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

steelandchrome

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TheSweetBeeCo.com - website listed on Flippa Looks like this site is doing something very similar... Claims $7500 in profit a month and asking just $30k but I can't imagine that profit is real...
 

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Kenric, you probably know this already, but Ezra Firestone's BeeFriendly Skincare company supposedly helps bees indirectly by using Hawaiian beekeepers (however there's VERY little info on this and I suspect its a big stretch like ordering one ingredient from them. They manufacture in NY). They mostly sell on Amazon and do 1mm+ in sales.

With your experience you could launch something like this easily, doesn't have to be the same products or even skin care, just some consumables using bee byproducts. You could differentiate by being 100x more transparent in how your products help bees/beekeepers.
 

Osmotic

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I would start a non-profit, get celebrity endorsements, PR, throw the money at ads and then run off donations.
 
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biophase

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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 the goal is to increase the bee population, then maybe doing A/B testing to find effective treatments would be useful.
The goal is to ultimately increase the bee population. But wouldn't increasing the supply of pollen and nectar do that?

What if I purchase land and then seed it with native plants and flowers, wouldn't that help?
 
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biophase

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doesn't appear to be the root cause for colony collapse--the primary causes appear to be mites/parasites/viruses.

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).
I don't want to be researching colony collapse, or new chemicals, etc... I highly doubt that an influx of $50k will put dent into new research on these topics.

My goal is not to take $50,000 and fund research or studies. It is to use it to start something that will sustain itself for decades.
 
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Kenric, you probably know this already, but Ezra Firestone's BeeFriendly Skincare company supposedly helps bees indirectly by using Hawaiian beekeepers (however there's VERY little info on this and I suspect its a big stretch like ordering one ingredient from them. They manufacture in NY). They mostly sell on Amazon and do 1mm+ in sales.

With your experience you could launch something like this easily, doesn't have to be the same products or even skin care, just some consumables using bee byproducts. You could differentiate by being 100x more transparent in how your products help bees/beekeepers.
Yes this is an interesting route. I mean selling skincare itself is not appealing. But selling skincare using sourced beeswax AND using the profits to create bee friendly environments does sound appealing.

It would be interesting to do $1M in sales and donate $250k of it. My main issue now is what do I do with the $250k that isn't just throwing it away to some unknown charity. That's why I want to control how the funds are used.
 
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biophase

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I would start a non-profit, get celebrity endorsements, PR, throw the money at ads and then run off donations.
No way I would do a non-profit this way. So your model is to ask for donations so you can spend the money to ask for more donations? How does this help the bees?
 

Bertram

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The goal is to ultimately increase the bee population. But wouldn't increasing the supply of pollen and nectar do that?

What if I purchase land and then seed it with native plants and flowers, wouldn't that help?
On what do you base your assumption that food shortage is a primary cause of population decline?
 
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biophase

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On what do you base your assumption that food shortage is a primary cause of population decline?
I don't think that the population decline is due to food shortage. That part is something that I think is out of my expertise to solve. So my assumption is that we can boost the population by making food more abundant and creating more area for them to grow, which can help stave off the population decline until a solution is found.
 

Bertram

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I don't think that the population decline is due to food shortage. That part is something that I think is out of my expertise to solve. So my assumption is that we can boost the population by making food more abundant and creating more area for them to grow, which can help stave off the population decline until a solution is found.
Then do you think the decline in population corresponds with declining forage acreage? There are so many directions to take to protect bee populations.
 

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steelandchrome

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The good thing is whatever you do it with the money doesnt have to be THE solution, it just has to be A solution. As long as you can sell why your solution is a positive impact then it fulfills the buyers emotional connection to the product and brand and mission statement. Most people who want to support something like this I would assume have no clue what THE solution is either and would make the purchase to support as long as it makes them feel good and that they did their part.
 

Bertram

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The good thing is whatever you do it with the money doesnt have to be THE solution, it just has to be A solution. As long as you can sell why your solution is a positive impact then it fulfills the buyers emotional connection to the product and brand and mission statement. Most people who want to support something like this I would assume have no clue what THE solution is either and would make the purchase to support as long as it makes them feel good and that they did their part.
Good point here. There's a vast difference between selling the feeling of having solved an environmental problem and actually providing a real solution.
Does anyone remember when Jurassic Park was first produced?
Absolutely brilliant McDonald's ad campaign plastered TV and billboards with the slogan, "Save the Dinosaurs" without one single direct reference to the movies. They actually harnessed environmental conservation passions with a trite, hapless, imaginary concern for saving an EXTINCT animal. I think I fell even more deeply in love with business when I saw this.
The sentiment to want to make a difference to protect and enrich the natural world is a vital human experence. I would dare say it is a biological imperative. So it can be manipulated to extreme. It all depends on what you want to give people. A pleasant fantasy or a true purpose? Both products have high value.
 
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Madame Peccato

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I know this exists (especially the b-box): products - Beeing

A nice idea to get some bees for yourself even if you don't know how to manage them. Now, would this contribute to save them? I don't know, but it's a step in the right direction.

