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Free to Good Home: Bees?

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  • Free to Good Home: Bees?

    This is a new one. I've been offered cats, dogs, and horses since I bought the farm, but never before a hive of bees.

    Message on the answering machine as I came in from mowing. It's a man from church who said that somebody else at his VFW is looking to place a hive of bees. Gave me the number and times; call tomorrow for details.

    The ultimate farm plan does include bees; this man has probably heard me mention that, so he tagged me up with bees when he heard from his VFW friend. But that's the ultimate farm plan. We aren't there yet.

    The place I had in mind for bees is still inhabited by an old shed on the destruction list. Not that I really have any educated idea of ideal bee places; I just thought they would go well there and be near the garden and orchard. Several other buildings and projects are still in the middle of or to be done, and there will be construction and deconstruction commotion for a few years yet. I really meant to set up bees after the majority of the commotion was past. And the nursing home and I are dealing with issues with Mom right now, who is having a flare-up of Alzheimer's-related psychosis, and I'm shorter on time even than usual. I couldn't afford to sink a whole bunch into bee equipment at the moment.

    But an established hive of bees. Hmmm. What exactly is involved with bees? How much time do they need/maintenance/etc? Is this one of those "free-to-good-home" offers that would probably immediately escalate like a chain of dominoes into far more than was advertised up front?

    I will get more details on the phone when I can call him tomorrow, but meanwhile, what does the wisdom of COTH say?

  • #2
    LOL, I think with the bees you will at least get the hive with it, not like other critters where you ar lucky to get to keep the collar and leash.

    With everything, I am sure you can turn beekeeping in a day filling activity. But as a non-beekeeping person, I would think that during the summer they don't need too much of maintenance.

    Good luck finding out about them.
    Originally posted by BigMama1
    Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
    GNU Terry Prachett

    Comment


    • #3
      I have a good friend who has a beehive, & it really isn't something that requires a whole lot of intensive care - particularly on a daily basis. Education & knowing what you're doing - yes; once you have that, a lot of maintenance - no. And there are lots of websites & lots of books on the subject for you to obtain the info from.

      If the bees do come with their hive (& make sure that point is clear!), & the hive is in good condition, even if the bees leave or something untoward happens to them during your learning period, the free hive alone will be worth the early inconvenience.

      Oh, & when you say this gentleman is "looking to place" a hive of bees, is he looking to retain ownership (& the honey) but just needs a place for them, or is he looking to permanently gift them to someone? The former isn't as uncommon as you'd think.

      Comment


      • #4
        You will love it...

        They do not take a lot of time but there are key times that require more attention than others. If you have orchards it nice to have your own pollinators and you gardens will greatly benefit from them.

        I would say on average, they may take 10 hours per month (more or less) and you should consult with the current beekeeper as to the best location. In our northern climate, ours are positioned facing south and close to our pond for water. Winter is particularly hard on them and you will have to decide if you want to use chemicals our not for mites etc.

        I highly recommend the book "Beekeeping for dummies". Yep, there is a book on this and it is a great reference.

        Good luck. Must admit many days I come home from work and sit on the cinder blocks in front of the hives and watch them with amazement. I LOVE my bees...can you tell?

        Comment


        • #5
          It is a big responsibilty.
          Knowledge and equipment, and all.
          Will your guy do the stuff that needs to be done? Or will that be up to you?
          My farrier has four hives here, and other hives at other farms, and it's work for him. I get some honey, and I enjoy the bees. But it does take work to do it right.
          Look before you leap.

          Comment


          • #6
            If I remember correctly you can take a tax write off for bee keeping. A simple search of irs dot gov or internet search could tell you. Not sure how many boxes o bee's you need.

            I would love some bee's. Put a bee box in my pasture - love it! Hey if Martha Stewart can do bee's, ANYbody can do bee's.

            Warr be yo bee's at gurl?

            Ok did a search and bee's are considered farming.

            How hard could bee's bee, I mean be?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Bacardi1 View Post
              Oh, & when you say this gentleman is "looking to place" a hive of bees, is he looking to retain ownership (& the honey) but just needs a place for them, or is he looking to permanently gift them to someone? The former isn't as uncommon as you'd think.
              I had the same question as Barcardi. When I was growing up, my grandfather had an apple orchard. Someone else owned and maintained several bee hives on his property. Since they were great pollinators, it was mutually beneficial, but the owner of the bees did give him a fair bit of honey for "rent". It was great.

              Sadly at some point their next door neighbor spawned offspring, and then suddenly had a histrionic meltdown about the bees and threatened to sue them if her child ever got stung. The bees were pretty docile and never bothered any of my cousins or I, but the neighbor with her panties in a wad was a lawyer, so they decided it wasn't worth fighting about, and stopped having the bees live there. Which was really a bummer. I rather liked them.
              "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
              -Edward Hoagland

              Comment


              • #8
                A local guy has hives all over the area, including one on my neighbor's side of our property-line fence. I mow within a few feet of the back of his hive and have never had a problem, and the other landowner mows his side of the fence (presumably without a problem, either).

