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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
    Posts
    2,061

    Default Nuc production cost

    What is your cost to produce a 5 frame Nuc in a new wood box?

    My number are:

    Box. $23.50
    Paint, glue, nails. $ 3.00
    Frames. $10.00
    Queen. $18.00
    Feed etc. $10.00
    Screen,cap,staples. $ 4.00
    _______
    Sub total.......... $68.50

    What am I missing?
    How do I figure my other cost? Time,brood,miscellaneous?

    If you have ideas how to lower these cost that is great!
    I'm most interested in your thought process on evaluating true cost.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Dexter,MO,USA
    Posts
    126

    Default Re: Nuc production cost

    I build deeps for about $6 each.
    Intend to learn grafting next season, so queens should be cheap.
    Flip side to these are labor costs. but i guess you still have to assemble a bought nuc.
    Don't know how labor intensivie producing 20-50 queens would bee.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Fair Grove,MO,USA
    Posts
    1,665

    Default Re: Nuc production cost

    I have $10.00 or less in a 5 frame nuc(not counting labor). Not counting the cost of the bees or queen, i do walk- a- way nuc's from my own hives.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Maryville, tn, usa
    Posts
    208

    Default Re: Nuc production cost

    If you are selling the nuc don't think you get to count the full cost of the box since you keep it for the next nuc... I have only sold a single nuc and I swapped my frames for his empty also didn't have to buy or build for the next split and his was all new equipment. I'd say producing a nuc is maybe 2-3 hours total time from a fall split to spring sale... I am no master woodworker and I got a deal on deeps so I cut them in half and made side boards it was cheaper than buying nucs and much less work than making them from scratch... hope to produce many next year will be putting equipment together over winter and work on queen rearing as well next year

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,924

    Default Re: Nuc production cost

    Jester nuc $ 8.50
    virgin queen $ 6.00 [or cell $4.50]
    5 frames $10.00

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
    Posts
    2,061

    Default Re: Nuc production cost

    I understand the prices of the items that are used to build the Nuc.
    My question is about the cost.

    Is the true cost of a build it yourself box $6.00, a jester Nuc $8.50 or a virgin queen $6.00?
    Gas? Shipping? 100% acceptance?

    Add $4.00 to my queen cost... I need to factor in acceptance and gas to go get them!
    I'm at $72.50.
    I know of course I have other options for the queen and the box. Until I think through all the cost the $10.00 for feed etc. stays. I'm not sure the feed part will be that high but it's the etc. that gets you every time!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Nuc production cost

    if you graft and throw together junk boxes to sale, the profit margin is close to selling dope. really. without the jail time

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Clifford Township, PA
    Posts
    2,082

    Default Re: Nuc production cost

    Building all my nuc boxes from scrap plywood, letting my bees draw out much of their foundation in empty frames and raising my own queens leaves me with the cost of frames, perhaps a few sheets of foundation and a few brads & a few squirts of glue. I don't think I feed full hives 10 bucks worth of sugar so the cost of feeding a nuc is less.

    Costs to create & prep a nuc for winter is maybe $10.00. Less if I cut my own frames.

    Wayne

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    FRASER VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
    Posts
    1,349

    Default Re: Nuc production cost

    You are definitely missing the labour cost. It all takes time no matter how you cut it. Either you pay staff or pay yourself. You did not include treatment costs for varroa and whatever elsemay be lurking around your hives. Then there is a cost associated with failures. Not all queens are accepted, not all will survive until next spring. Over here we have some sort of winter. Yours would evidently be milder. Typically if I make nucs with cells, we will get around 85% mated. We will lose another 10% before the fall, maybe 5-10% loss overwinter. Another 10% are to weak to sell. Add that all up and it basically takes 2 in the summer to end up with 1 for sale in the spring. If you use mated queens those numbers might be a little better come spring. So that 72.50 can easily come close to $100.00.

    Frames may only cost $2.00 out of pocket but there is also a cost in lost honey producion to get those frames built out. I'm not really sure how much honey it takes to build a frame, but just because it does not come out of your pocket don't think that there is no cost to it.

