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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kiel WI, USA
    Posts
    2,373

    Post

    >>skid loader is one of the few things versatile enough to justify planning a farm around. I'm not sure how well that will transfer to a bee operation though.

    <<are you kidding?? >>

    I'll clarify, I know how valuable a skid loader can be on a dairy farm. I've never worked more than 6 hives though, so I'm not sure if it's worth the cost in beekeeping.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    McMinnville, TN, USA
    Posts
    716

    Post

    Any business growing to fast is a problem. I feel 30 hives will be enough to make buying an extractor worth while. I have been selling a few nucs to get money to put back into the business. This fall I should have 30 to 50 hives. I am also planning on selling a few more nucs to buy more equipment. Paying cash for everything is a great start for a business as interest on debts eat into proffits in a hurry. Try making contacts with local home builders. I make most of my equipment from the left overs left behind by the builders. Plywood is getting hard to get as everyone around here has went to Advantech and OSB boards.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    North Georgia mountains
    Posts
    923

    Post

    <<I don't think it's regional at all. Pick any region, from desert to mountains to swamp to near-tundra, and you can probably find someone keeping bees there profitably. Then look at what would be considered an "ideal" area, and you can probably find someone going bankrupt in a hurry there, too. I think it mostly boils down to the person running the show.>>

    Absolutely.

    The difference between profit and loss, outside of the weather, is deciding if you want to make money and run a business, or would rather be a hobbiest that makes a little money. A business minded person standardizes, uses tried and true methods, leaves the "newest thing" up to the research labs and expirimenters until it becomes proven practice (small cell comes to mind). A hobbiest minded person might have 5 hives being managed under 4 different methods "just to see what happens". That is garunteed failure if you want to make money.

    As for the cost involved in start-up, it CAN be prohibitave, but it doesn't have to be. I have NEVER bought a piece of new equipment outside of the minor things like veils, smokers, etc. There is ALWAYS someone around wanting to get out of the beekeeping business, and it is usually for pennies on the dollar. Last week I bought out a 20 year sideliner. He hurt his back, had back surgery, and can no longer handle the weight of harvesting, moving equipment, etc. I picked up 50 co;onies, 50 empty deeps. 300 shallow supers w/foundation and drawn comb, 150 mediums in the same shape, 3 20 frame radial extractors, 3 55 gal bottling tanks, an electric uncapper, three trailers that hold 20 hives each that are made to haul hives and set them up 20 at the time without removing them from the trailer, and all the accumulated stuff he had collected over 20 years...besides the hives 3 U-Haul 24 foot trucks worth of stuff...all for less than 10,000. After sorting the stuff, and culling the junk, I inventoried it and went through the Dadant catalog pricing everything and it came to over 40,000 dollars plus the cost of bees. If each hive makes 100 lbs of honey (would be a bad year if that happens) that is 400 dollars per hive, per year (I can sell every drop at 4 a pound). 400 per hive over 50 hives is 20,000.

    Keep your eyes open and this can be done without losing your rear for 2-3 years first.

    BubbaBob

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Central IL
    Posts
    261

    Post

    Is there anything special you do to find people going out like that? There is one guy close who's going out and I've been playing phone tag with him for 2 months now. No matter when I call he's not home and he always calls while I'm in classes. Pretty much everything I was interested in is gone now, I think. I'm afraid this might have been my chance... I would definetly go big without looking back if I could avoid buying everything new.
    Central IL... where there are more hogs than people and more soybeans than hogs and people put together.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kiel WI, USA
    Posts
    2,373

    Post

    <<Is there anything special you do to find people going out like that?>>

    Spread the word, and keep your ears open. The more people that know you're looking, the better. Let the auctioneers in your area know, and find time to go to ALL the bee meetings in your area. The one you miss, somebody'll stand up and say "I'm out! Who wants it all?"

    <<I'm afraid this might have been my chance... I would definetly go big without looking back if I could avoid buying everything new. >>

    No, it wasn't your chance. It was A chance. There will be MANY more. We are a small group, and unfortunately the number of people getting out always seems higher than those getting in. Especially operations that cost more than $1000 to buy out.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    North Georgia mountains
    Posts
    923

    Post

    east, the guy I bought out ran a classified in the Georgia Extension Service's Market Bulletin, a weekly agriculture oriented newspaper. Your state extension office may have a similar publication.

    When I first started keeping bees I was going to start with 2-3 hives, mainly due to expense and assuming I'd have to buy all new stuff. As it turned out, because I stumbled across a guy wanting out, I started with 6 colonies plus 6 extra deeps, 40 mediums, 3 cases of extra medium foundation, a NEW 9 frame hand crank Dadant extractor, a 25 gallon bottling tank, 2 hive tools, 2 smokers, 2 hot knives, 2 string tied veils, and 10 cases of Ball quarts...for 800 bucks. Deals are out there...keep looking.

    BubbaBob

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    claremont,n.h.
    Posts
    48

    Post

    Bubbabob you hear of another deal like yours let me know asap............

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Central IL
    Posts
    261

    Post

    I finally got ahold of the guy who's been standing me up for 2 months... told me tonight that he just cleaned a guy out at $2 per deep super. I want to cry now. I don't know what the hell I have to do to "get in the loop" here, but I'm obviously not in it. Also, all the stuff he had for sale that I wanted is now gone, all he has left is a 30 year old chain uncapper that he wants like $200 for. Some people never get the breaks.
    Central IL... where there are more hogs than people and more soybeans than hogs and people put together.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    North Hills, CA USA
    Posts
    454

    Post

    east_stingray, where are you located? You did not indicate in your profile.
    Walt

  10. #30

    Post

    How old are you stingray? If you are going to be going to medical school and residency, then you have no business getting into commercial beekeeping. Sounds like you need to learn more about medicine and beekeeping! Maybe after paying off your student loans you could spend enough time to do this. By then, profit and expense will not make a difference to you if you are like most physicians.

