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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Madison County, Alabama
    Posts
    488

    Default Careers in Beekeeping

    Folks I'm ready to retire from Uncle Sam's Air Force. I'm 43, in good shape, despite being a little overweight, but I lift 80lb 10-frame deeps and climb stairs two steps at a time. I got no body parts in pain, no knee or joint problems.

    I want to start a new life as a professional beekeeper. I don't want to own my own business yet. I want to manage someone else's bees. I don't care how low the salary is (by the way, what can I expect to earn?).

    I don't know how to drive a forklift, or major heavy machinery, so I'd need training there. But I'm on the verge of starting to acquire my master bee keepers certification.

    I know New Zeland is looking for beekeepers.

    I don't have an impressive resume, been keeping bees since August 2007. But I think I've learned a lot, and there's a passion I've felt doing this, I haven't felt in a long time. I want to work out doors...been working indoors all my 21 years of AF life.

    Is there a demand for beekeepers? I think I'm acquiring some good skills, even just a year into it.

    Be honest with me, what's my prospects? Would you hire me?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,275

    Default

    Try this link, someone in here was looking for help to hire...

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ghlight=wanted

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,985

    Default

    I hope you do know that the kind of work you are seeking is a bit different from what is required in the armed forces?

    I think the person that mr marler was talking about was michael palmer (vermont). you might wish to pm him directly.

    fatcher ask directly:

    Be honest with me, what's my prospects? Would you hire me?

    tecumseh: well personally I am not large enough to employ any labor besides my own. If I was (or if I ran a large commercial operation) this question would be TOTALLY dependent on the individual. in the past it has been my experience that it is difficult for anyone coming out of the armed services to adjust to the physical and mental challanges of migratory bee keeping.... the pay is low and the demands are high.

    just tryin' to be straight up with ya' here... and the best of luck to ya'.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Kerikeri, New Zealand
    Posts
    69

    Default

    Know what you're getting into. The schedule, remote locations and fact that you'll be playing with millions of stinging insects dictate that you'll live somewhere near the fringe. In US$ I started at about 9/hr, no benis, no overtime. Now (4yrs on) I make about 45k/yr with a vehicle and 2 months holiday. In season I work 50-80 hrs/wk and most of it is heavy, sweaty work. I love it and wouldn't trade the lifestyle for anything as a young guy, but I don't want to put my body through the ringer for a lifetime. I've met too many hunched over lifers. Despite broken bodies, I have yet to meet a long time beek who isn't a genuinely good person. Don't know if the bees attract a certain sort or weed out the jerks. . .

    Their is definitely a demand for beeks in NZ. I work in a town of <10k people with 3 major (2k+ hives) operations and a handful of sideliners. The 3 big guys employ 1 US (me), 2 czech, 2 UK, 1 Thai, 2 fillipino, 1 Ukraine and 2 NZ born beeks plus a variety of short term laborers (mostly N euro backpackers). Beekeeping is on the govt skills shortage list which means it's easier to get work visas/permits through immigration.

    I don't have any experience in the US but this is written by a beesourcer and is worth reading--> http://bee-quick.com/reprints/udunno.pdf

    I would guess the transition from military to commercial beek is HUGE. If it is a change of lifestyle you seek and you're really interested in bees then make it happen, just go in with your eyes open.

    Best,

    dw

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,516

    Default

    Most large commercial beeks I know run their own business with seasonal help. Those that can no longer run the business usually sell out rather then take on full time help. So if you are planning on getting into it and taking care of 1 to 3 k hives I suggest you start by looking for guys getting out of the business and buying up their operation. If you can't get the money right away start small like with 50 hives and then split each year. This also gives you time to scout for yards in your area and coordinate with other beeks in your area so you don't overlap areas. You can build up quicker then you think like this. 50 first year. 100 to 150 next depending on your splits. If you do a three frame split you can get 150. So the next year you can be up to 200 hives or 450 and so on.

    If you want to learn the trade get with a commercial beek as seasonal help to really get a feel for it and run some of your own hives at the same time. If you are up for it then start building your business or look to take over someones.

    Good luck.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Lincolnton Ga. USA.
    Posts
    1,732

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fatscher View Post
    I know New Zeland is looking for beekeepers.
    I have looked and seen some stuff but where and why is new zeland looking for beekeepers, I just seen they are battling EFB.
    Ted

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    FRASER VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
    Posts
    1,280

    Default Beekeeping work

    Fatscher:

    There is plenty of beekeeping work wherever you may go in the world. I'm sure you can find work in the USA. New zealand and Australia are always looking for guys. There are always people advertising in the ABJ. If you do not have many ties then I would probably go to California where there are plenty of hives getting ready for the almond pollination season. Otherwise Florida, or Texas where many hives are overwintered. Bring a veil , a smoker and a hive tool with you. Pack a lunch somebody will hire you on the spot and good luck. Careful what you wish for the good Lord may grant you your wish as a punishment.

    Jean-Marc

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,494

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fatscher View Post
    Is there a demand for beekeepers? I think I'm acquiring some good skills, even just a year into it.

    Be honest with me, what's my prospects? Would you hire me?
    If you are willing to travel there are a few folks that I know who might be willing to give you a taste of commercial beekeeping and pay you too. Room and board are provided too. PM me for further communications and details.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hughson, CA
    Posts
    155

    Default

    My $0.02:

    To move to the front of the class, get a CDL (commercial drivers license). Getting good people to move bees is hard.