                If the guy is retaining ownership and will perform all the care, it's a pretty easy way for you to have a hive around to see how you like it and maybe get some of the best honey you've ever tasted for 'rent'. Regardless, it probably wouldn't hurt to chat with the guy and see what he has in mind, and maybe let him take a look at your place to see which locations might be suitable.
                ---------------------------

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by rmh_rider View Post
                  If I remember correctly you can take a tax write off for bee keeping. A simple search of irs dot gov or internet search could tell you. Not sure how many boxes o bee's you need.

                  I would love some bee's. Put a bee box in my pasture - love it! Hey if Martha Stewart can do bee's, ANYbody can do bee's.

                  Warr be yo bee's at gurl?

                  Ok did a search and bee's are considered farming.

                  How hard could bee's bee, I mean be?



                  they are the bee's knees....
                  Originally posted by BigMama1
                  Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                  GNU Terry Prachett

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Go visit the hive first & make sure they are a friendly, docile colony.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      No idea but really looking forward to hearing an update.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Bees are in historic decline for a variety of reasons (perfect storm situation) - anyone who can help nurture the remaining bees will do a good deed. But, I would vote for having an experienced beekeeper in charge of the hive and train the home/farm owner if they are interested.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Still trying to make connections. Will try calling again today for more information. Since this is second hand, I'm not sure if he has hives he maintains and "rents" places for or if it would be a total handover. The first would be easier to deal with.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            So what happened? Got interested in honeybees a couple years ago, took classes put on by a beekeeping organization at a county extension office and was 'certified' as a beekeeper (which did not impress the bees) and now have a couple hives in a disused dog pen in my back yard. They're very good natured.
                            "Things should be as simple as possible,
                            but no simpler." - Einstein

                            “So what’s with the years of lessons? You still can’t ride a damn horse?!”

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              we "rent" space in our pasture for hives, in exchange for honey. I think he's got about 10 hives there now, and they're way the heck back in our hayfield, about 1/4mi from our house. Not that we cared if they were closer, but it was just a good spot. When touring the property to find the best location, he wanted southerly sun exposure, and a good windbreak to protect them from the prevailing winter wind. Some source of water within 1/4 mi max, and of course access to flowering plants/trees. That said, they'll fly really far for food. For water, a running stream was not important-- they prefer shallow still water, so even just a perennially boggy area is sufficient. Finally we wanted an area that was fenced off from the horses. So, the siting requirements are not all that difficult.

                              I don't know how close I'd want them to my house, though. When I'm near the hives, I'd say once I get within 25-30ft or so, I definitely notice some scouts flying by to check me out, and the closer I get the more energy/focus on me they seem to have. I've never gotten stung, but you can sense some tension. But maybe the bees' "zone of comfort" might be bigger than usual because their hives are so far removed from the house/barnyard, so I'm more of a novelty.

                              If you are like us and your main interest is the honey and just wanting to do a good thing for bees in general, then renting space to someone else is totally the way to go. None of the work and all of the benefits!!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I encounter my bees on my deck, maybe 30-35 feet from the hives, and they pay me no mind. I often go down by the hives even when wearing (discouraged) dark clothes and (discouraged) aftershave, sometimes with no shirt, but they just ignore me. To be sure I always approach from the back.

                                I'm thinking of adding webcams a few feet away and microphones in the hives, though they'd likely propolize them.

                                I sometimes wonder if they don't somehow sense benign (bee-nign?!) intent. I don't think that a 'hive-mind/awareness' is ridiculous. Other longtime beekeepers have told me the bees seem to have a knack for sensing good intent, akin to the way our critters clearly do.

                                Had to manage a queen failure in one of the hives, which is a bit complicated for a neophyte beekeeper, but that seems to have gone okay.
                                "Things should be as simple as possible,
                                but no simpler." - Einstein

                                “So what’s with the years of lessons? You still can’t ride a damn horse?!”

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  We have bees on our farm and have had situations where the horses are grazing directly in front of the hives on a hot day when the bees are very active foraging. The horses were essentially surrounded in bees and the bees nor the horses seemed to mind. Most domestic bees are very docile and I've been known to open up my hives wearing a tank top and shorts and have never in my life been stung.

                                  If the guy just wants to throw a few hives on your property DO IT! If he wants to give you hives... this is unlikely as established hives are worth quite a bit and other beekeeper friends of his would love to have his hive if he were just giving it away and the likelihood that you in your newness to bees would make mistakes that lead to the death of his established colony is very high... but if that were the case, and you do want to start beekeeping, take a class through your local beekeeping club -- you should do this anyway, they're inexpensive and a really fun.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    I wound up not getting the bees (yet). They did find another home. I will eventually have bees, but there was simply not enough time at the moment for me to educate myself on it to the level that I am comfortable with. I like to be prepared going into things.

                                    Comment

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