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Discussion Starter #1
Has anybody ever taken out an ad looking for people willing to have hives placed year-round on their property for beekeeper expansion into outyards before? If so, how did that go? Would you have any tips in that regard?

I'm going to need to have some outyards lined up early since I don't have a good situation at my house for expanding very far at all... so I was thinking about taking out an ad in craigslist or something to help me line up some outyards.
 

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Re: Outyard or Pollenation Contract

You don't need ads. Just go ask! Most landowners are glad to have bees on their property. They may have some up front concerns such as bees vs livestock, etc. but give them an honest answer and mollify the concerns. If they get raunchy about it, and very few will, then go elsewhere. What happens a lot is that the guy who lets you have an outyard will later say "Hey, my wifes cousin down the road would like some bees on his property too. Can you take care of him?" :)
 

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Re: Outyard or Pollenation Contract

If you put an ad out you will probably get many replies from folks with unsuitable locations and will spend hours and gas money figuring that out. We get a dozen calls a year from folks wanting bees on their property. A few are good locations but most are not.
I think it would be better to go around the area you want bees. If you see a promising location, ask the owner in person or if they are not home leave a note and a card on the door. We do this with plat book in hand when we need new yards.
Good luck,
Sheri
 

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Re: Outyard or Pollenation Contract

Interesting point on "saving the bees". I've wanted a hive or two somewhere nearby but not right next door. Never really got around to looking and asking. Last spring, a gentleman stopped by the house and asked if I would be a hive in his backyard. He's a retired horticulturalist who spends all day....nearly every day.....working on his property and growing all sorts of things. He was concerned about bees in general and was hoping that a hive or two would help his growing efforts. Mainly, he just wanted to do his part for the bees. He stopped by on a Tuesday and had a hive in his yard that Saturday. He wanted no honey, just bees. He feels that he made a difference and claims his yard has never been better. Works for me. He even wants another hive next year. It doesn't hurt that he lives less than a quarter mile from a large orchard! So, in my case, the "saving the bees" stuff worked pretty well!
 

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Re: Outyard or Pollenation Contract

I put 'Bee locations needed' on my sign out front and I got 6 good locations out of it. Had a couple dozen responses. A five minute chat ruled out the unsuitable ones. I gave them a jar of honey for their offer anyway.
 

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Re: Outyard or Pollenation Contract

If you put an ad out you will probably get many replies from folks with unsuitable locations...
Yeah but I won't get any calls like that for a couple of years, as it will take a while to get my name out there as a beekeeper and build up a reputation. Placing an ad would help get my name out there, even if it does result in a lot of dead-ends. I believe I can reduce the gas spent figuring out the dead ends by asking a few key questions and using google earth to check out the area from a birds eye view before visiting it.

The dead ends may end up being honey customers, or calling for swarm removal at a later date... you never know.

More importantly, since I don't have a suitable location at my house to even temporarily hold more than just a couple of beehives, I need to build a list of places that I can put hives, that way if one outyard owner decides to sell their property and move and only gives me last-minute warning that I need to move the hives, or some other such situation, I have places to move those hives to very quickly. For that I need to build up a list, and to do that by ringing doorbells would likely take more time than I've got. Plus I'm still young enough that when I ring someone's doorbell they think I'm either door to door sales, or about to rob them, either way, half the time they don't answer the door even if the are home. So it's easier for me to build rapport by talking to them on the phone or through email first, before they see me in person.
 

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Re: Outyard or Pollenation Contract

I put 'Bee locations needed' on my sign out front
That's a good idea, but since I live in a col-de-sac, the only people that would see it right now, are the people that already live in my neighborhood...
I think that would be great for when I do eventually start selling honey at the farmers market or something like that though. Thanks for the idea.
 

