Would appreciate any comments on truck and trailer capacities. I see that Allen Dick used 1 ton trucks with 16' trailers. I've heard that some migratory beekeepers use semi's.
Would appreciate feedback on how many hives and supers you can transport on different size trucks.
Can you see Allen's pictures? Are they palletized? If so, assume 4 hives the width of the trailer for the entire length.
I think the guy I work with can haul about 80 hives (20 pallets) on his F550, trailer used for the skidsteer). Less on the F450, less again on the old F350. So it depends upon flatbed length, towing ability of the truck, what you use the trailer for.
Have you asked this or a similar question on Bee-L? Perhaps checked the archives?
My 1995 Chevy S 10 can haul 6-8 hives comfortably !
I can get 60 doubles on my F-350 which has a 12' flatbed. We get six rows that are five wide and can put on two layers. Obviously, we are not pallettized. This can put us 2000# overweight if the hives are heavy. A semi can hold around 480, again depending on weight.
Weight is everything. Some exemptions exist for beekeepers working within a local area(farming exemptions), but outside that area commercial weight rules apply.
Commercial beekeepers, out west, most often use 1 ton trucks for their runabouts. They are often grossly overloaded.
The state used to set up weight 'traps' using portable scales set up randomly on the back roads. They would see us coming and with one look realize that we were overloaded. An officer would stand out in the road and with one of those cone flashlights direct us to pull over.
As we got closer, that big grin on their faces would change to terror and they would rapidly wave us back into traffic and on our way. It must have been all that buzzing! :> ))
That buzzing also works for arrogant traffic control personnel who insist that you must stop at the head of a line of traffic delayed by construction rather than pull of the road awaybehind the traffic. But that's another story.
Long distance hauls are usually farmed out to truckers who have the nets and are setup to haul bees. Depending upon the rig and the hives height and weight, anywhere from 402 to 480 hives can be hauled. The trucks can carry about 50,000lbs worth.
Lots of options exist for smaller sideline beekeepers. A flatbed is a must. I've seen toy trucks setup that way and used for queen rearing and checking pollination hives. They were so light two men could pick up the back end of them if they got high centered.
Some states require beekeepers to used covered trucks. Be sure to check the regulations for your area.
Some weighty thoughs and a little buzzing.
I have a 1992 GMC 3500 HD with a 12 foot flatbed that I use to haul 64 hives on pallets (story & a half, deep + 6 5/8" super) plus pulling a 642B Bobcat. I think sometimes (in the Spring) maybe I could go another row higher (96 hives) but don't really want to overload my truck. My experience has been that a semi can carry 408 double deeps or up to 544 1 & 1/2 hives (depending on weight of hives and load restrictions in certain states, I only send 480 into CA).
>My experience has been that a semi can carry 408 double deeps or up to 544 1 & 1/2 hives (depending on weight of hives and load restrictions in certain states, I only send 480 into CA).
Is that for the Almond harvest? Do you typically use 1 & 1/2 hives for pollenation?
Yes, that is for wintering in CA and almond pollination.
All of your input has been great. Basically, looks like the breakeven for hauling out to CA for almonds is around 500 hives - probably not economical for anything less than a semi-load.
Sorry for all the questions but my apiary is on the farm so I do everything from a tractor pulled wagon right now. Planning to open up several out apiaries over the next few years (depending on my splitting and queen rearing success). I need a highway capable trailer for the farm and thought a good multipurpose hive, livestock, and feed hauling trailer with electric brakes might be a good way to go. Something with a low enough deck to lay a ramp down for the hand truck.
Putting a flatbed on the truck sounds like an alternative step but quite a bit higher to lift or a pretty long ramp for a hand truck.
Any thoughts or experience using trailers instead? I guess one drawback would be trying to get trailers in and out of yards in anything but dry weather.
At this point I'm not ready to spring for a front loader so pulling one isn't an issue. At some point there is probably the optimum number of hives (or my age) when switching over to pallets and a loader makes more sense. Opinions on size of operation when that makes good financial sense would be appreciated.
*enjoying all the feedback on how good last years honey crop tasted and wishing I wasn't on the Atkins diet.
I am in the process of building a flatbed trailer with a movable boom and an ATV wench with remote control. That could be an alternate way to go until you have the resources to go big.
Or forget the trailer and use it with your truck.
You have livestock and do not have an inloader on your tractor? Once you have one you will never want to live without it. We had a bobcat with tree diggers, forks, and a bucket. I worked for a horse farmer that had a John Deere tractor with a quick conect for the different attachments. Forks on a regular tractor are a little tricky to keep level unless you get one with self leveling but they do not work exactly right either as the bobcat had it. We dug a pond and used the bobcat for many things around the farm. I have even used it to change a tire on one of the farm tractors. I am thinking of getting a small inloader for the small between the row John Deere. I miss having one on the farm way more than I thought I would when we sold the bobcat.
How are you going to use the ATV winch? I saw a picture of a trailer built by a swedish beekeeper. He put in a sliding rear gate that adjusts forward up against the load of hives to give you a stable load.
I wish I had a loader on the tractor. it's a small massey ferguson that I picked up for $2500. seems hard to justify the retrofit for a $1400 front loader on it although I have 18 different jobs around the farm waiting because I don't have one. I usually rent a bobcat once or twice a year to clean up all these piles (literally).
The tractor just doesn't seem practical to haul around to work hives although if it had a loader it could do the job. Probably isn't much heavier than a skid loader but is not as nimble. It is pretty much limited to level ground, scary on a slope with the high center of gravity and narrow front wheels. It will cover wet ground pretty well although the tires leave a trail.
I like the mack truck picture. has a lot more class than my (cheap) white Ford F150.
>How are you going to use the ATV winch?
The winch is attached ta a boom that can be located at different points of the trailer, front, midway, and rear. The boom will swing 360 degrees and reach any area of the trailor. The remote control is attached to the electrical system of the vehicle pulling the trailor. It has a push button like the one that opperates your keyless entry on your vehicle, that reels the winch up and down.
The same system could also be used on a flat bed on a truck as well. Or if mounted on the front of a trailor, also reach the back of the truck bed.
I got my winch and remote from Northern Tool for a little over $300. and am having a custom built trailor made. It has a special soft suspension axel, six mounting points for the boom, a removable ball hitch, and low tailgate ramp. I also designed into it tie downs at premeasured spacing, and will be able to leave hives on it with the entrances open on both sides of the trailor. A storage space for the boom and will be able to mount the winch on the front of the trailor to winch heavy objects on from the back. Should be handy, eh?
>I got my winch and remote from Northern Tool for a little over $300. and am having a custom built trailor made. ......... Should be handy, eh?
Sounds brilliant. Post pictures when it's done!
Hi. Has anyone seen one of the kelley loaders that they have in there catalog this year. You can get it for the truck or you can buy it already on a trailer.
One of my neighbors built a hoist on his flatbed using an old axle from a manure spreader for the pivot. He also got his winch and remote control from Northern. He's got a cylinder for up and down on the boom also and the boom can be extended in and out. It's a first class unit.