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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    KC, MO, USA
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    1,168

    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Ok let’s look at this for a minute

    If a commercial beek rotates old comb as needed and switch to SC in the process. And does everything else the same like treatments...

    This should not cost the commercial beek any more money or work. Five years down the road the beek will have all small cell and the option to skip a treatment if they want or continue treatment. I would think just to have the option would be a bonus. Maybe skip treatment on 1/4 of the hive each year. Or just continue to treat and have the possibility of allot less mites during a flow and during non treatment times.

    Why would a Commercial Beek not want to do that???

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    9,437

    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Because treatments contaminate combs. Also, You can't just stick a couple of frames of SC foundation into a LC hive and expect the comb to be drawn out to match the sc.
    Regards, Barry

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,211

    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    You can't just stick a couple of frames of SC foundation into a LC hive and expect the comb to be drawn out to match the sc.
    Why not?

    Yes, I'm asking this somewhat facetiously.

    What if you had a source of queens that were from adapted small cell colonies and you requeened 100 colonies that are on large cell combs with the small cell queens. Could the resulting workers properly draw out small cell?

    I am looking for an answer to this question and should have enough information to draw some conclusions early next spring.

    DarJones
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    2,698

    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Barry wrote:

    You can't just stick a couple of frames of SC foundation into a LC hive and expect the comb to be drawn out to match the sc.

    From our experiences, as stated before. with a strong hive and a good flow, they drew out 5.1 as well as LC, and drew 4.9 , but not perfect. I guess the old adage "personal results may vary" applies here.

    The bigger issue I see is that last time I checked, SC foundation was more expensive than LC. That may have changed. Commercial beekeepers are in it to make money. Until a study shows that they can save money on treatments, they will be reluctant to spend extra money for SC.

    Crazy Roland

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Who sells 5.1?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,437

    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Roland, I'm surprised you had success doing it that way. That's good to hear!
    Sol, if I'm not mistaken, Miller Bee Supply has wax foundation that size.
    Regards, Barry

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,127

    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    I bought some from Miller hoping for 5.1mm back in about 2001 or so and it was 5.4mm.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Littlerock, California, USA
    Posts
    940

    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    I went to the Miller Bee website but did not see indications of the cell sizes in the descriptions. Is there something I am missing?
    I am looking for wax coated plastic foundation that is 4.9mm Black preferred.
    “Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not yet the end”

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Miller only seems to sell Pierco as far as plastic foundation goes, and it is not 4.9.

    But let's get back to the topic. I have a question. Does this hypothetical need to pay the salary and bills and everything, or can it just stand alone in black ink of its own accord? It's been my goal for a long time to make some profit, and I think I am finally after nine years of beekeeping poised to do that. I have all the equipment I need to house the number of hives I want, I have production hives, I have drawn comb, I've started selling nucs, and if I don't buy that motor for my extractor, I think I can do it.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,211

    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    The only option I am aware of for black 4.9 is by purchasing the frame and foundation combined from Mann Lake and cutting the frame off so you can use the foundation.


    As a side note to the above discussion, I had a relatively easy time converting my bees to 4.9mm. One probable reason is that I have had 1.25 inch frames for the last 34 years. The closer the frames are spaced, within limits, the more easily the bees will draw out 4.9 foundation.

    DarJones
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,372

    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    Miller only seems to sell Pierco as far as plastic foundation goes, and it is not 4.9.

    But let's get back to the topic. I have a question. Does this hypothetical need to pay the salary and bills and everything, or can it just stand alone in black ink of its own accord? it.
    I suppose anyone that files a schedule F that shows a profit is certainly free to speak and tell their story but I was thinking more along the lines of a full time stand alone operation. Seems like if someone is truly having success spending half their time that it should be a natural progression that at some point they would be doing it full time. I know that their are a number of sideline operators that post on Beesource and I would presume some of them do quite well but they are the exception in this era. It seems to me the only real way to gauge the economic success of a particular operation is if they have to rely solely on their bees for their financial well being.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  12. #32
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    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    5,079

    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    So you're thinking beyond just black ink, but a certain number of dollars her hour. What would that number be?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,372

    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    So you're thinking beyond just black ink, but a certain number of dollars her hour. What would that number be?
    I don't think anyone who has the sole responsibility of operating a business thinks of it in terms of dollars per hour because you are never really off duty. To me it's annual income and what someones life style requires. If you can tighten your belt and make it work without any outside assistance you have every reason to consider your business economically viable.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  14. #34
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    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Dollars per hive perhaps? In a good year, how much in profit would somebody with your chops expect to make per hive? After expenses.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  15. #35
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    Jan 2005
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    Hamilton, Alabama
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    That is not an apples to apples comparison Solly. If you want to get down to profit per hive, you must factor in all expenses plus labor plus depreciation of equipment. With that baseline, a beekeeper has to consider the potential for sellable hive products.