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Re: Outyard or Pollenation Contract

Your neighbours have family and friends, it sparks conversation, you never know. Try an ad on craigslist with the heading 'free honey' it will draw a lot of attention.
Surprisingly when I tell customers I have 500 hives they invariably ask if I keep them in my backyard. The general public isn't aware of the need for outyards. I tell them,' the world needs bees, and beekepers need a place to put them'.
 

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Re: Outyard or Pollenation Contract

Well good luck with your ad. I would suggest having a strict list of requirements and don't be surprised if a few people exaggerate the positives of their locations, "demand" you come check out the location and/or are offended if you don't want to. You may end up losing honey customers. But perhaps Craigslist might end up a net positive, you won't know until you try.
Personally when I want to sell honey I advertise honey. A running ad for honey will bring offers for locations and swarm calls as well.

Another option you might look into is garden clubs. I have heard some have had good results with this more narrowly targeted group. In fact, along the lines of wanting to get paid for placing your bees, you could offer "garden hives" for a set fee and a quart or two of honey at the end of the season.

We are wandering a bit afield from commercial enterprise here though. Perhaps you would benefit from questioning the Bee Forum. There are several hobbyists that offer garden hives in their local, I know and there might be other suggestions for finding your first outyards.
Sheri
 

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Re: Outyard or Pollenation Contract

This is not a reply it is more of a question. What do you look for in a out yard beside the mileage from your home. And how many hive would you put on someone else.
thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Re: Outyard or Pollenation Contract

Pom, I'm looking for distance from other outyards as well (ideally the outyards would all be placed in a checkered pattern with a three mile radius between bee yards to allow them plenty of forage space), I'm looking for how much they have to forage from, whether or not there is any serious risk of pesticide kills from nearby agricultural activity, how many hives I can place per property (I will be looking to place 12 to 36 per location). Other considerations are if there is a good water source, if the bees would be in an area that they would be a nuissance to other people, if there's vehicle access to the hive locations. There are even things to consider like if there are a lot of bears in the area, or teenagers (I'm not sure which is the bigger danger to the bees), if I have to check in with the landowner every time I need to visit the hives, and what hours are acceptable to work with the bees at that location (if before dawn or after dusk isn't an option, it's going to make it more difficult to move hives to or from that location).
 

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Re: Outyard or Pollenation Contract

I want to just quickly run this by you all first before posting it, just to see if you think I should add anything specific to it, or remove something specific from it.


The world needs bees, and beekeepers need places to put those bees. I am a beekeeper looking to expand my operation in the spring and summer of 2010. If you are a landowner in the greater Knoxville area and would like bees kept on your property without the hassle of dealing with them yourself, please contact me and provide your name, address where the bees would be kept, the best way to contact you, and how many hives of bees you would like kept on your property year-round. Not all areas are suitable for bees, some things I must take into consideration are if the bees have year-round access to a water source such as a pond or stream, if the bees would be a nuisance to other people or livestock in the area, how much forage the bees have in the area from flowers and trees, and if there is vehicle access to the location on the property where the beehives will be kept. So please provide as much detailed information as possible about the property and surrounding area where you would like bees kept. Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Re: Outyard or Pollenation Contract

Well, I don't think I have to worry about getting swamped... the Ad has been up for 36 hours now, so far, 0 responses.
 

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Re: Outyard or Pollenation Contract

Here's why I wouldn't respond.
I'm not sending my name and address to a stranger online.
I have no idea how many hives would be suitable. (you're the beek not me)
Why are you telling me your requirements? Am I supposed to prescreen the area for you?
Sounds like too much effort involved for me to do YOU a favour.

Try to make it as effortless as possible for the landowner Sgt. Keep your ad brief and asking a few simple questions in a follow up email or phone call.
like how much land they have and how close the nearest nieghbours are will give you a pretty good idea if its worth a look see.
 

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Holidays, college football and basketball going on. Not too many people interested in wanting bees this time of the year.
 

