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