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Discussion Starter #1
I've been contacted by some residents about 15 mins away from my house who used to have bees in their graden but no they longer do. They asked me if I could place 1-2 hives (ideally 2 would be best for me) in their garden and work them out. They are willing to pay me. What is a reasonable price to ask them? Of course I would give them some honey if the bees produce surplus. I have never placed hives in someone's gadren and have never been paid either. But if they offer, I want to ask something modest, yet reasonable. Any ideas/suggestions? Thank you very much,
Stavros
 

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I would trade bees for vegetables. I would also have a complete understanding that there were to be no insecticides at all applied to the garden prior to or during the time the bees were there.

I am taking two hives to a friend who has over 200 blueberry bushes next spring. I am trading that out for blueberries. I also have an understanding with them about insecticides and they are on board with that.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You raised an excellent point: making sure that no insecticides are involved when the bees are placed. Stavros
 

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Offer some honey and hopefully you get some vegetables. Bees may or may not do much pollinating of the garden as depends what the preferred pollen/nectar source is in a 2 mile radius. They get two hives in their garden and you get a bee yard and a honey harvest.
 

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yeap...no gaurentee they'll even pay any attention to whats just around them. I've got all kinds of wildflowers around my 5 acres but the bees go up and out and I have never see them yet on the flowers in my yard.
 

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I think putting honey bees near a vegetable garden for pollination is a no win situation for you. First, despite what your residents may insist they know, honey bees are not regular pollinators of gardens. If they are effective it will be because the area is flooded with honey bees. This is how commercial migratory beekeepers earn their living.

Much more beneficial to you and to your clients is to take a long term view - what is there about the area that is inhibiting natural pollination? Work with them to identify problems and solutions that they can implement.

Placing of your hives may be part of a long term fix. Be the client champion - if the client is determined that they need bees by all means provide them but cover yourself with a written agreement that clearly states that you are making no guarantees about what the bees will do once they are placed.

If you are not a gardening person get find a gardener with experience in achieving success with native pollinators involved. There are many potential issues - I'd hate to see you caught up in "the bees didn't do their job so we're not going to pay you" when the crop is something wind pollinated like corn.

To answer your question - the fee needs to be worth it for you to move and remove the bees. Chances are you will want help moving the hives. Are you going to pay your help? The $60 per hive per month figure mentioned earlier seems reasonable to me.
 

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. . . but cover yourself with a written agreement that clearly states that you are making no guarantees about what the bees will do once they are placed.
Is a written agreement that the bees may not pollinate the garden really necessary? Isn't it already obvious that the bees will go wherever they want? How can anyone expect a beekeeper to force his bees onto certain flowers?

"Your Honor, I am suing Mr. Beekeeper because when his bees left his hive, they flew to flowers other than mine. I demand $1 in damages for each errant bee, or that Mr. Beekeeper be ordered by the Court to physically guide each foraging bee to a flower designated by me."
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you very much for your thoughtful comments. I have not yet heard from the resident, but my understanding is that he likes to have bees in the garden, in his backyard of his house. I have saturated my backyard with beehives, and it would be ideal for me if I could place 2-3 hives not too far from my house. I will ask for clear expectations regarding pollination, pesticides in some written form and some compensation. I will ask them to make a reasonable price, and then make a decision. By nature, I prefer informal neighborly agreements, but it is good to be aware about consequences. I will let you know what happens after he contacts me. Stavros
 

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I had 6 hives 20 ft from my garden last summer and watched my garden be pollinated by bumblebees. I did catch a few honeybees on the cucumbers, but they were probably from a feral hive that was pollinating it before I put my hives there.

Put them there. Charge them if you wish. Sell them some honey and tell it is very local, they will love it.
 

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Some people want bees, just to have bees, no pollination expected.

Here there is a guy makes his living out of it, he places 2 hives in the gardens of people that pay rent, just to have the bees there.

He was charging NZ$400 annually, but the business struggled and the price recently doubled, to NZ$800 annually, on todays exchange rate that US$690. The people also get from 10 to 30 lbs honey annually depending how good the bees did.

It seems incredible to me that people pay that when they could own a hive for less, but they do, this is the guys full time living. I think some people just think it's "nice" to have bees as a garden ornament and perhaps a conversation piece, and know that somebody else is caring for them.
 

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My guess is these folks probably want the bees because they had them before and would like them again, but for some reason don't want to keep the bees themselves. As long as they are not going to do something to kill your bees, like using insecticides, it seems like a win/win. The only downside is that it is 15 minutes away, so that is 30 minutes round trip. Since you live in Atlanta that may only be around 10 miles, so 20 miles round trip. You would burn a gallon of gas for the round trip and your time may be worth something to you (or a significant other). Maybe some gas money to defray that cost of something like that.
 

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If its convenient, do it for free. No agreement. No paperwork. It will work out fine. It's a karma builder.
I agree with 75% of your post. No such thing as karma, but I would do it the way you describe. To the OP, you stated that a new bee yard would be beneficial to you. Maybe it's just me, but I would not ask someone to pay me for something that would benefit me as much or more than it does them. Most gardens produce more vegetables than the owners can consume. Do you eat vegetables? If you make it clear that there are to be no insecticides sprayed before or during the time the bees are present then you'll get vegetables that aren't tainted like store bought ones are, not to mention the quality and freshness of garden vegetables can not be equaled. I'm certainly not naive, I'm just old fashioned I guess, but to me a handshake and an agreement to trade vegetables for pollination sounds like a real fair deal to me, for both of you.
 

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I was thinking like Brad too, but I have a bunch of swarm traps and I know that I don't check the ones away from home due to time and gas. If the folks are asking how much they should pay him I would make it easy and just say gas money.
 

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@Shannon - I see your point. I have bees at a what used to be nearby Farm stand/Market Garden (CNG) on a free basis. But since I've moved and now travel over an hour to get there, it is far less attractive than it once was.
 

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It's nice to have an out-yard for splits. However you need access on an ad hoc basis (no pre-calls, limited hours, etc). Its a good way to build friendships. Recognize adding garden ornaments to someone else's landscape is a money loser for you -- you are likely talking $10 gas for each visit, and an easy hour of your time. This adds up quickly, and if you short the visits and hives are sure to swarm.

As others have said, most garden vegetables have plenty of bumblebees, squash bees and alternative pollinators. They might want bees for the mystique, but in terms of utility there is no reason.

"Organic" insecticides (eg. pyrethereum and neem) are highly toxic to bees.
 

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"Organic" insecticides (eg. pyrethereum and neem) are highly toxic to bees.
Actually, they're only moderately toxic. UCDavis classes pyrethrin (the active ingredient from pyrethrum plants that is used as the insecticide) as a Category III toxin, which is only moderate. Same with neem.

To the OP: I agree that it would be wise to talk to them about any pesticides they use. Most organic ones can be simply sprayed at night to avoid problems with the bees. Reading the label and going to the UCDavis website I linked above would be wise before using anything.
 
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