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  1. #21
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fresno California USA
    Posts
    2,479

    Default Re: Beekeeping as a living

    If you can get your hands on a copy of A Living From Bees by Frank C. Pellett, author of American Honey Plants, you will find much valuable and timeless advice.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Cleveland, Texas
    Posts
    1,378

    Default Re: Beekeeping as a living

    I can identify with Grant's approach. Keep in mind that I have four adult son's all of which help out in one way or another to lighten my load. I went from 20 or so hives to 100 in one year. It has taken me another year to learn how to manage hives on a larger scale. I initially had "dreams" of tripling or quadrupling each year. Now I realize that's not going to happen. While financial resources can be a big limiting factor for some, fortunately I have been innovative enough to find ways to make it a relatively minor limitation for me. Time management has proved to be far more critical. I now feel that if things go well through the winter, I may be in a position to handle 200 - 300 hives next year. We shall see.
    "The UNKNOWN, huh? That would be SNORBERT ZANGOX over in Waycross."

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Beekeeping as a living

    Quote Originally Posted by Rohe Bee Ranch View Post
    Sounds like winning the lottery would be a good first step.

    I'm working on that one myself. I'll keep ya'll updated on my progress

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    lake geneva wi
    Posts
    458

    Default Re: Beekeeping as a living

    Even if you won the lottery the 25 hives book would make managing all those new hives much easier. More to it than just $s and cents too.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Lancaster CA
    Posts
    410

    Default Re: Beekeeping as a living

    Location, location, location. I started small and never left my day job till I was 55. I cultivated a market with sales at home. My price is half way between whsl and retail. I am 60 miles from 6 million customers. Most come and buy 60 lb or more. My furthest customer comes from Saudi Arabia once each year for 600 lb. My locations found or bought over 20 yrs produce superior quality honey. I am only 70 miles from my almond pollination and I got top price for strong hives. My max numbers were 450, but I liked operating about 250. With a small number and diverse locations allowed me to never feed or have a realy bad year. Also with fewer hives your honey house is smaller as well as storage buildings. Now retired and only a middle man in honey sales I can enjoy my grand kids with all this free time. Good Luck

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Delta, Utah
    Posts
    494

    Default Re: Beekeeping as a living

    "Sounds like winning the lottery would be a good first step."

    When a beekeeper was ask what he was going to do with all of his lottery winnings he pronounced, "I'm going to keep bees until it's gone."

    That's how I feel this year. In 4 years I've gone from 10 hives to over 2,000. I made less honey this year with 2,000 than last year with 1500. I'm losing a lot of hives this year too. I outgrew my ability to manage so many efficiently. Next year I'm dropping back to 1,400 and maybe even below that the following year and I'll stay there until I have the locations and learning to bring my numbers back up.

    The learning curve is tough. If I had it to do over again I would go slower for sure and work for someone else first. I've made so many $costly$ mistakes it's embarassing. It's also not as fun as it use to be. I still like it better than anything else I've ever done though.
    -Rob Bliss
    Bliss Honey and bee supplies

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,289

    Default Re: Beekeeping as a living

    [QUOTE=pahvantpiper;463972 I've made so many $costly$ mistakes it's embarassing. It's also not as fun as it use to be. I still like it better than anything else I've ever done though.[/QUOTE]

    Most of us first generation ( which includes me ) keepers have made many costly mistakes, But I would not be embarasse by them.

    Heck, I make them all the time.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  8. #28
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,496

    Default Re: Beekeeping as a living

    No really he does. I keep my costs way down just from learning from Keith's mistakes. "Tip number 1 - when transferring a truckload of HFCS to holding tank make sure dispensing valve is closed."
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  9. #29
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Burke, SD, USA
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Beekeeping as a living

    Tip number 1 - when transferring a truckload of HFCS to holding tank make sure dispensing valve is closed.
    Been there. Mistakes like those usually happen after a long night of moving bees and then something important, like a syrup truck, needing done early the next morning.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    souris, manitoba, canada
    Posts
    787

    Default Re: Beekeeping as a living

    Been a keeper for 40 plus years,got out in 1986, cheap chinese honey and a couple of poor crops did me in............... wandered in the desert with moses for 11 years,numerous different jobs, was looking for something and it was right under my nose, started up in 1997 with 60 aussie packages, worst bees I ever seen, full of chalk brood..... putting 800 into winter this fall, if all goes well............ there is no life or profession like making a living from bees, has it's ups and downs but so does everthing else....... I think maybe its the people you meet in this buissness that is the most interesting ....... there are so many different ways of keeping bees

