I maybe scored one location out of 10-ish letters (the #5 below).

My yards:
#1 - backyard (lobbied the City to formalize into the code the City residential beekeeping and proposed the the minimum # of hives to be reasonable - up to 6 "hives" - plenty for a small backyard)
#2 - the bus stop acquaintances proposed their property to me (and I like their location)
#3 - I just stopped by and asked the owner (because I liked the location)
#4 - I just stopped by and asked the owner (because I liked the location)
#5 - put a note into the owner mailbox and he responded (because I liked the location)
#6 - the owner asked for the bees on our local beekeeping forum and so I contacted her (the location is OK)
(#7) - the owner asked for the bees on our local beekeeping forum (I liked the location; unfortunately, he sold the property - no more)

I generally have a good strategic picture where I want my bees.
Only then I try to get those locations.
Not going to pursue a location I don't like - not worth the hassle.

Once I identified the places I really, really liked - I virtually drove up to that person, introduced myself, and we talked (if no one around - ended up living a note).
 

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When starting from scratch you have to get the word out - you have to let the world know you exist. Once the word is 'out there', then word of mouth should keep it going ...

So to start - you could advertise.

And adverts needn't be directed at landowners - even a large garden in the right location could be good for a handful of hives.
So, we're talking adverts in the right kind of shops, in supermarkets, in farmer's supply stores, farmer's markets, maybe even in the local newspaper ? And - take full advantage of the current 'Save the Bees' propaganda !

And/or - drive out into open countryside when Oil Seed Rape (Canola) is in bloom - ask around "who owns that field ?" - then contact them. If that farmer knows his/her business (and most do), then they should welcome the extra pollination (circa +10% yield). But - be wary of spraying - make sure you have some kind of agreement in place re. being given advanced notice.

Orchards are another good one - 'free pollination' - give 'em a jar of honey per hive as well, especially if that location is good all year round.

But - first things first - 'get yourself known'.
LJ
 

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if your target is farm acreage for your bees, if you are in the U.S., stop at your department of agriculture office in your county and see if they will let you post and add there. also check with the farm bureau office in your county. next stop at the farm equipment dealers and see if they will let you post a flyer. then post a flyer at any farm and fleet type stores in your area. and last, find the local coffee shops where the farmers hang out. usually 5 to 6 am, also check a mcdonalds as that is another hang out. word travels fast, be nice and courteous, it goes a long way.
 

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I was talking about my bees at work. A few days later a coworker offered his farm. Then a month later another coworker offered his farm. Neither was there during the bee discussions. The rest of mine are @ relatives.

Word of mouth. Talk about your bees and give some honey away. Someone will get in touch with you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
How am I supposed to dress, and what do I say when an angry person comes to the door after I knock?

"Hello, I want to see if you would mind if I place 20 hives on your property for a year?"
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
What month do I do this? If I do it now, it's probably too early to talk about next spring, right?
 

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What month do I do this? If I do it now, it's probably too early to talk about next spring, right?
It is never to early though often if you get an okay and then want to wait till later to move your bees the land owner might change their mind. Have found it better to be able to move quickly.
 

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How am I supposed to dress, and what do I say when an angry person comes to the door after I knock?

"Hello, I want to see if you would mind if I place 20 hives on your property for a year?"
Never show up with empty hands. An offer of a bottle of honey or something made with your honey will open a lot of doors. Also have a few facts written down, just a few, not pages of information tell the land owner what you and your bees can do for him not asking what he can do for you will help. Have found that not pushing for a positive answer if the land owner is not ready to commit works better. Give them time to think about your request. As for dress well that depends on how folks in your area dress. Nothing fancy but not sloppy or dirty either. I also stress safety and try to insure that our bees are safe to be around and why. Often have some of my equipment with me and have found that some people enjoy learning what and how you use your equipment.
 

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"Hello, I want to see if you would mind if I place 20 hives on your property for a year?"
God, I hope you are kidding!

Had an idea. Lets call it "open template". If you have had success meeting strangers and getting them to allow hives on their property, give us a sample ice-breaker conversation. Subsequent posters can modify any conversation and re-post it.

Hi, my name is ... and I am a local bee keeper. My apiary is expanding and I am looking for a few select individuals to host an out yard. As you know, honey bees are an important part of our food chain and their very existence is being threatened blah, blah, blah.

Make it seem that hosting hives is a privlege, not doing you a favor.
 

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Lots of ads on Craigslist for bee siting.
I worry about placing hives near agricultural concerns for fear of pesticides. We have strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and apples here. Anyone know about bees for grapes? Any thought?
 

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What do I need?

  • Quiet corner
  • Accessible by pickup/trailer
  • Room for fencing if bear country
  • Suitable forage
  • Away from commercial farming if possible
  • Distance from other apiaries if possible.

Look on social media. I belong to a local farming group on Facebook. Look for local yard sale groups. Post in Facebook marketplace, CraigsList, or Kijiji. MeWe is up and coming because farmers can't sell animals on Facebook any more.
 

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I like to make my yards so that they are just a few miles apart. If i hit them all in one day it is a 70 miles loop. Just something to think about. Had two yards that where the opposite direction from all the others. I hate working them due to lost time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
God, I hope you are kidding!

Had an idea. Lets call it "open template". If you have had success meeting strangers and getting them to allow hives on their property, give us a sample ice-breaker conversation. Subsequent posters can modify any conversation and re-post it.

Hi, my name is ... and I am a local bee keeper. My apiary is expanding and I am looking for a few select individuals to host an out yard. As you know, honey bees are an important part of our food chain and their very existence is being threatened blah, blah, blah.

Make it seem that hosting hives is a privlege, not doing you a favor.
Thanks.

Do you think I should say anything else?

There's ALOT of residential and commercial properties in my area.

Farms exist, but it's not like central PA, or southern PA.
 

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Our neighborhood belongs to the Nextdoor.com app. I posted an ad there a few months ago for the upcoming bee season. I was keeping my range within a mile of my house since my husband doesn't want so many hives in our actual yard, but the forage can support the number of hives I have. I had 5 people contact me to place a hive or two next year. This is a screenshot of what I posted.

nextdoor ad.jpg
 

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Lots of ads on Craigslist for bee siting.
Craigslist worked for me. Got many responses and narrowed it down after visiting the sites that sounded best after phone calls. I targeted landowners with large gardens. If you word the add correctly, highlighting free pollination and increased yields on their crops, you are proposing a win-win opportunity for them and yourself. Reduces the need to feel "obligated" to give them honey in exchange for setting up hives on their property. They receive a benefit having hives there, and a complimentary jar of honey here and there goes a long way.
 

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What month do I do this? If I do it now, it's probably too early to talk about next spring, right?
Like Groundhwg said, it's never too early. I got the greenlight to site hives on a farm in the fall, I went ahead and set up two empty hives there. Installed splits there in the spring and we were off to the races.

Also got the locations for my two outyards from bee chatting. Folks came looking for me, asking for hives on their land.
 

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Not trying to be a pain, but if you ran into a hateful landowner the could probably cause a fuss over the note in the mailbox. If I am not mistaken that is illegal if they wanted to cause you problems
 
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