    Maybe I know some students, some doctors as I work at a hospital as a nurse....nursebee

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    North Georgia mountains
    Posts
    923

    Post

    << If you are going to be going to medical school and residency, then you have no business getting into commercial beekeeping.>>

    I personally don't think any of us have any business telling someone else what they should or should not do. In AA we call that taking someone else's inventory, and we'd rather keep our own side of the street clean than worry about someone else's section of street.

    BubbaBob

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    3,401

    Post

    Had I started out at 18 as a beekeeper, rather
    than going to college, I would have avoided
    over a quarter century of the whole "rat race",
    and would have spent my entire adult life as
    happy as I am now.

    There's nothing wrong with modern life, but there's
    very little "right" with it.

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Devils Lake, North Dakota
    Posts
    9,183

    Post

    Go for it Stingray.......

    I second your sentiment Jim!! I moved here out in the boones in 1999. No neighbors for a mile, and a driveway a mile long.

    When I return for visits to St. Cloud, Mn or to Mpls to visit my dad, I can hardly take it. People racing up on your ars...... a mad dog look in their eyes..... traffic...... Houses 15 feet apart! I'm staying out of that rat race til' I pass.

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Central IL
    Posts
    261

    Post

    Well guys, I went to look at that chain uncapper even though I was pretty sure I didn't want it. I didn't end up getting it, but I did take a nice stainless steel uncapping sink off of his hands for $80. It's about 8 feet long and will hold about 4 supers worth of frames... in real good condition. This guy had a mint honey house and it was worth the trip to talk to him. He ended up giving me 24 deep supers and 5 shallows for free. The deeps are in pretty bad condition, but usable. The shallows are like new, but the frame rest isn't as deep as it's supposed to be... not sure what the story there is, but he said he didn't have time to router it down more. He also gave me a whole bundle of side pieces already dadoed to make bottom boards. All I have to do is cut a back and put the plywood in. On top of that, he is making a trip to dadant this month and said he'd have some extra room and would pick up the frames I'll need and foundation and anything else so that I won't pay shipping. Maybe all that bitching I did paid off [img]smile.gif[/img] . Oh, and I want to have more bees because I love bees. It doesn't really have anything to do with me going to med school. Med school is more about how I love to do expensive things like keeping bees. Thanks for the support BubbaBob.
    Central IL... where there are more hogs than people and more soybeans than hogs and people put together.

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    North Georgia mountains
    Posts
    923

    Post

    East///great! Keep looking around and more stuff will show up at good prices.

    The only thing you said that I would do different than you say you are going to is about the bottom boards...you have side rails and need to add bottoms. If it were me, I'd add a piece of 1x4 front and back and have the rest screened. A several year long study over a couple thousand hives, by the entomology dept at the University of Georgia's (Drs Keith Delaplane and Jamie Ellis there are great) bee studies lab shows that with no other action/treatment, screened bottom boards reduce SHB infestation 17%. With the materials you have you are in the position to start with them rather than having to change over existing hives.

    BubbaBob

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Central IL
    Posts
    261

    Post

    BubbaBob... you're exactly right and I probably would have done that anyway, I was just excited and typing fast. You mean to put the 1X4 flat so that you have something to attach the screen to, right? I have to think about how I'm going to do it, but I've already got a roll of screen out there and plywood is stinking expensive here! I think with the help of my friend BONDO I can fix some of the holes and cracks in those boxes. Anyone else here ever use that stuff for wood? It works great, but it's made for bodywork on cars. Just wondering.
    Central IL... where there are more hogs than people and more soybeans than hogs and people put together.

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
    Posts
    2,271

    Post

    Hey you're in the loop now!Over the years ,once in a while someone would call and say something like"Hey I have all this old beekeeping stuff that is taking up space in my garage .It belonged to Uncle Harry who passed away..Will you come getit?"So if everyone knows you are the local bee guy these deals will fall into your lap occasionally.We had a doctor give us a truckload of boxes and frames a few years back.He just didnt have time to keep bees of course.Although recently I heard he was in trouble for alledgedly trading narcotics for oral.....oh never mind.Guess he should have stayed with beekeeping.

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    North Georgia mountains
    Posts
    923

    Post

    east...yep...put a 1x4 flat across the front and back, put a back rail on, screen the bottom and hold the screen edges with 1/4 x 1 or 1/4 x 2 lathe like lattice screens are made of...voila...inexpensive screeded bottom boards. Soak in copper napthanate and let dry before painting and if you put them together well they'll last 15-20 years.

    BubbaBob

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    waco, tx
    Posts
    528

    Post

    east_stingray I sent you a private message

    Lew

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kiel WI, USA
    Posts
    2,373

    Post

    <<I did take a nice stainless steel uncapping sink off of his hands for $80.>>

    Now you're making ME wanna cry Good thing I'm going to look at what might be a gold mine this weekend, or I might let my spirits get dragged down.

    << If you are going to be going to medical school and residency, then you have no business getting into commercial beekeeping.>>

    <<I personally don't think any of us have any business telling someone else what they should or should not do.>>

    It makes me happy to be on a forum where someone will chime in with that in under an hour.

    I knew I didn't want in on the rat race at 18. But dairying was the only thing I had enough knowledge of to even consider, and it's pretty difficult to start off with one cow on a friend's land

    Bees are much more versatile, and I have yet to see someone whose life CAN'T accomodate commercial beekeeping on some scale.

    I just wish someone had drilled that through my thick skull 11 years ago.

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