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What business would you start with $50,000 to help save bees

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You can buy this entire website and resell. They’re going out of business.

This is interesting, but if they are going out of business I'm going to assume that they aren't getting enough traffic or sales. I could purchase this and piggy back some sort of donation to the bee cause.

But the price points are so low I'd have to do alot of volume.
 

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I'd build a business that had nothing to do with bees in a fast growth industry i.e technology like some type of web app.

And whatever profits that new business made would go towards helping beekeepers and the bees however I saw fit.
I don't have any interest in building another business just to make tons of money to help bees. The business itself should have some tie to bees because that's how you would get loyal employees and customers. For example, if I have an game app and the proceeds of the app get donated to whoever I want, it's not going to motivate employees and help with hiring.

But if I'm selling candles, and my company is called beecandles, and all profits go towards XXX, then it would be much easier to hire and market.

The XXX part is the part that I'm hoping this thread would uncover. I'm not interested in just donating money either. There needs to be active participation from the company.
 
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Thank you for all of your replies. I'll try to comment below all the posts.

1) I have no interest in selling honey or raising bees. I would rather help the people doing so.
2) I don't want to educate. It's not because I don't want to. But that is not my skill set and a business wouldn't be built around education. I think there are plenty out there who can do that better than me.
3) What I'm hearing in a couple replies is that bees have problems during the winter. So my natural reaction is, do they make heated bee hives?
4) Pesticides is another main issue. But at this point, I'm not sure what I would do to combat that, other than education, which is not my forte.
5) Planting more flowers and getting more people into beekeeping is an idea that I can pursue. Maybe doing so with cheaper hives, subsidizing hives, and also flower seeds.
 

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I don't have any interest in building another business just to make tons of money to help bees. The business itself should have some tie to bees because that's how you would get loyal employees and customers. For example, if I have an game app and the proceeds of the app get donated to whoever I want, it's not going to motivate employees and help with hiring.

But if I'm selling candles, and my company is called beecandles, and all profits go towards XXX, then it would be much easier to hire and market.

The XXX part is the part that I'm hoping this thread would uncover. I'm not interested in just donating money either. There needs to be active participation from the company.
In that case the best thing to do would be to engage / "immerse" into that whole culture and find out from them what problems they face, only then would you truly build something useful and meaningful for your target market.

All the best.
 

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Thank you for all of your replies. I'll try to comment below all the posts.

1) I have no interest in selling honey or raising bees. I would rather help the people doing so.
2) I don't want to educate. It's not because I don't want to. But that is not my skill set and a business wouldn't be built around education. I think there are plenty out there who can do that better than me.
3) What I'm hearing in a couple replies is that bees have problems during the winter. So my natural reaction is, do they make heated bee hives?
4) Pesticides is another main issue. But at this point, I'm not sure what I would do to combat that, other than education, which is not my forte.
5) Planting more flowers and getting more people into beekeeping is an idea that I can pursue. Maybe doing so with cheaper hives, subsidizing hives, and also flower seeds.
Sell green rooms - temperature controlled, weather controlled rooms for be harvesting. Repurpose those same rooms used to grow but sell them for bees. I bet local governments would gobble this up IF you push the storyline- the driving factor behind WHY you’re building the business...to save mankind, duhh! Lol
 

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There is a German company selling bee houses: Die faszinierende Welt der Wildbienen erleben | BeeHome by Pollinature

This is not directly related to beekeeping, but it helps the ecosystem as a whole. You buy the house and then when springtime approaches they send you a tube containing Mason bee cocoons that you insert into the bee house. You get to see on the inside of one level of the house and observe how the bees evolve and work. I really like this concept and bought two houses for family and friends.

Here's why I think it is a great product:
- It is small and made out of good material.
- It is affordable.
- Even people living in apartments can get one, as long as they have a balcony with flowers and trees not too far.
- It gives incentives to take a closer at all the insects in your surroundings, which 99% of people don't do.
- You get regular newsletter explaining how bees work, their ecosystem, the plants and flowers to have around, etc.
- Overall, it is a great educational tool, the customers put into practice themselves and pay more attention to how this small world is doing.

