Ask An Ambassador: Lessons From The Beeyard

Real Estate Agent with Transaction Alliance 513.520.5305 SAL.2002007747

We currently have 8 honeybee hives in our backyard apiary.  In addition to pollinating our flowers and any other blooms within about a 2 mile radius, our honeybees can provide us two outputs:  honey or stings.

We're not into our bees as a business, but we've been doing it long enough to learn some important lessons along the way about whether we're rewarded with honey or stings, and those lessons learned apply to both life in general and real estate.

1.  Never stop learning.  You start knowing next to nothing, and there's always more to learn.  I'm still not the greatest at picking out the queen bee in a hive full of activity, but I've gotten better.  Having a mentor has been key to us gaining expertise that helps our colonies thrive.

2.  Be prepared for surprises.  Bees don't always build comb the way we expect, and sometimes they decide to swarm.  You can bet when they do, it won't be at a time convenient to YOUR schedule.

3.  Invest in your tools.  The right tool for the right job.  Cheaper isn't always better.

4.  Complicated things are easier when you break them down into smaller parts.  Performing maintenance on 8 hives is a lot of work.  2 today, 2 tomorrow, 2 the next day, etc. avoids being overwhelmed and not doing anything at all.

5.  You're going to have to sweat to be successful.  90 degrees in a bee suit means getting saturated, but some work is on a schedule and waiting for a cooler day isn't an option.  Get to it!

6.  Some things should be outsourced.  From a carpentry standpoint, the wooden components of a hive aren't overly complex.   But is it best use of my time and money to buy the materials and tools to make them myself, or let someone that does it for a living do it?  Easy answer, outsource that task.

7.  The Queen Bee sets the attitude for the entire colony.  The queen tells her team to be mellow, or be aggressive.  I've worked with both types, and I'd rather work with mellow rather than aggressive any day.  The same applies to people.  Aggressive clients and aggressive co-op agents I CAN work with, but they're not my preference.

8.  A solid foundation is key to long term stability.  Literally in the case of our beehives.  They're placed on wood stands and if the legs of the stands start to sink into the ground, the entire colony is at risk of tipping over.  For real estate, having the attitude and financial base to allow you to make the right decisions in good times and bad is critical.

9.  Protect yourself.  Depending on the bee yard job and the risks involved, I'm lightly geared up, or in full suit and gloves.  For real estate, mitigate your risks, and eliminate risks entirely when you can.  There's not a commission check big enough to replace you.

10.  Keep a reserve to enable future growth.  When we harvest honey from our hives, we always leave plenty for the bees.  Making sure they have enough to get through the lean months (winter) is key to them surviving and growing the next season.  A one box hive can double the next year, and grow some more the next year, leading to us to be able to split the hive into two separate hives.

Until next Tuesday, just Ask An Ambassador if you need help,

Bill & Liz aka BLiz

photo of honeybee on coneflower, taken with Samsung Galaxy S10 in our front yard

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Serving Warren County Ohio & Adjacent Areas

The Liz Spear Team of Transaction Alliance
Elizabeth Spear, ABR, Ohio License SAL.2002007747

William (Bill) Spear, Ohio License SAL.2004011109  Kentucky 77938
Ask for us by name if you visit the office!

Bill Direct:  513-520-5305
Liz Direct: 513-265-3004     
Fax: 866-302-8418


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Comments (18)

Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Just when I think you've out done yourself - here you go again Bill!  Your bee analogy is your best yet!  Made me smile thinking of all your points and how 'sting' on they could be or not!  You are such a creative writer - keep em coming!


Featured in BananaTUDE


Aug 08, 2023 09:52 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

This one took a hard turn on how to explore the topic right after I started :)

Thanks for the group feature!

Aug 08, 2023 10:51 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Bill (and Liz too) - beekeeping may not be your primary source of business, the lessons learned from it are certainly applicable to the buzziness of your day (and evening) job.  And life too.  

Aug 08, 2023 10:19 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

There's a lot to observe.  Liz keeps a close eye on them from the house and often detects a swarm in progress so we can (hopefully) catch them and place them in a new hive.

Aug 08, 2023 10:52 AM
Trish Cole
Veterans United Home Loans of Puget Sound NMLS#1907 - Puyallup, WA

Nice analogies and lessons we can all apply.  Have a fantastic day!

Aug 08, 2023 10:36 AM
Liz and Bill Spear


Aug 08, 2023 10:53 AM
Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em:

10 excellent Bee points! Thanks for sharing and enjoy your week!

Bill Salvatore, Realtor- Arizona Elite Properties

Aug 08, 2023 11:21 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

You're welcome!

Aug 08, 2023 12:58 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Bill- well done and what a busy bee you've been!!!!  All of your points are keys to Best Bee "Beehavior " as well as how to run our own lives. 

Aug 08, 2023 06:16 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

There's something to be said about honey vs. vinegar approaches in life :)

Aug 08, 2023 06:38 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Bees have their own way wobbling through life, and yet they still do their thing that makes them special without hesitation. :

Aug 08, 2023 10:18 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

They have different roles in the hive and do them well.

Aug 09, 2023 05:05 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Excellent lessons learned (and shared) from bee behavior.  I just read a book called Farm City which had a section on her raising bees. Very interesting. Your lessons can be applied to so many parts of life - thanks for sharing!

