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  1. #61
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Good post Andrew, some excellent points raised.

    So far we've got Dee, who seems able to make her living from treatment free bees, rather than from books, teaching about treatment free, etc.

    Are there any others? Even one?
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  2. #62
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post

    Are there any others? Even one?
    Perhaps asking for a full time commercial is a bit much. How about a fairly good sized sideliner who has been SC for a few years. Gotta bee one of those. And by good sized sideliner... I'm talking say 200 hives.

  3. #63
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Well the issue being, people may put up their hand and say yes I'm a successful sideliner, but since they have other income, it cannot be demonstrated. To me, the acid test, to see if something works as claimed, is if it actually works, people would be able to live on it, same as normal beekeeping. So I'm putting on the acid to see what comes up.

    However, let's try it anyway, anyone with a successful 200 hive treatment free small cell sideline?

    AND! Still want to hear if there is anyone other than Dee making a living from sc treatment free bees. Even one.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  4. #64
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post

    However, let's try it anyway, anyone with a successful 200 hive treatment free small cell sideline?

    AND! Still want to hear if there is anyone other than Dee making a living from sc treatment free bees. Even one.
    Gotta say I am a bit surprised, this thread being 4 days old now that we haven't had anyone step up and make any kind of case at all for a profitable bottom line in any type of treatment free/small cell operation with the exception of heresay about Dee's operation. I honestly didn't expect that at all. Perhaps it isn't unfair at this point to generalize that a profitable treatment free operation is a noble but as yet unproven goal. I know that Randy Oliver stirred the pot on this in the ABJ a few months ago (and I paraphrase here) when he suggested that this perhaps is only setting up new beekeepers for failure.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  5. #65
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    What about Sam Comfort?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  6. #66
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    What about Sam Comfort?
    I believe an acquaintance of mine met him out on HiWay 95 to either deliver or receive nucs..... said he had bees tattooed all over his body... Also said... he was migratory between Ny & FL... with TBH. Did not know he was SC too. Yea.. he might meet the criteria.

  7. #67
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    >this perhaps is only setting up new beekeepers for failure.

    How does using smaller cells on foundation set up new beekeepers for failure? It seems to me that putting them on large cell and putting cumophos etc. in the hive is setting them up for failure. It is LESS effort to do natural cell than to do large cell by far (and cheaper), and if you use PF100s or PF120s, it's no more work to do small cell than to do large cell. Are people actually convinced that natural comb is BAD for bees?

    I don't see that small cell in any way precludes having a profitable business plan, on the contrary, you have less labor involved and less expenses and I know of no one having general collapse of their bees. My problem is I make much more money doing computer work and have been out of the country, so I can hardly make the case that I'm making money at something I'm not even working at presently.

    There is certainly a market for small cell nucs and bees.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #68
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >this perhaps is only setting up new beekeepers for failure.

    How does using smaller cells on foundation set up new beekeepers for failure?
    I think Jim is referring to the TF/SC/Lettem die.... philosophy.

  9. #69
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Sam is a top bar hive beekeeper, so the comb is as the bees want it. He does migrate from the Hudson valley in New York, to Florida for the winter. He doesn't treat for mites...at least I don't think he does. I think his successes come from his management system. He brings the TBHs back from Florida and sells TBH nucs to beekeepers who lost their TBH colonies. He also allows them to swarm if they wish. These are not the typical long TBH, but little shorties that he makes out of scrap wood, barn boards, etc. Almost like nucs themselves. So I bet his varroa control is splitting and swarming. He's found a niche that suits him and his management plan and philosophy. Is Sam making a living? Not if you listen to him talk.

  10. #70
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    I am surprised he can migrate at all with TBH, not that I know anything about TBH, but it would seem that there would be serious comb damage in transit.

    Does he pollinate? He does appear to be in serious demand as a speaker.

  11. #71
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    >I think Jim is referring to the TF/SC/Lettem die.... philosophy.

    But less of them die in my experience when you don't treat them and you put them on small cell. A LOT less. They ALL died from Varroa when I had them on large cell with treatments, several times for me. That seems like setting them up for failure. NONE of them died from Varroa when I put them on small cell and treatment free. That seems like setting them up for success...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #72
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Just that.. Since it's so successful, you'd think people would be doing it with success......

    I know there's a lot of treatment free small cell folks who have ambitions of going full time, or at least, of making some money.

    Dee has been writing and teaching her methods for commercial treatment free small cell, and running seminars on it, since the 1980's. But nobody has been able to do it. Not one.

    So I got to wonder. Is there something about her beekeeping, that the others haven't got? I mean, all her followers that wanted to go full time but failed. It would seem a logical thing to wonder.

    Could it be the africanised bees? Natural varroa resistance, do well on small cell. Stacks up.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  13. #73
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >I think Jim is referring to the TF/SC/Lettem die.... philosophy.

    But less of them die in my experience when you don't treat them and you put them on small cell. A LOT less.
    And your experience... is that of an experienced, talented, probably gifted (from what I hear) beekeeper. I think we were talking about a beginner. Most beginners that I know have not all failed with LC & Treatment.

  14. #74
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Yes, gotta wonder what's up when they are treated, and ALL die, and several times. Something wasn't right.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  15. #75
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    MB: This thread really isnt about why in your opinion something should be better it is quite simply a request for someone to share their financially successful small cell/treatment free experience with others. Absent any successful first hand accounts I don't think it is too radical to suggest that a young beekeeper interested in making a living with his bees may have a greater chance of success copying someone that has learned a way to make a living at this particularly one who has done it with minimal and safer treatments than was the norm a few years ago. Perhaps someone will yet come forward or perhaps someone is presently working on a model that they can tell us about sometime in the future, only time will tell but at the time being this is where we are at.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  16. #76
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Quote Originally Posted by D Semple View Post
    But, Barry’s concern about maximizing the value of your time is also vital, because like everybody else, I have serious time constraints and ultimately that will determine if I can remain a sideline beekeeper.
    I was working on this article today and I see I was right on target with my comment about coming up with a labor cost. Written back in 1968, it's extremely relevant for today. I added the bold for emphases.

