Raising bees might seem like an allusive dream to some people or even impossible for others.
- The size of their land may not be able to withstand the growth.
- They aren't in the right zone for it
- The neighbors might complain
- They have kids and are worried they'll be stung
- or perhaps something else
I'm going to let you in on a little (maybe not so little) secret….
You can start raising your own colony of bees on someone else's land.
My husband and I had a discussion with a woman at the farmers market one day about this. She told us how most of her colonies aren't just on her land, but the land of other farmers! They had over 250 beehives and nearly all of them were on someone else's land.
This was the craziest idea to us. We had been trying to find some way to raise bees on our land at home, but my husband's parents weren't fond of the idea. We kept looking without luck. At least until we found this woman selling honey.
We found our way and we want to share with you.
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How to Raise Bees Without Your Own Land
When you're wanting to get started on your beehive journey, don't fret about needing your own land. You can reach out to farmers in your area and ask them if you'd be able to put your beehives on their property. It's not uncommon for farmers to jump at the prospect of having bees on their land.
Bees are pollinators after all. And, when bees are near crops they grow so much better so you're doing a service to the farmer while he's doing you a service of providing space for your bees.
How To Get Started Raising Bees On A Farmers Land
1 Research local farmers
The first step to raising bees on someone else's land is finding the “someone's” with land. You should be able to Google farms in your areas. A better way would probably be going to a co-op and talking to them about which farms in the area might be best to contact. They should have some knowledge of the different farms in the area.
2 Contact them and inquire about putting hives on their land
Once you know who you're contacting and have some contact information start reaching out to the farmers and introduce yourself. Tell them what you're hoping to do and explain how you hope to form a mutual relationship. Offer them some incentive (some amount honey as a bargaining tool is usually good).
3 Draw up an agreement
If you've been lucky enough in your talks and research, you should be able to start putting together an agreement for you and the farmer to go over. I prefer written agreements vs verbal for those “just in case” moments. Not to mention if you ever had to prove that they were, indeed, your hives.
Not that it might ever happen, but it's good to be prepared.
4 Invest in your hives
Do your research and figure out which type of bees you're wanting to raise. There are different types of honey bees and it's best to know which ones are out there. There are aggressive bees and some passive bees.
Once you've figured out which bees you'd like to raise it's time to buy your hives and your bees.
5 Setup and get started
Beehive and bee arrival! Time to get your bees into their hives.
Be sure to read the instructions you received from the hive and bees and take care when handling bees. Make sure you're in the proper garb so you don't get stung. We all know bee stings aren't pleasant.
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Where to Go From Here?
Once your bees are thriving and you're collecting your honey you can start making plans for expansion. Make contacts for selling your honey so that you always have a place to sell. This will help to keep you in business for a long time to come.
Everyone likes honey, so be sure to spread the word through friends and family too!
I've been told the best places to sell honey are farmers markets, co-ops and small mom and pop shops. We have a hardware store in our small town that carries local honey. It's some of the best I've ever tasted (and I'm a picky honey eater)!
Once you're ready you can get your own land!
After you've been in business a while you might start thinking about getting your own land to keep your bees and hives on. It makes collecting the honey easier, of course, as opposed to driving to different farms (depending on how many you have hives at) to collect your honey.
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