Aug 09, 2023 04:51 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

It's a bit more complicated within the hive than I would have ever expected when we first started out. 
We harvested 4 gallons of honey last month, and when we put the "leftovers" on the frames outside for them to reclaim, it doesn't take long until there are 1000s of bees cleaning the frames.  Within a few hours the frames are back to just wax comb that we can use later to give a colony a stronger start.

Aug 09, 2023 05:07 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good  morning Bill,

I agree with Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Arizona ..just when I think you've outdone yourself you go again with another great set of lessons! The important lessons you've learned and passed on to us from your bee business are indeed important ones to understand. They apply to life and business. Thank you!

Aug 09, 2023 06:15 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Dorie, I keep trying to provide something useful each week :)

Aug 09, 2023 07:54 AM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

I so resonate with this post as I am learning the art of beekeeping. These are wonderful lessons we can learn from our beautiful bee friends.

Aug 09, 2023 06:54 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Texas in a bee suit will make Ohio in a bee suit seem like a picnic!

Aug 09, 2023 07:54 AM
Peter Mohylsky, Beach Expert
PMI. Destin - Miramar Beach, FL
Call me at 850-517-7098

BEE careful.  I am sure life stings ocasionally.  But HONEY, it is worth it.  

Aug 09, 2023 09:34 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

I got my share of stings the other day, even with my gear on.  Bad day for one hive and they were irritable and since I was the cause as far as they were concerned, the queen sent out the "sic 'em" message.  Fortunately the sting of the sting doesn't last too long :)

Aug 09, 2023 09:37 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Hi Bill,
What an excellent article. When I picked a favorite point, you made more! They are all very valid. Nature can teach us a lot about life and business if we pay attention.

Aug 09, 2023 10:01 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Paying attention can give us a lot.  I never know what I'll spot just walking around our yard, so I keep my cell phone camera handy :)

Aug 09, 2023 10:07 AM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

It must be very cool to have your own bee hives.  I really enjoyed reading about how many of the lessons learned with them can apply to other aspects of life.

Aug 10, 2023 11:53 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

They're definitely interesting to watch!

Aug 10, 2023 12:47 PM
Kathy Schowe
California Lifestyle Realty - La Quinta, CA
La Quinta, California 760-333-8886

I am fascinated by bees- and commend you for your apiaries!  Wow!  Thank you for sharing your analogies -- they are spot on!  Great post!  Kathy

Aug 11, 2023 10:13 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

They definitely add some variety to our lives :)

Aug 11, 2023 10:29 AM
Janice Zaltman
United Realty Group - Boca Raton, FL
Energy Efficient And Eco-Friendly Homes in Florida

Bill, Your photos definitely are creating a buzz. Something to aspire to as I love photography also as part of real estate and are bonding with are natural environment.

Aug 11, 2023 06:52 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Janice, one of my favorite things is just walking around our yard and seeing what I find. 

Aug 13, 2023 04:13 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

LOVE this post!  Your analogy is spot on.  You have so many great ones, but the one that really hit home is, "There's not a commission check big enough to replace you."  There are so many times we extend ourselves, but it's always best to think things through and make smart choices. 


BTW, I'll be in Cincinnati for one day speaking to the Ohio Association at the Duke Energy Center at 1:30 - 2:30 with Jan Jedlinski moderating our 2 person sustainability panel.  Christopher Matos Rogers is coming from Atlanta.  So happy to share! Leaving that night for the Sustainability Summit in Austin that night or I'd say meet me for HH! 

Aug 12, 2023 04:24 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Just a bit down the highway (about 30 miles) from our home.  Hope the event goes fantastic!

Aug 13, 2023 04:14 PM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

My uncle had bee hives when he was a teenager. I wish I had my own hives.  I really enjoyed this post!

Aug 13, 2023 04:45 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

My grandfather had hives (over 40 at peak) and used to sell honey to the locals and tourists in Cass, WV.

Aug 13, 2023 04:15 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Bill:

The lessons learned here are spot on for our business, and life in general. Bet you never thought the bees would teach you so much.


Aug 13, 2023 04:02 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Kickin' & screamin', just like everything else :)

Aug 13, 2023 04:15 PM
Eileen Burns 954.483.3912
Trans State Commercial RE Ft. Lauderdale/Miami/Palm Beach - Fort Lauderdale, FL
FLorida Real Estate Connector

Can the beehives be moved to your future home Blitz?  Did you begin with 2 and they multiplied yearly?  Do you donate the honey you harvest? 

As a young girl I pulled the weeds in the front yard without realizing there was a beehive behind those tall weeds.  I could run very fast but not as fast as those bees followed me blocks away.  I was yelling and screaming and hurting with the stings.

Loved your analogy for today's post as well.  Happy Tuesday and thanks Carol Williams for second chance posting😎

Aug 15, 2023 06:58 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

We do plan to move them with us.  We've got a spot reserved on our site plan to set them up.  We started with just one hive years ago, and over time we've captured swarms, split our existing hives, etc.  Some splits work, some don't.  At one point this year we were up to 11 hives, we've had to consolidate some into others so now we're at 8.

And yes, bees are very quick, I don't think we can outrun them.  I had a recent event where a hive was mad, and even with the gear I was wearing, still got stung about 7 times.  A bit uncomfortable for a bit, and had to go back out later that day with a thicker bee suit so I could finish the work.  The canvas jacket is no longer in use after that day.

Aug 15, 2023 12:01 PM