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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Randolph County, Indiana
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    693

    Default Havesting all the honey

    In another thread someone was talking about shaking all the bees from their equipment in the fall, and havesting all the honey. Then purchasing 2# packages to replace them.

    In that thread someone else was talking about the economics on such methods. What was suggested is that commercial beekeepers havest all the honey, then feed HFCS to the hives to replace these stores.

    This begs a few questions. How much HFCS does it take to replace the stores of a two deep hive? How much does HFCS cost? Where do you get HFCS (lets say enough to feed 50 hives)?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
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    2,496

    Default

    It was talked about in another thread.

    Cost - Extracting all the honey from two hives 120 lbs (maybe). At 1.30 a pound you are getting $156 bucks.

    Package bee with queen and shipping $90 bucks.
    HFCS - Buck a gallon or so - Need about 10 gallons to build up the hive.

    So your costs would be around 100 bucks probably a little more. But then you have to look at time lost building up the colony from a package.

    So it could work. But then you are dependant on someone else supplying your packages and the heath of the bees are not in your control.

    Just some things to think about.

    Not the way I would do business, but for some it may work.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Sawyer, Michigan, USA
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    2,115

    Default

    Using alpha6 math you make a profit, but things are not all that clear cut. Especially beekeeping. What would be the cost if 20% - 50% failed by spring? I sure any package you buy comes with baggage ( varroa ect.) the profit would quickly turn into red ink.
    Besides what fun would that bee?
    The Busy Bee teaches two lessons: One is not to be idle and the other is not to get stung.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
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    2,560

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by IndianaHoney View Post
    In that thread someone else .... suggested is that commercial beekeepers havest all the honey, then feed HFCS to the hives to replace these stores.
    That would be me.

    Quote Originally Posted by IndianaHoney View Post
    This begs a few questions. How much HFCS does it take to replace the stores of a two deep hive? How much does HFCS cost? Where do you get HFCS (lets say enough to feed 50 hives)?
    These are questions greatly dependent on your location. It takes the same weight to winter on honey or HFCS, so whatever honey you would need, the same goes for HFCS. It cost between .25-.29 per pound last I checked, again, depending on size of order and location. We bring it in by the tanker and do sell it to lots of beeks that need smaller amounts. I would imagine there are commercial guys you could buy a smaller amount from, they all use it. Liquid Sucrose is also becoming available and some have been switching to that or a blend of the two. Which when and why is another thread, lol.

    I always hated the idea of killing off a perfectly healthy colony and replacing it with a package in the spring. Besides seeming, well, just wrong to do this, it also always seemed, well, a bit lazy to me, like the beek didn't want to take the time to learn how to overwinter his bees. Of course I discovered it isn't as cut and dried as that, but I still lean away from this practice.
    Alpha6 does a little figuring for us and again, location means everything. Here in Wisconsin we have a good early flow which means way less syrup to feed a package in the spring. I also think his cost per package is a bit rich, but let's use his figures for now and say the cost of a package is $100.
    The honey is a wash, we get that either way. So the difference is the cost to replace the winter stores and the meds to keep the bees healthy. If you figure 60# at .30 that is $18. 60# is a lot, there will probably be some honey in the brood box which we leave them and just add what they will need to winter.
    Allow $20 for mite and nosema meds.
    Yes, there is labor involved in treating and monitoring health of the colonies, feeding and wrapping for winter, but there is also labor shaking out the bees and moving all those boxes in and back out, then installing the packages and feeding them. I'm calling the labor a wash also but this might depend on whether you have more time to spare spring or fall in your area.
    So, by my figures, on any colony you don't choose to shake out you gain $60; $40 if you requeen every year. Yes, some won't overwinter, that is a package that will need buying for replacement. But let's face it, not all packages will make it either, that isn't figured in at all here.
    Other factors to consider are when your main honey flow is. Do you really want to feed a big booming overwintered colony til a main late flow? A package might make more sense where there is a late flow. Also, it can be tough to get the honey off, and get the syrup on in time in some northern areas with a good fall flow. More and more wintering northern beeks are taking their bees to a southern location where they winter better and there is more time to get the work done. They make up their own losses and eliminate package purchase altogether.
    Sheri

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Randolph County, Indiana
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    693

    Default

    Ok, I should clear up the question. I'm not planning to shake any of my bees out, it would brake my heart to do that. I'm trying to sell nucs as well, so shaking them out and replacing with packages is not an option. I want my bees to overwinter. What I'm wondering is if I would gain anything by extracting the honey in the second deep, then feeding HFCS or whatever is being used, in order to replace the extracted honey.