    *********
    Economics of Colony Management

    The business of beekeeping demands attention to the costs of producing honey. Cost of production surveys made in the Intermountain States, Oregon, and California indicate that the average cost of production was above the current commercial price of honey. This unbalanced situation probably is more acute today because of the tremendous increase in labor and equipment costs. As in many other branches of agriculture, the cash costs for producing a honey crop are less than half the true costs. Thus, the established beekeeper whose cash costs may be low has been able to obtain a living even when his business has been operating at a loss, if he would figure interest on the capital investments, management cost for his own time, the value of family labor, and many hidden business costs frequently overlooked by one accustomed to concern only for cash to meet the family needs.

    These early surveys showed that the colony yield was the basic factor influencing production costs. The cost of producing a pound of honey in the apiaries giving low yields was five to nine times the cost in apiaries with high average yields. When it is recognized that most apiaries show average yields only one-third as high as those obtained from the most productive colonies, the beekeeper is challenged to increase the efficiency of his management.

    The principles and practices that will aid the beekeeper in obtaining maximum colony yields have been given in this paper. A simple system of accounting can be used to determine the cost factors in relation to returns and point out opportunities for improving efficiency in management.

    The following items should be included in any accounting system: An inventory of the capital investment; interest, depreciation, and maintenance costs on the capital investment in hive equipment; buildings, machinery, and motor vehicles; man-hours of labor per apiary and per colony; travel costs per apiary and per colony; replacement costs for queens and supplies other than those included in capital investment; losses from disease, wintering, pilfering, and other hazards; costs for rentals, taxes, insurance, utility service, and office supplies; yields per apiary and per colony; and returns on honey, wax, and/or rental services.

    An analysis of the cost items and returns each year will reveal the true cost of production and the profit or loss on the business.
    An analysis of unit apiary costs in relation to their returns, based on total business costs, will indicate opportunities for economy or for increasing management efficiency.

    http://www.beesource.com/resources/u...-bee-colonies/
    Last edited by Barry; 12-18-2011 at 04:27 PM.
    Regards, Barry

  17. #77
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
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    1,211

    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    There is a world of good advice in the Farrer article. The only thing I could see that needs revising is the use of package bees and queens. This is more efficiently done with a nucleus system.

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

  18. #78
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Susquehanna county, PA
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    122

    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Just wondering so please excuse my ignorance.
    If you are looking for a way to make your operation more efficent and less costly
    why not look at getting rid of things you may not need.
    Lets look at a warre,
    top bars, no foundation needed, and the bars can be easily made
    If you leave enough honey you dont have to feed
    you can be treatment free, and market accordingly
    and you only have to work it in the spring and fall.
    There is a commercial operation in france that uses them. so it can be done on a larger scale.
    I would think if you are after honey and not soo much the polination this would be
    a positive.
    It just seems using other systems have so much gear that drives down your profit.
    Please let me restate I am just wondering out loud and this is only my first full year with my warre, please excuse my ignorance.

  19. #79
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    There may be some kind of niche market for Warré hives, but most people in the US who want to make money out of a Warré business, have found they have to do it by making and selling more Warré hives, and also running courses on them.

    Possibly the reason nobody is running a commercial Warré business they could live on, is Warré hives are 1/2 the size, so would not get the pollination money a lang does, except maybe in some type of niche situation. I've also been told by a Warré expert that the annual honey crop from a Warré would be something between 30 to 60 pounds or even less, and that just not going to pay the bills.

    Another problem from a commercial perspective is that Warré hives are supposed to be treatment free. Commercial beekeepers need to maintain their hives in a treated environment there is no successful TF commercial honey producing migratory operation in the US. Warré hives have been promoted as not needing treatment, but now there's more of them around some people are starting to come out about losing them. Warré hives get mites and die of mites just like any other hives and a commercial outfit cannot withstand this.

    The honey has to be extracted by crush and strain, in a large operation this will be a lot more labor intensive than extracting frames.

    Having said all that, there may be a niche for somebody with the needed charisma, to run a Warré business, but it would require a personality that could convince people they need his hives on their orchard and should pay rent for them, and likewise convince a market sector to pay a lot more for his honey. But my feeling is that there are those who have tried, it's a hard road.

    But I'm not knocking the hive, for a hobbyist they may offer some advantages. Other than lifting the whole hive to nadir it, the hive management is less work. There is also less knowledge required. Although people who buy too much into the "leave it alone" philosophy, can be left floundering when something actually does go wrong.
    Last edited by Oldtimer; 12-22-2011 at 11:43 AM.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  20. #80
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    BTW, thought I better back up my claims about Warrés and varroa. Maybe a year or so ago a member here, beez2010, who was trying to run a Warré business, was on the forum telling everybody his Warré hives did not suffer from varroa, and was telling his clients this also. He and I had a major argument over this as when his hives died he didn't know enough to say what it was that had killed them.

    Anyhow I just googled his own web site, and to my surprise, reality has dawned, here is a link to his latest position on the matter, he actually states that if you don't treat your Warré hives they will likely die of varroa. BTW he still hasn't got all his facts right, but he is moving in the right direction.
    http://www.thewarrestore.com/treatingforvarroa.htm
    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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