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  1. #1

    Default wages for grafting

    can anyone give me what they pay grafters? I did the math on how many cells per hour and cost per cell but I want to see what is really happening out there.

    thanks

    thanks

  2. #2

    Default Re: wages for grafting

    not min. wage that's for sure. depends on your skill.
    Don

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,351

    Default Re: wages for grafting

    Not sure what others do. Our grafter's work is incredible. Only thing I could ask for is that I had an operation big enough to keep her rolling all year. If we had one of the Hawaii operations I'd give her 50k a year for half time work. She has a full time job (RETAIL with benefits) so I work our schedule around hers. Not always the most convenient but we make it work. I won't graft myself anymore. Not when shes so quick.

    When we graft all she does is sit in the chair and wear her wrist out. We make cell building a team effort. One person grafts. One person labels every cell bar and frame by queen mother for genetics tracking. Two other people are pulling larva and jamming the grafts into the cell builders. Most of the time everyone is running trying to keep up with the grafter. We do 45 cells on a frame. 1200- 1400 cells in less than a two hour time period. Usually get 90+% take if the weather is good. Cold and windy maybe a little less. Had up to 96% before.

    She is compensated for showing up. If we do a short run at the end of the season she gets the same as if we do 1500 at the beginning. Works out to be about 40-50 per hour for which she is happy for and I'm fer darn sure certain is less expensive than buying queens. ( and more importantly I have them on hand when I need them for myself to boot)

    Don't limit yourself in setting the pay as to what its going to cost you. Look at what the person is going to bring in the way of savings and expanded opportunity for your business.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Whitehall Texas
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: wages for grafting

    I know one grafter that worked for an operation nearly 18 years. This person had a 86% success ratio and was still being payed under 10.00 an hour...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Heavener Oklahoma
    Posts
    931

    Default Re: wages for grafting

    1400 grafts in 2 hours = 11.66 grafts per minute is just under 5 seconds per grafted cell it is 0.0714 cents per cell or $3.22 per frame of 45 grafts this is at $50.00 per hour for just grafting

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,351

    Default Re: wages for grafting

    Bought queens for 25 years. Up to 35k + - a year Had to wait in line for them sometimes. 8 cents to pay to graft is a bargain when QC are running 3-4 bucks a piece.

    Raising queens is a time consuming job. Timing when raising queens (cells) is more important than breathing. Get it right or its over. Thats why the finished product sells for $15 each or more.

    My neighbor is building 2k more mating nucs this winter. He says demand is up. Been at it 35 years and old enough where he ought to be winding down. Queen prices are not going down in the near future if he's building nucs.

    I'm sure the big guys (oliveraz, kona, strachan) aren't paying their grafter 40 an hour. I don't have 50k mating nucs either.

    The opportunity costs incurred at grafting time are high. Queens are a time consuming job. Anyone who has been in the bees long knows we need 50 hours a day in April to get all the work done that needs to get done. The opportunity costs of not having queens when you need them are even higher.

    Theres a guy by me who gets 500 bucks a super for his "specialty" honey.
    He no longer drags his hives to the almonds for a "$1.45" a piece.

    Why drag them through the mud when you can leave them for the same return?

    Same with raising queens. Why buy them when you can raise them.

    We use queenless cell builders based on fresh bulk bees. 100 lbs will give us 1000 cells the first round and 500 a couple of days later. With bulk bees worth about $12 a pound each cell "eats" about 80c worth of bulk bees.

    Throw in the labor and overhead they cost about $1.75 -2.00 each at the tops.

    Still beats the alternative.

    What say U?

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