Selling their honey would make for an ok side hustle too...you have local and biological honey (biological is a strong word in consumers' minds) PLUS you are saving the bees (consumers love a good story or to spend money for a good cause). How much you can earn from this depends on how much honey gets produced every week / month (plus food regulations are...ferocious to say the least).

Since pollen is what determines how long the bees will live, a combination of these + lots of flowers in a decently sized garden will definitely do the trick, if you manage to set everything up properly (gotta spend at least part of the 50k right?).

If this has the potential to repay itself then you can either keep expanding the business (which leads to having more bees all around) or invest your profits into something that accelerates the rate at which you save bees (such as some of the ideas in this thread).

The biggest question that comes to my mind is: wouldn't traditional beekeeping be better? My guess is yes, although it has other challenges (such as knowing how to be a beekeeper)
 
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biophase

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Then do you think the decline in population corresponds with declining forage acreage? There are so many directions to take to protect bee populations.
I don't know. But I assume that providing them more acreage and more flowering plants would increase their populations. Just as I assume that a person keeping a hive in their backyard increases the bee population vs. that person not doing it.
 

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read this whole thread cause i got curious.

Maybe you can invent a product that helps professional beekeepers detect at risk beehives faster?

like if temperature is a big factor concerning beehive death, maybe you can stick some kind of wireless thermometer in there that collects valuable temperature data and any other important information like water/sugar levels or something.

How high tech are typical bee farmers anyway? maybe they're doing things in an antiquated way?
 

Bertram

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read this whole thread cause i got curious.

Maybe you can invent a product that helps professional beekeepers detect at risk beehives faster?

like if temperature is a big factor concerning beehive death, maybe you can stick some kind of wireless thermometer in there that collects valuable temperature data and any other important information like water/sugar levels or something.

How high tech are typical bee farmers anyway? maybe they're doing things in an antiquated way?
They range from pastoral to massively high tech.
A real problem is drought.
I'm not sure there are any other beekeepers here.
 

Suzanne Bazemore

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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'.
My parents have one of these houses! I don't know if it's from the same company, because it looks a little different, but yeah, it provides a house for the pollinator without having to deal with harvesting honey.
 

Suzanne Bazemore

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$50k won't buy that many hives. It costs ~$200/hive, so $50k would only buy 250 hives. There are ~2.75 million hives in the U.S. (Beekeeping in the United States - Wikipedia). Interestingly, North Dakota has the most honey-producing colonies (485k).
@biophase doesn't have to buy the hives, he can sell them, and market them as Backyard Beehives, and maybe, if I'm interpreting correctly what @Danny Sullivan says is already happening in Europe, Americans could start raising their own pollinators just as they raise their own little crops with backyard gardening.

People in Europe start keeping honey bees on their roofs, gardens or balconies which will fly distance of up to 10 kilometers for just any type of blossoms for nectar and pollens.
@Danny, do people in Europe already keep honey bee houses, then? Americans need to start doing that.

1) I have no interest in selling honey or raising bees. I would rather help the people doing so.
#BeeBeds
 
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Have you looked up any CCD citations on Google Scholar and contacted 50-100 of the big investigators to ask them about the biggest challenges/needs in this space?

I prefer to start with the people closest to the problem (the users and the impassioned) and then work my way backwards.
 

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Just a random thought, but I have a friend who was a hobby beekeeper for a while... he lost a couple colonies during harsh winters due to freezing.

Maybe develop a cheap/reliable system to prevent hives from freezing to death in colder climates (thermal blankets, solar, etc.)?
 

Bertram

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My parents have one of these houses! I don't know if it's from the same company, because it looks a little different, but yeah, it provides a house for the pollinator without having to deal with harvesting honey.
Does it work?
 

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Apples are critical for the pollination of apples. You could investigate some kind of product made of apples.

I also like the idea of creating planters e.g.

And donating to elderly homes. You could bundle that with flowers as well.

Rationale behind this is that the bees are struggling as less people are creating garden space with flowers. Especially in Europe, a lot of people are placing tiles / fake grass in their garden instead of flowers.
 
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Bekit

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Ran across this press release while researching something else.

How short-sighted are we? If you were going to cut funding from anything on the planet, it should not be research into why honeybees are dying.

But that's exactly what the USDA did in suspending data collection for their Honey Bee Colonies survey this past July.

Side note: Might be worth looking up data from this Colony Loss Survey, conducted by the USDA since 2015, as part of your research into what kind of business would .

Also, this looks like a promising resource, if you haven't run across it already:
 

Bigguns50

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Off the cuff here.

Bees in a Box ? Included: Seeds of flowers that attract bees (A mix you simply put over loose dirt. Has fertilizer mixed in. Just water.) Bee House. Just hang and they will move in.

My Daughter's Elementary school had an amazing garden that taught students so much. Get sponsors ? Donations ? Give them a bee garden.
 

Bertram

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Off the cuff here.

Bees in a Box ? Included: Seeds of flowers that attract bees (A mix you simply put over loose dirt. Has fertilizer mixed in. Just water.) Bee House. Just hang and they will move in.

My Daughter's Elementary school had an amazing garden that taught students so much. Get sponsors ? Donations ? Give them a bee garden.
Manmade bee houses are "deadly to bees" according to bee researches and bee keepers.
 

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