    Another option that I'm considering is overwintering in a single deep using the Mountian Camp Method. I've done that with a few single story hives this year, and only lost one so far. For some reason the single deep hives are stronger than the double deep hives. If I extract the honey, then split in half and give them a new queen, and feed to replace some stores, then put sugar on the hive I believe I might be able to increase my numbers rapidly.

    I'm also considering using Michael Palmer's idea of overwintering two nucs in one deep and feed using the MCM. The only thing that I need to work out is if August would be to late to split each hive into four nucs.

    Basicly I'm trying to find out the best way to increase rapidly, and make as much money as I can for equipment purchases.

    So here is my idea for rapid expansion:

    Spring...make as many production hives as possible. Some for pollination, most for honey production. This is done by making as many single story hives as I can with at least 7 frames of brood before June 1st. Then let them build up and produce whatever they can. With the flows around here, I'm estimating 75lbs of honey in the supers, and then the honey in the second deep.

    August...right after the honey flows I extract all the honey besides whats in the brood frames. Then split each hive into two single story hives, or four nucs and feed HFCS to finish building up their stores for winter.

    Late fall/Early winter....Place a empty super on top of each nuc with a divider, and put dry sugar on them (great success so far with the MCM).

    Early spring....feed to build the hive strenth.

    Spring....sell nucs, and start the process over again.

    The problem that I have is this: I don't know if the hives would be strong enough by winter if I split them in half or made four nucs from them in August, even if I feed them. And I have to be able to get HFCS in order to extract all the honey in August to feed the bees before winter.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Auger Hole, MN
    Posts
    433

    Default wholesale 3# package prices delivered to MN/Wis

    are currently $47 for this season for large lots.

    i think a better solution is grafting from any wintered over stock and stop depending on CA or southern bees. a healthy line of bees that don't need a lot of fall feed, or FB, nosema or even varroa mite treatments will make you more money in the long haul.

    if you're successful you'll even find you have singles to sell in spring to hobbyists for good money.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
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    2,560

    Default

    >>>a healthy line of bees that don't need a lot of fall feed, or FB, nosema or even varroa mite treatments will make you more money in the long haul.<<<
    Yeah, right, wouldn't that be great?...

    Indiana, if I were you I would contact other beeks within your area and ask them if they have HFCS for sale and if not, if they know where you can get it. Shouldn't be a problem. As for the size of nucs, Michael Palmer should be able to advise you, but I would assume a nuc is a nuc, ie 5 frames of bees and I would think you could get 4 of them out of a late summer colony. Mind you, I haven't done this. I prefer to winter in large clusters and split in the spring, although I can see the benefit of doing this to overwinter new queens.
    Sheri

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
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    5,609

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by alpha6 View Post
    So your costs would be around 100 bucks probably a little more. But then you have to look at time lost building up the colony from a package.
    Don't forget that overwintered colonies will out produce packages, often by more than the extra honey you take from them in the Fall.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    decorah IA
    Posts
    10

    Default take a vacation?

    just a thought on the end goal- and I know this won't work for me, and maybe not you indiana, but- from what I know of other beekeepers and how they have built numbers they tend to load up a truck and move south.
    You are much closer to warmer weather than me, so it might just make sense to find someplace down south where you could haul your bees, make splits, and raise a few queens. the guys I knew who did it called it the longest month of the year, but they would haul 250 hives down, and then bring 7-800 nucs back with young queens.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fresno California USA
    Posts
    2,479

    Default No winter bees

    There is a 3 generation bee outfit in Montana that is a large successful honey producing operation. They tried going to almonds but it wasn't worth it. ( ??!! )
    Don't overwinter at all.These folks have been buying their pkgs from Calif for decades. No mite treatments, etc. Again, very successful on honey production alone.

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