Again, this is not beekeeping, but I think they found a good compromise right in-between 'active beekeeping' and 'buy a bugs house and put it somewhere in your garden'.
 

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My five-minute google research tells me pesticides and climate change are the two biggest drivers of bee decline. With 50k, I can only meaningfully influence one of those; pesticides.

Given that the function pesticides provide is crucial in agriculture, the question becomes; what non-pesticide solution can provide the same function in a scalable manner?

This is not even remotely my area of expertise, but I think artificial intelligence is a possible component of a viable alternative. Say you have a 50-foot wide solar panel with wheels at each end and a long row of robotic scalpels, making it's way across a plot of crops. The panel's engine would be "trained" from an AI model that is capable of distinguishing weeds from everything else (probably a team of researchers bucketing images or outlines of various plants into weed / not-weed categories). When the model is reliable enough, the panel could roll over the crops and surgically uproot anything it categorizes as a weed based on shape detection. This would avoid spraying anything at all.

I have no idea what problems this solution entails, but I can theorize a few. One would obviously be false-positives; instances where the machine uproots a crop instead of a weed. No AI model could be 100% reliable in that setting, so that is a factor. Another is the extent to which the soil would be loosened and subject to erosion as a result of the weed removal. Then there's the power consumption and maintenance of the machine.

So yea, there's my half-baked, pre-second-coffee idea lol
 
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Ok, I've come up with an idea. I thinking that my company will use its profits to buy up land in the countryside. Then it will use the land to:

1) lease it to bee keepers for free or $1 or to cover taxes, etc...
2) transform the land into a bee sanctuary

The idea is to own a few thousand acres within 5-10 years all set aside for beekeeping or as a bee sanctuary.

Now I just need to speak to some beekeeping organizations to see if this would work.
 

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Ok, I've come up with an idea. I thinking that my company will use its profits to buy up land in the countryside. Then it will use the land to:

1) lease it to bee keepers for free or $1 or to cover taxes, etc...
2) transform the land into a bee sanctuary

The idea is to own a few thousand acres within 5-10 years all set aside for beekeeping or as a bee sanctuary.

Now I just need to speak to some beekeeping organizations to see if this would work.
If you buy close enough to a town, consider a community garden setup integrated with the bees.
The bees pollinate the garden, leading to better harvest.
The garden provides flowers/nectar for the bees, obviously = honey.
Local produce cuts down on shipping stuff across the country.
People in town have a place to garden, where they normally wouldn't.

Or pick-your-own orchards.

The thought in my head is: instead of just planting a massive clover field, make it a bigger/more useful community resource.

This is what I would do if I had the spare cash.
 

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Ok, I've come up with an idea. I thinking that my company will use its profits to buy up land in the countryside. Then it will use the land to:

1) lease it to bee keepers for free or $1 or to cover taxes, etc...
2) transform the land into a bee sanctuary

The idea is to own a few thousand acres within 5-10 years all set aside for beekeeping or as a bee sanctuary.

Now I just need to speak to some beekeeping organizations to see if this would work.

if you can buy forest space, that would be awesome!
And maybe sponsoring Starter kits for young people that want to start Beekeeping.
 

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@biophase I know you already thought of something, but what about a bee-safe 'pesticide'? Actually it wouldn't even be a pesticide, because it wouldn't even kill bees. So let's put it this way... the same way that mice are terrified of the scent of cat and refuse to go near it, maybe there's a way to do something like that for bees. Like some type of smell that bees hate, that would deter them from farmer's crops.

I know that the bee's natural predators are bears and hive beetles, so I wonder if there's like a chemical pheromone that Farmers could use on crops that would keeps bees away, but not kill them.

You could honestly do the research for probably $1000 and if it worked you could go further.
 