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Re: Outyard or Pollenation Contract

Well, I don't think I have to worry about getting swamped... the Ad has been up for 36 hours now, so far, 0 responses.
I haven't read the whole thread yet. So forgive me if you have said this. How many hives per outyard are you looking to place per yard? Craigslist will get you one or two, here and there. Hit the road like JohnK and Sheri said. Leave a note if no answer. You will have your out yards.
 

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I would look around for places as suggested. Rural and suburban. Looking for places where there is lot of blooming and water (ponds, creeks, springs). I keep forgetting to ask some farmers on the edge of town here to grow a lot of cotton. They are using the scent traps so they shouldn't be spraying pesticides on the cotton.

I understand that cotton has a lot of good nectar and it is in late summer so that should help in decreasing the summer time when there is no flow.
 

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Call some of your local beekeeping clubs. Some may have a list of people wanting bees placed on their property.
 

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Re: Outyard or Pollenation Contract

Follow John and Sheri's advice. It's based on experience. Used to advertise for locations - waste of my time and gas. If you feel you must, add an incentive for them to respond. Used to give them a rent of 50 lbs. of honey for an area large enough for 30 to 35 hives. It allowed for entrance to their property without warning at any time of the day and night, always dry passage to the apiary site, protection from vandalism and swarm retrieval when they spotted them. Pay well and receive in kind.
 

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Ok...sorry I didn't see this thread before. This is how I have gone about finding outyards.

First, I figure out how much I plan to expand the next year. That will tell you how many yards you will need. In my area I can place anywhere from 20 to 50 per yard based on the ag and available wild flowers etc. So if I am going to expand by 100 hives then I will be looking for 4 to 5 out yards.

The first thing I do is pull up google earth. Since I know my area I look at places that I have driven by that "appear" to be good outyards. Sometimes looking at things from God's point of view gives you a good feel for the area. ie a apartment complex you didn't know about right next to where your bees are or a golf course (think tons of insecticides). This also gives me a good idea about where to place the outyard on the property. This is important as you will have an idea when you meet the owner. Say "I think this area on the corner will be good because..." Lastly I can run a ruler to make sure my yards are far enough away from my other yards or anyone elses that may be in the area. Important to know where other bee yards are in case you don't already.

Once I get a feel of where I want my yards I start to work to find the owner or in the case around here most of the time the ranch manager. Many times will will just drive by at different times during the day till I see someone working in the farm or ranch and just approach them. Don't jump right into bees...say "wow, hot day to be cleaning out a ditch or great piece of property you got here or you having any trouble getting your water allocation." Get them talking about their land, problems, the hot weather...etc. Then after the conversation has played a bit say "hey I am a local beekeeper and am trying to get places to place my bees or something like that." I would say 9 out of 10 times the ranch or farm has had bees before or their granddad kept bees or their favorite uncle..etc. Then ask them if they would like bees again on the property. Since I look for my yards the summer or fall before I let them know it's for next year. Then say, because you have done your homework on google map that x spot may be a good location. Walk the ground with them. Or they may say...well this spot may work for you. Look at it and if it does great or not, explain why. Well it's right next to the pigs and though it probably won't happen they could agrivate the pigs...but maybe behind the shed next to the open field would work...just keep working it.

Either way, if it doesn't work out or they don't want bees I always, always give them a jar of honey. Several times I have gotten calls (cause my number is on my honey) saying they have thought about it and it sounds like a good idea.

What do I look for in a location? Well...location. I like placing my hives in areas where they can forage on ag land and open space, blm or forest land. This gives them multiple forage areas. Here the first cut of alfalfa is quick so they don't get much on the first bloom but we have lots of wild flowers so they make honey off that. If you stick with just the ag part you could get stiffed. Water nearby (which isn't a problem here lots of irriagation ditches and rivers and streams.) I run hives in fields with horses and cows and have never had a problem. But I do run electric fences around them. I wouldn't run them in fields with livestock if you don't have some kind of way to fence them off. Lastly, easy access in and out and fairly level ground as I run my hives on pallets.

So that's it. Good luck
 
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