  11. #31
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fresno California USA
    Posts
    2,479

    Default Reminds Me

    One morning we were eating breakfast in a cafe in Caruthers Calif. and a farmer pulled up and parked. This was early, still dark. He had the hose from his diesel tank still hanging out the side of his one ton. I heard later it was a 5,000 gal tank and he'd been gone a while.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Cleveland, Texas
    Posts
    1,378

    Default Re: Reminds Me

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom G. Laury View Post
    One morning we were eating breakfast in a cafe in Caruthers Calif. and a farmer pulled up and parked. This was early, still dark. He had the hose from his diesel tank still hanging out the side of his one ton. I heard later it was a 5,000 gal tank and he'd been gone a while.
    Ouch!
    "The UNKNOWN, huh? That would be SNORBERT ZANGOX over in Waycross."

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,287

    Default Re: Beekeeping as a living

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Jarrett View Post
    Most of us first generation ( which includes me ) keepers have made many costly mistakes, But I would not be embarasse by them.

    Heck, I make them all the time.
    "Education is expensive."
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  14. #34
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,858

    Default Re: Beekeeping as a living

    Quote Originally Posted by pahvantpiper View Post
    "Sounds like winning the lottery would be a good first step."

    When a beekeeper was ask what he was going to do with all of his lottery winnings he pronounced, "I'm going to keep bees until it's gone."
    That reminds me of a sorry old question: How do you make $5,000 keeping bees?

    Answer: Start with $10,000

    Not that I necessarily believe it, but the first years are always the roughest. One of our beginning beekeepers started this spring with a $1,200 investment. They harvested three pints of honey.

    Not too bad for their first year! But they were expecting much more, or at least believed there would be a whole lot more. Reality has a way of changing your perspective.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Hattiesburg, MS
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: Beekeeping as a living

    That's about right... $400 per pint of honey excluding cost of the pint jars and label.

  16. #36
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Lanark, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    70

    Default Re: Beekeeping as a living

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeAware View Post
    What if one wanted to sell queens and nucs rather than honey? I'm not in a great honey area and have thought about selling only bees. Any thoughts? Besides, I enjoy this aspect of beekeeping more than honey production and sales.
    Let me tell you about the guy who got me into bees years ago. Maintains 150 hives for some honey and nuc production and does queens all season long - he shoots for ten thousand pounds of honey for retail sales. Makes a decent living, nuc orders filled by early winter, first rounds of spring queens always sold out. Like any other business, the other factor will be reputation and quality, so I guess in that regard making nucs and raising queens is different than producing honey for income - if a person were a poor queen producer you wouldn't sell many after word got out that they had poor traits. Good luck!

  17. #37
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    chilliwack, bc
    Posts
    659

    Default Re: Beekeeping as a living

    Quote Originally Posted by Rohe Bee Ranch View Post
    Sounds like winning the lottery would be a good first step.
    A friend and I always joked, but sadly this is probably true, that if we won the lottery we would keep bees until we ran out of money.
    Will Gruenwald Chilliwack BC

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: Beekeeping as a living

    "I should say that beekeeping is a good business to let alone, for the same amount of brains and energy that will make you a living at beekeeping will make more than a living at almost any other business."--C.C. Miller, A Thousand answers to beekeeping questions 1917 edition Page 18
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    McHenry, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Beekeeping as a living

    there are few if any comments/recommendations regarding placing new colonies in an area that is most lilely rivaled by other keepers. practices, advertising, etc. not always that easy.

  20. #40
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,496

    Default Re: Beekeeping as a living

    Was talking to a couple of fellow commercial beeks the other day. One was telling of a new guy in the area that got into beekeeping this year. Took out a short term 20k loan to get his bees and equipment (just boxes, etc. no extraction equip, trucks, swinger, etc). Just harvested his crop. 3 barrels. Hope he has another way to pay back that loan.

    Goes some of how we operate. If you can't afford to expand...wait till you can. Taking a loan on something as risky as a honey crop Anyway, thought I would pass that along to anyone thinking of getting in by taking a loan...it can work our but most times doesn't.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

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