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If you buy close enough to a town, consider a community garden setup integrated with the bees.
The bees pollinate the garden, leading to better harvest.
The garden provides flowers/nectar for the bees, obviously = honey.
Local produce cuts down on shipping stuff across the country.
People in town have a place to garden, where they normally wouldn't.

Or pick-your-own orchards.

The thought in my head is: instead of just planting a massive clover field, make it a bigger/more useful community resource.

This is what I would do if I had the spare cash.
Land out in the boonies would be way cheaper than anything close to a town. I'm looking for acreage that people normally wouldn't want that is destined to remain undeveloped forever.
 

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Land out in the boonies would be way cheaper than anything close to a town. I'm looking for acreage that people normally wouldn't want that is destined to remain undeveloped forever.
Maybe I'm misunderstanding the end goal.

I thought the issue with bees dying is that they pollinate so much of our food source, that without the bees, everything up the food chain will suffer.

In that case, does sending the bees to a random field out in the middle of nowhere help? I guess I assumed we weren't keeping bees alive just to save bees, but to continue veggie/fruit pollination.
 
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Maybe I'm misunderstanding the end goal.

I thought the issue with bees dying is that they pollinate so much of our food source, that without the bees, everything up the food chain will suffer.

In that case, does sending the bees to a random field out in the middle of nowhere help? I guess I assumed we weren't keeping bees alive just to save bees, but to continue veggie/fruit pollination.
It would be to get their numbers up. I’ll let others use them to pollinate their food. For me, they could just fly around, pollinate flowers and reproduce.
 

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Ok, I've come up with an idea. I thinking that my company will use its profits to buy up land in the countryside. Then it will use the land to:

1) lease it to bee keepers for free or $1 or to cover taxes, etc...
2) transform the land into a bee sanctuary

The idea is to own a few thousand acres within 5-10 years all set aside for beekeeping or as a bee sanctuary.

Now I just need to speak to some beekeeping organizations to see if this would work.
I'd like to add, there's people that rent their goats to mow the lawn, no machines needed and everyone eats! :D hehe

Go Bio go Bio
 
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So I've joined a couple FB beekeeping groups and some bee forums. I've also emailed a bunch of bee organizations. So far, none of the organizations have replied. The forums are kind of dead. I've gotten some info from the FB groups. Most of them are active keepers. What I'm really looking for is how to spot good land for bees. I may have to attend some beekeeping meet ups.

I'm learning alot about bees, native vegetation, water requirements, zoning, etc... right now.

I'm mainly posting this information so that others hopefully can understand what building a business really looks like. You can't just wait around for ideas or solutions. You must actively pursue things. Get sh!t done.

Keep in mind this portion all has nothing to do with what I'm actually going to be selling. This is all the pre-work to determine if it's worth starting a business.
 

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Instead of just little prefab carpenter bee houses , sell the houses and the bees (maybe they can ship half frozen like ants?)

Carpenter bees are homies , they dont sting and they pollinate better than honeybees (no honey though)

Offer me an all inclusive pet carpenter bee experience and my money is yours.

So for 50k , you're going to start a carpenter bee farm.
 

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@biophase I know you already thought of something, but what about a bee-safe 'pesticide'? Actually it wouldn't even be a pesticide, because it wouldn't even kill bees. So let's put it this way... the same way that mice are terrified of the scent of cat and refuse to go near it, maybe there's a way to do something like that for bees. Like some type of smell that bees hate, that would deter them from farmer's crops.

I know that the bee's natural predators are bears and hive beetles, so I wonder if there's like a chemical pheromone that Farmers could use on crops that would keeps bees away, but not kill them.

You could honestly do the research for probably $1000 and if it worked you could go further.
But the farmers want the bees. Here in Yuma, they actually own the largest bee company. The bees are transported to the farms for pollination.
 

