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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Adams County, Idaho, USA
    Posts
    42

    Default how much $ from 30-40 hives?

    I know that there are a lot of variables with this question, but....

    I am trying to figure out how much money I could expect to make with only 30-40 hives. I'm in Idaho and have only been working with bee's for 1 1/2 years, so I figure the honey production on the lower end. No 150# hives here.

    Does $5,000+ seem reasonable? If I have 35 hives that average 40 pounds and I get $5 for a pound, I should get $7k before expenses, right? Is there anything wrong with this?

    thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Green Lane, PA
    Posts
    839

    Default Re: how much $ from 30-40 hives?

    Gas, labor, capital, marketing, etc, etc. These will all play a part in your bottom line.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,370

    Default Re: how much $ from 30-40 hives?

    What kind of bees do you run in that area. I am over in Baker Co, Oregon and just starting out, i have 1 hive this fall and plan to expand to about 5 next spring and am interested in what does good in this corner of the world.

    Thanks
    Dan
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,794

    Default Re: how much $ from 30-40 hives?

    You need to decide how you are going to sell your honey. If wholesale, $5.00/lb is very high (and unrealistic). If retail, you need to figure in the cost of the containers and the time it takes to sell (and deliver). $5.00/lb retail sounds on the low side. I had no problem getting $20/qt for very limited production using wide mouth mason jars as containers.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Concrete, WA, USA
    Posts
    761

    Default Re: how much $ from 30-40 hives?

    Id say, to be honest about it that 30-40 hives will take some time to "see" any money

    if you buy all new hives at say $200 bucks each - from bottom to 2-3 supers
    and 40 hives times 200 is $8000 just in the hives themselves - then comes the bees - and you might find a deal of $60-70 per package - thats another $2800 in bees

    then its very unlikely to see any honey ( not saying impossible) but most packages spend the first year as wax slaves

    then comes fuel and feed bill -

    i have my yards close and they are at my work so - no out of the way trips
    but i feed HFCS at 10 gallons for fall feeding per hive - this is about $30 bucks per hive - thats about $1200 to feed in the fall and at least that if not more in the spring - so lets say about $2500 in syrup

    so with just this as a starter - $13,300 so to make any money first you have to get past the 13,000 dollar dent -

    now if you keep your bees in good shape and your hives are not bear ridden or stolen - and moths dont reak havic on your stored supers - id say that in about 10 years you might see "profit"

    best bet is to buy some hives, keep some bees, and sell some honey!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,497

    Default Re: how much $ from 30-40 hives?

    After almonds you can pick up 20 hives, doubles with bees for about 150 ea.($3000) Take them home and and do half splits and you have 30 hives. Figure 40 bucks for equipment and 16 for a queen and that gives you $560. So with 60 hives you are in the hole for $3560. That will get you started. Next you will need supers...at least 3 per hive, extractor, hopefully you have a flatbed already, and a bunch of other misc equipment. You can price all that out with a bee catalog. If you are lucky you can pick up drawn supers for about 15 ea...if you have to start with foundation your honey for the year is going to be way down. Figure on being in the hole the first year, breaking even the second and maybe...if you are lucky coming out a bit ahead the third year.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,858

    Default Re: how much $ from 30-40 hives?

    I think you hit the nail on the head at the beginning..."lots of variables."

    Around my part of the world, I run an average (on all my hives, some of which are dinks, a few that swarm, etc.) of 60 pounds of honey. Some hives go 150 pounds, but some go zero. Some years are better than others due to weather. I usually figure, again roughly, that it takes two medium supers to make a 5-gallon bucket of honey.

    I haven't found a way to sell my honey for $20 a quart...but I'm going to start looking. I'm selling my quarts for $10, and with the cost of the jar, I figure a rolling average around $3 per pound. Squeeze bears are more profitable. But I also spend a good deal of time at the Farmer's Markets retailing my honey. My one-pound squeeze bottles sell for $5

    So on a very rough gross, 60 pounds at $3 per pound = $180 (but I still don't count those chicks before they hatch)

    But then there are expenses for feeding, treating, etc. I usually figure roughly about $25 per hive, but it depends on how well they do and how much honey I rob. And then some hives die over the winter and all that feed goes for naught. I hope for a net of $150 to keep it in round numbers.

    I don't hire any other labor, I'm a one-horse operation from beginning to end.

    I think the key to your success is to keep your day job, expand from within (splits and swarms), don't borrow money but pay as you go, make your own equipment when possible, and build your markets.

    As I expanded my operation, the most difficult aspect was honing my own time management skills and the preparation of my equipment before I went into the bee yard. You'll also need to figure out a system of record keeping to stay on top of the chores. Managing 30 to 40 hives is not simply ten times more work than managing 3 to 4 hives. But the longer you keep at it, the better you get.

    All the best,

    Grant
    Jackson, MO http://maxhoney.homestead.com

    .
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    1,236

    Default Re: how much $ from 30-40 hives?

    "Is there anything wrong with this? "

    Simple answer is no. Using your assumptions, that is 933 pint jars OR 77 cases.
    As long as you feel that you can package, distribute and sell that much at retail prices you will make your $5k.

    My average harvest is greater than 100 lbs/hive. I get ~$3k from 5 hives.

    Fuzzy

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    mineral county,Montana USA
    Posts
    801

    Default Re: how much $ from 30-40 hives?

    the last 2 years i have had about that many hives at the end of the season. i got around 60 gallons or 720 pounds of honey per season. i sell it retail over the winter and at the farmers market in the summer for 10 bucks a quart. last summer after an epic battle with yellow jackets (leaving small clusters and shut down queens) followed by an early very cold storm, etc... i lost all of them. so i started out this year with nuc's from almonds which built up and produced honey, and hoping for different results i just sent 50 hives south for the winter. so i still have 2 or 3 other jobs but the honey makes up for slow winters. justin

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,280

    Default Re: how much $ from 30-40 hives?

    Once you get serious about making some money from your hobby, and then finally stop expanding colony numbers and honey processing equipment - all those capital expenses, it will probably take you 7 years to show a profit. In the 1970's when I started, it only took 3 years for me to pay off all I sunk into the "hobby" and started showing a regular profit. But having been out of beekeeping for a while, when I restarted, well, I hope to turn a profit in 2012 - about 7 years after I started, this time.

    Then, each year after you've finally paid off your capital expenses, you have the maintenance and on-going costs of feed, jars, labels, replacement bees and queens, equipment updates, etc etc etc, to say nothing of gas and oil.

    The day will come when you'll make more than you spend...and it feels soooooo good!
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Bristol,MA,USA
    Posts
    719

    Default Re: how much $ from 30-40 hives?

    Follow the advice of Alpha6 and then do pollination, the honey being extra. You'll earn more in the long run. OMTCW

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