    1. Sale of 1 nuc with 3 frame of brood plus a queen $100
    2. Sale at retail of surplus honey presuming 100lb average per colony $250
    3. Rental of one colony for small fruit pollination $40
    4. Sale of wax presuming 2 pounds per colony $10

    If you did everything right and hit all potential product sales, each colony should produce about $400

    From that you have to subtract:
    1. Equipment depreciation $15
    2. Labor (your own or hired) $100
    3. Packaging, shipping, and miscellaneous $35
    4. Treatments of whatever nature $15
    5. Transportation $25

    Giving a rough cost per colony of $190

    Do your own math and adjust the figures any way you choose.

    DarJones
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  16. #36
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    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Now this is good information, I'm glad I asked. Thank you for that Darrel.

    I tried to keep track of my hours this year, but I lost track after 30.

    Back in 2004 or so, I tried to rent four hives to my aunt to pollinate peaches. She thought I said $35 total, not $35 per hive. She got a bumper crop, I got the shaft. At least the neighbor was generous not to spray while the bees were there.

    This really is good information, this deserves a spreadsheet. That's the engineer speaking.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    1,697

    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    do not forget insurance, interest on possilbe loans and principle payments. As well there is association fees and levies, atleast in Canada. Add in as well repairs and maintenance, fuel and oil of equipment required to run the operation..not talking hive boxes and stuff, but rather vehicles, trailers, carts, loaders, honey house (building repairs), extraction repairs, etc. Advertising if you sell your honey and wax local. If you scale your honey on your own scales...say to a store, cost of calibrating the scales, Labour also has to include all fees associated with it like Employment insurance, fed tax, provincia/state tax, pension plans...any deductions which the employer adds to. WCB is another. If you file farm tax forms, the need of a good ag accounant. The purchase of bees or queens, syrup, sugar, pollen patties. If you bottle your honey for say farmer's markets, labels, jars/containers, space rental to sell your product, travel expense ...All this will drive up your cost per colony reducing your profit.
    Any money put out to operate the hives, extract, pollenate, sell, ship end products should be considered an expense or capital assest purchase which is required to operate the colony from the start to the time the final product leaves your hands should be included when figuring your profit/loss ratio of your hives.
    Once a beekeeper starts to do this, and look at everything from a cost stand point it is here one can measure the monetary success by profit or loss. Include all income and all expense. Then you get a true value of cost per hive and income per hive and then the net profit or loss per hive

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,372

    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    Dollars per hive perhaps? In a good year, how much in profit would somebody with your chops expect to make per hive? After expenses.
    Cost per hive debates can rival small cell debates in spirit primarily because of the wide variety of operations in so many different areas of the country but I can only speak for our particular migratory operation in which we raise all of our own bees and queens. Deductible expenses (not living expenses) each year have been running in the range of $100 per hive, I could see expenses for a smaller operation without our economies of scale going considerably higher. Gross income per hive at current prices could average around $200 plus or minus. This is, of course, all predicated on having a lot of strong healthy hives, if large numbers of them crash then all bets are off.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Back in 2004 or so, I tried to rent four hives to my aunt to pollinate peaches. She thought I said $35 total, not $35 per hive.
    Maybe you better stick to engineering.

    Seriously, the potential profit is $200 per colony but if that colony dies out, your profit is gone and you are then out the cost of replacing the bees. That gets expensive fast. Missing just one of the profit items above can dramatically affect the bottom line. What if you didn't get to sell that nuc for $100 because you had to use them as replacement for a dead colony? You just cut your potential profit in half.

    DarJones
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,994

    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Very interesting discussion.

    There is one guy who ( I believe ) makes his living from small cell hives, that's Don the FatBeeMan. However I don't know much about him please anyone correct me if I'm wrong. As i understand, he is a bee breeder and sells small cell bees.

    I also understand he will treat organically if need be, so he's not treatment free, which is presumably the point of small cell. It might be why he is able to make a profit though, it would put him closer to the same league as traditional beekeeping. He might even be able to charge a premium for his bees as they are small cell.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

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