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I'm not following the logic of your idea for buying land for bees, since:
  • Beekeepers already get paid to put their hives on farms & orchards; having beekeepers pay to put hives somewhere doesn't make sense.
  • Transform the land into a bee sanctuary: Bees already have access to pollen & nectar; what they need is to build resistance to the things that kill them (primarily varroa mites).
  • Buying a few thousand acres for bees: The U.S. has ~2.4B acres, so, even 10k acres is only 0.0004% of the U.S. Even if you bought 100k or 1MM acres, you're only affecting 0.004% or 0.04% of the U.S. land area.
As for winter die-offs, they primary reason for winter die-offs is that the bees haven't produced enough honey--which often happens when a new colony branches off from the parent hive too late in the season for the new colony to produce sufficient honey.

So, the crux of the problem is to build resistance to the things that kill bees.

Anecdotal opinions of beekeepers are insufficient; hard experimental science is what'll reveal what works to keep colonies alive--like A/B testing to see which mite treatment actually boosts colony resistance to mites. Once you know that, you could:
  • sell or give away the treatment to the beekeeping community, and/or
  • breed & sell (or give away) resistant queens so that new colonies are resistant.
Since you have a limited budget, you could focus your efforts on, say, North Dakota, since it has the most honey-producing colonies of any state in the U.S.
 

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How about funding a tournament or bounty to drive for innovative solutions to the bee problem? It could be win a $10,000 scholarship for the best idea for finding solutions for x about bees. Offer up to 3 prizes judged by biophasefoundation.org all submissions must be presented....date each year. Publish out the ones that win. Implement the ones you really like.
 

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I'm putting together plans for an Aquaponic farm that integrates bees as the pollinators for tomatoes and other flowering plants. This would consist of a 2-4 acre greenhouse running around 30 aquaponic modules. As it would be a closed system with zero chemicals introduced it would qualify as 100% organic and the bee hives could be rented out to alfalfa, cotton and other farmers as pollinators.
 

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Ok, I've come up with an idea. I thinking that my company will use its profits to buy up land in the countryside. Then it will use the land to:

1) lease it to bee keepers for free or $1 or to cover taxes, etc...
2) transform the land into a bee sanctuary

The idea is to own a few thousand acres within 5-10 years all set aside for beekeeping or as a bee sanctuary.

Now I just need to speak to some beekeeping organizations to see if this would work.
Sounds like you may have the plan in place but figured I'd throw this out there... What if for every milestone (a certain dollar amount reached) in sales or profit you commit to donate a bee colony kit to a non profit or small farm, community gardens/farms, CSA, etc? This would work almost like the donations you do with your other business to get those farms and gardens to reach out to you to apply for the sponsorship and kit donations and I would assume like and share social content to help launch and grow?


"There are almost two million farms in the USA. About 80% of those are small farms, and a large percentage are family owned. More and more of these farmers are now selling their products directly to the public. They do this via CSA programs, Farmers' Markets, Food Coops, u-picks, farm stands, and other direct marketing channels."
 
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I'm not following the logic of your idea for buying land for bees, since:
  • Beekeepers already get paid to put their hives on farms & orchards; having beekeepers pay to put hives somewhere doesn't make sense.
  • Transform the land into a bee sanctuary: Bees already have access to pollen & nectar; what they need is to build resistance to the things that kill them (primarily varroa mites).
  • Buying a few thousand acres for bees: The U.S. has ~2.4B acres, so, even 10k acres is only 0.0004% of the U.S. Even if you bought 100k or 1MM acres, you're only affecting 0.004% or 0.04% of the U.S. land area.
As for winter die-offs, they primary reason for winter die-offs is that the bees haven't produced enough honey--which often happens when a new colony branches off from the parent hive too late in the season for the new colony to produce sufficient honey.

So, the crux of the problem is to build resistance to the things that kill bees.

