Ha, lol, I am getting into the spirit of Mike's post and reinforcing Gmcharlie's point on ag biz folks whining.
To Mike's list we can add the things that the human's put up with/have happen to them:
*Sore butts from long hours on the unloader.
*Wore out backs from not waiting for someone to help you lift that 140# colony.
*Getting up before dawn in mid summer to move that yard with 3 supers on because the new yard owner doesn't want bees.
*Researching and financing your own health insurance/business insurance.
*Long term separation from family and friends while on the road with the bees.
*Working hard during the hottest part of the hottest days....wearing heavy coveralls and gloves.
The more I think about it, the more I wonder why anyone would do this sort of work. It must be mass insanity.
I like the one about moving the bees because the beeyard owner doesn't want bees. I had one that wanted them somewhere different each year. Good thing it was a great producing area, or I would have only moved them once. Just down the road.
Here is one to add to your list.
Show up at the beeyard to find that a new gate with lock. The owner is gone for the summer. Oops down to the hardware store to buy the master key. Those bolt cutters get me into everywhere. That gate might keep those kids out, but not me.
I carry bolt cutters too. Or the tools to take the hinges off the locked gate. When you drive 150 miles with a crew to move bees out of almonds and find an unexpected locked gate what choice is there?(happened this March)
My current headache is the guy with the pool who wants a yard of 100 nucs moved RIGHT NOW. Well, next week will have to do.
The point to all this is, successful commercial beekeepers have a lot of knowledge, good business sense, good locations, and a willingness to put in a lot of hours.
The rest of us will just need lots of luck
Some people are cutout to be farmers some are not. I don't think even farmers can tell you why they do it. I've been a beekeeper since '63, and the only answer I've come up with is : I'm the best bossman I've ever worked for.
The point I'm getting is you need to work hard, be very knowledgeable about bee's (off coarse!), have a good location location, location, have some connections, a pair of bolt cutters, own your equipment outright, have money saved for when things are bad..... oh crap I just forgot something I know was important!
Oh yeah, be able to handle working in a business where you have minimal control over the outcome. So you should be able to manage risk as well as any banker. (um well maybe not a banker!)
Seriously the "work hard" part sounds the easiest. It's the other stuff that would scare me.
My (albeit naive and not thought out) beekeeping dream would be to retire early in the country with some land, have X number of hives, sell some honey (retail of coarse) and make a little pocket money to supplement my retirement income. Retirement is about 15 years away for me, so maybe I could learn something about bee's in that time.
I think your getting somewhat the idea! If you started now, you could have enough hives to retire in 15 years.
Their are a few other things, but some thing you have to learn the hard way. We all do.
o/o Ron Householder
dale hodges writes:
Some people are cutout to be farmers some are not. I don't think even farmers can tell you why they do it.
most folks are absolutely risk averse and a small portion of the population is risk seeking. I have always suspect agricultural producers (not the marketing folks but the producers) lean towards risk seeking enterprises. I have also long suspected the same folks enjoy the adrenlin push of doing anything that taxes life and limb.
Does anyone make an air-ride seat for a Bobcat Skidsteer? My butt is sore from loading and unloading hives. I'm sure you know what I mean.
load that semi by hand next time and I will almost guarantee your butt will feel better.
Keith, I think you earned yourself a new nick name (to go with the others) "Hard *** Keith".
The rest of us need to make things as comfortable as we can.
lol... Sheri, and you 86ed part of my post...
Ya know, beekeeping has alot of pluses. I'm also in the constuction rental business & it can be a real pain in the ++++.
Sure, the bees have there bad times but there minor compared to other businesses.
P.S. Sheri, I knew I wouldn't make a good Mod. lol
"The UNKNOWN, huh? That would be SNORBERT ZANGOX over in Waycross."
I started beekeeping at age 36. I told an old beek that I wanted to keep bees commercial after I retired young at 55. He said at 55 I wouldn't want to keep bees. I had to prove him wrong. Kept bees semi- commercial (350) till I was 65. All the problems posted are true but when you got farming in your blood it is hard to quit. I had lots of luck picking up good locations. Built most of my equip. and machinery. Am close enough to 6 million people in LA to sell a lot of honey somewhere between retail and whosale, and only 75 miles from my almond contract, and had a good day job while building and learning ( 15 years). At 67 I can still work a farm laborer half my age into the ground. That said, just go for it.
Been running bees for awhile...this is my 33 rd year. Started with 2 and within 5 years I had 100 then 150 and also bought semi loads of honey(some from Mr. Householders parents when he was in diapers lol ). Eight years ago I started moving to Florida increasing my hive numbers. Havent made much profit yet other than almonds. Why?? Well you can make a bundle if the flow hits...problem is we havent had a GOOD flow since 2004 no bumper flow since 2001. Three droughts (one a 100 yr, one a 110 year back to back) a 100 yr freeze had killed both out tree honey(poplar/locust) and clovers. a drought will kill a Clover flow that year and if it last thru fall gets the next year also. I have kept my head above water...but thats all and I have no debt! If I had a couple of good crops(2005 and 2007 would have been great if we had rain in spring) I would have made good money. 5 or my worst 6 years honey production in 30 years of beekeeping are the last 5. nuf said!
We need to start the upside of this.
You will see hawks and vultures soaring on the wind. The owl hunting for its young in the quarry.
Babies of all kind walking past and by your bee yards. Love the skunk moms with those little ones and the deer with three fawns in tail.
You will learn every plant in your area and what it produces or does not produce.
Nothing like eating lunch before you work the yard and watching them work and guessing what field they are going to.
The taste of fresh nector that is at 50% moisture.
The sweet smell of the honey house while extracting.
The honey flowing out of the extractor.
Talking to your landlords and hearing how amazed they are at how good their gardens and fields are now that they have a yard there.
The feeling that your honey house is finally empting of supers and you can see the back wall.
The same feeeling you get when the honey is all in the drums and ready to sell.
I am sure there are more.
Then there are the spring days when work stops while you gather the morels that popped up around the beeyard.
And going through the nucs and finding lots of new queens laying like crazy.
Beeyards that are next to streams loaded with big trout.
Heading home from the packers with that big honey check.
And, knowing that with millions out of work, you have more work than you can handle (didn't say anything about getting paid for it).
Beekeeping is gambling. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.