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tecumseh View Post
    in the past it has been my experience that it is difficult for anyone coming out of the armed services to adjust to the physical and mental challanges of migratory bee keeping....
    I'd be interested in hearing you elaborate on this particular comment. Unless I've misunderstood it, you've taken a bit of a jab at the ex military folks.
    In my experience ex military people are pretty much like the rest of us.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,516

    Default

    I don't know, but I prefer beekeeping to lugging around a 110 lb pack and a rifle, pistol and anti-tank missile and all the ammo that goes with it and four days food out in some frigging middle eastern desert. As a matter of fact I find it quiet relaxing. I prefer the buzzing of bees to the buzzing of bullets and shrapnel whizzing by your head. Lifting supers onto a flat bed is sure easier then throwing 60 lbs boxes of 25mm rounds into a 5 ton where the bed sits chest high. I don't know...when I look at it I would prefer to have an ex-military guy who is used to work and can accomplish things with little direction working for me. Call me crazy.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,494

    Default

    Okay, crazy alpha6,

    I know that techumseh can defend himself, but maybe he was talking about people that he knows and not guys like you and Keith. I agree w/ you that having someone who can do the grunt work and not have to ask alot of questions when it's time to get something done would be valuable.

    I like guys who don't ask alot of questions when we're working, but save the questions for time in between yards and during lunch. Why do you do that that way can be the most frustrating question when it's asked over and over again. Especially when it's followed up with "So and so doesn't do it that way." or "Such and such a book says to do it this way." But, intelligent inquiry is a good thing.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,516

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post

    I like guys who don't ask alot of questions when we're working, but save the questions for time in between yards and during lunch. Why do you do that that way can be the most frustrating question when it's asked over and over again. Especially when it's followed up with "So and so doesn't do it that way." or "Such and such a book says to do it this way." But, intelligent inquiry is a good thing.
    Amen brother...amen.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,985

    Default

    beemandan writes:
    I'd be interested in hearing you elaborate on this particular comment. Unless I've misunderstood it, you've taken a bit of a jab at the ex military folks.
    In my experience ex military people are pretty much like the rest of us.

    tecumseh: are you looking for offense? it is quite evident that you have misunderstood.

    the fact that you snipped out the sentence prior and the elaboration behind speaks volumes.

    fatscher: if my remarks offend... then I do apologize.

    I think sqkcrk is giving you excellent positive direction.

    as someone else suggested... obtaining a commercialdriver's license would be an excellent credential for any entry level employment. most people with average eye hand cordination can learn to operate a forklift OTJ.

    perhaps I would extend my job elaboration to be... be prepared to live out of a suitcase, working long hours seasonally for minimum wage. it is better to have no family.

    on the upside... the solitude and the wonderment of working in some fairly remote places can make all you give up above quite worthwhile.

    and sometime a person just needs to follow their dreams.

    if you have any specific questions just pm me.

    good luck to ya'...

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Port Orchard, WA USA
    Posts
    209

    Default

    in the past it has been my experience that it is difficult for anyone coming out of the armed services to adjust to the physical and mental challanges of migratory bee keeping.... the pay is low and the demands are high.
    OK, I counted to ten before I posted. Low pay in a highly demanding enviroment was the basic job description of my military service. Maybe yours was different, but I find this statement absolutely stunning. Actually, I find it insulting.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tulare County, CA USA
    Posts
    1,380

    Default

    You guys know that tecumseh was in the navy, right? I'd be a little insulted to without that little jewel of info.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,985

    Default

    ken and andria writes:
    OK, I counted to ten before I posted.

    tecumseh: perhaps you should have counted to 12?

    are you also looking for offense?

    cowpollinator writes:
    You guys know

    tecumseh writes: well I suspect cow pollinator (I am definitely profiling here) that given the kind of work you do (which is basically agricultural in nature.. correct?) that you know exactly what I am talking about...

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Central CA.
    Posts
    437

    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by cow pollinater View Post
    You guys know that tecumseh was in the navy, right? I'd be a little insulted to without that little jewel of info.
    so he can play a tune with a chipping hammer?

  19. #19

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tecumseh View Post
    tecumseh: are you looking for offense? it is quite evident that you have misunderstood. .
    Man alive! I believe that I very politely pointed out a sentence that I assumed you didnít intend. I invited you to correct it. Instead of rephrasing it to remove the offense you attack me.
    Quote Originally Posted by tecumseh View Post
    the fact that you snipped out the sentence prior and the elaboration behind speaks volumes..
    Iíve reread the entire post several times to see if indeed I was mistaken and it still looks insulting.
    Quote Originally Posted by cow pollinater View Post
    You guys know that tecumseh was in the navy, right? I'd be a little insulted to without that little jewel of info.
    I didnít know that. It still seems like he could rephrase the comment so it said what he meant.

    OK. Now t, Iíd suggest that you disconnect your keyboard and engage all of your advanced degrees and experience before answering.

    I was polite with my initial invitation. Iím not sure that I should be here. But Iím going to try.
    Quote Originally Posted by tecumseh View Post
    tecumseh writes: well I suspect cow pollinator (I am definitely profiling here) that given the kind of work you do (which is basically agricultural in nature.. correct?) that you know exactly what I am talking about...
    What, exactly do you mean by that?
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Tip of the Thumb, Michigan
    Posts
    678

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tecumseh View Post
    In the past it has been my experience that it is difficult for anyone coming out of the armed services to adjust to the physical and mental challanges of migratory bee keeping.... the pay is low and the demands are high.
    For what it's worth, when I read this I thought:

    Low pay? High physical demands? Living out of a suitcase and away from friends, family and other loved ones?

    Heck, if that's the case, I'd have stayed in the military! At least Uncle Sam provides full meals, and not just honey!

    (No insult detected.)

    DS

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