Anecdotal opinions of beekeepers are insufficient; hard experimental science is what'll reveal what works to keep colonies alive--like A/B testing to see which mite treatment actually boosts colony resistance to mites. Once you know that, you could:
  • sell or give away the treatment to the beekeeping community, and/or
  • breed & sell (or give away) resistant queens so that new colonies are resistant.
Since you have a limited budget, you could focus your efforts on, say, North Dakota, since it has the most honey-producing colonies of any state in the U.S.
The purpose is to buy land and make it more livable for bees.

I'm not understanding your reasoning either:
  • Beekeepers already get paid to put their hives on farms & orchards; having beekeepers pay to put hives somewhere doesn't make sense.
The underlying reasoning for this is the assumption that there is a shortage of bees. So how would having more beekeepers and bees be a bad thing? I would just be providing more land dedicated to this.
  • Transform the land into a bee sanctuary: Bees already have access to pollen & nectar; what they need is to build resistance to the things that kill them (primarily varroa mites).
So you are saying that pollen and nectar are in abundance for bees everywhere so that more land dedicated to raising them would be useless?
  • Buying a few thousand acres for bees: The U.S. has ~2.4B acres, so, even 10k acres is only 0.0004% of the U.S. Even if you bought 100k or 1MM acres, you're only affecting 0.004% or 0.04% of the U.S. land area.
This is just a weird argument. I don't understand what those numbers have to do with anything? What percentage of the US is currently being used by bees?
  • As for winter die-offs, they primary reason for winter die-offs is that the bees haven't produced enough honey--which often happens when a new colony branches off from the parent hive too late in the season for the new colony to produce sufficient honey.
Ok, so the solution to this would be to help them produce more honey. So what factors determine how much honey they can produce?
 
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How about funding a tournament or bounty to drive for innovative solutions to the bee problem? It could be win a $10,000 scholarship for the best idea for finding solutions for x about bees. Offer up to 3 prizes judged by biophasefoundation.org all submissions must be presented....date each year. Publish out the ones that win. Implement the ones you really like.
This reminds me of the X-prize. It could work. :)
 
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What if for every milestone (a certain dollar amount reached) in sales or profit you commit to donate a bee colony kit to a non profit or small farm, community gardens/farms, CSA, etc?
Yes, this is something I've had in mind. But the question is, do they want kits like these. You can't just send a bee kit to someone that doesn't know anything about bees.
 

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Yes, this is something I've had in mind. But the question is, do they want kits like these. You can't just send a bee kit to someone that doesn't know anything about bees.
True, that's why they would have to apply for the kit on your website to be part of the donation program. Maybe partner with the kit maker to provide bee keeping class or skills to those small starter bee keepers.... Just thought it would grab the social aspect of it more if they had to apply and then like and share the page etc..
 

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OK, so if the underlying assumption is that there's a shortage of bees (which I agree with), then I'm saying it makes the most sense to address the root cause--which, from what I've read is primarily varroa mites (along with a couple specific parasites & viruses).

While I agree that making pollen & nectar more abundant would help colonies survive winters & reduce the probability of colony die-offs, the availability of pollen & nectar per se doesn't appear to be the root cause for colony collapse--the primary causes appear to be mites/parasites/viruses. So, even with abundant pollen & nectar, the primary causes haven't been addressed.

And I certainly agree that getting more flowers for bees is useful--I'm just not convinced that buying land to achieve that end is the optimal approach. For example, Lady Bird Johnson's Highway Beautification Act, intended to use native plants to create healthy landscapes.

So, if the goal is to increase the supply of pollen & nectar, then I might instead consider seed funding (no pun intended) roadside adoption clubs/organizations, where you provide native seeds & some training to get existing clubs/organizations to plant native wildflower seed along already-adopted sections of roads. If those events are covered in local press and other like-minded groups can get roped in, then it could have a snowball effect of getting other sections of road adopted & planted with native wildflowers.

If the goal is to increase the bee population, then maybe doing A/B testing to find effective treatments would be useful. Funding high-school, undergrad, and/or graduate students to carry out the experiments might be a good approach, especially if they get training on how to get matching funds (so you're not funding the entire thing).
 

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