    Jean-Marc

  10. #10

    Default Re: Nuc production cost

    jean's point on labor and dwindle is an excellent point. They do love to dwindle. Specially down here in the 105 degree heat

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
    Posts
    2,061

    Default Re: Nuc production cost

    My $72.50 price included a mated queen. My $10.00 cost feed etc. was my way to place a value on drawn out frames, the prep to prepare hives to be split or expenses building them back after pulling splits. The two to get one comment would mean I would have to roughly double my labor. I'll have to pay attention to time spent. The dwindling isn't a cost excatly because those hives can often be combined but the opportunity or potential is lost. It is two steps forward one back or visa versa.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
    Posts
    2,061

    Default Re: Nuc production cost

    Quote Originally Posted by Skinner Apiaries View Post
    if you graft and throw together junk boxes to sale, the profit margin is close to selling dope. really. without the jail time
    It's also easier to make money with Nucs if your not feeding your own habit!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    mineral county,Montana USA
    Posts
    824

    Default Re: Nuc production cost

    i would think frames of brood would have their own value that would go into the asking price. i guess its not considered a production cost but they certainly are valuable.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
    Posts
    2,061

    Default Re: Nuc production cost

    I'm sure the brood has a cost/value. Maybe the question to ask of the brood is where does it have the greatest value to you?

    I find it hard to to imagine that I could produce a Nuc for less than $25.00. No offense Cam.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,262

    Default Re: Nuc production cost

    It is really hard to figure it out, but you can't ignore "opportunity cost". In this case the opportunity cost is the value that the assets (brood, bees, box and frames) might be realizing if they were otherwise occupied either pollinating or producing honey.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Winston Salem , NC
    Posts
    228

    Default Re: Nuc production cost

    We figure 5 replacement frames also. 10 total
    larry

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
    Posts
    2,061

    Default Re: Nuc production cost

    Quote Originally Posted by LT View Post
    We figure 5 replacement frames also. 10 total
    That might be the right idea!
    Even though you get the use of them the cost is a fair assessment of having them drawn out.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,850

    Default Re: Nuc production cost

    I'm a little confused about what we are valuing, and what "cost" we are coming up with. Depending on how you view it, the cost can be a wide spectrum.

    If you have 5 frames of brood (or some people use 3 frames of brood, one of food, and one of foundation), a queen, and a cardboard box, what could you sell each of the items for. Most frames of brood go for about $20 each in this area, based on my experience. A queen, on average, is worth $20-25. The box is worth about $2. So, if you were to piecemeal it out, it would cost $122-127.

    Or you can value it based on the out of pocket expenses you incurred. The cardboard box would cost you about $5. The JZBZ cell that the queen came from would cost about $0.10. The frames cost you about $2 each (assembled, w/ foundation). That means your out of pocket expenses are $15.10. The bees really do the rest of the work for you. Each queen that failed should be accounted for in a mating situation, but you aren't selling the ones that fail, you are selling the one that didn't. When the customer drives away with a queen, what was your cost to produce THAT queen. Not all queens divided by all queens sold. Just THAT queen. The box also doesn't count in my opinion. Most in my area transfer into your equipment, or pack it up in a cardboard box. You keep the wooden nuc box, so you don't sell it.

    Next you could look at the cost it took you to produce ALL your nucs, and divide it by the price you sold ALL your nucs for. If you make 100 nucs in the spring, and each one cost you $15.10 to make, plus another $25 each of woodenware, plus another $10 worth of feed and treatments, and you end up with 50 viable nucs for sale, each nuc cost you $80.20.

    Or you could look at the cost of the ENTIRE operation. If you need a hive to pull brood from, how much did that hive cost you? $200 new? How much in feed, treatments, time, gas, mileage, did it cost you per hive? How many hives are you running? If it cost you about $100 per hive to maintain them, and you have 100 hives that you pull nucs from, you only pull one round of nucs from each hive, and your expenses per nuc are the same as above, your expense then becomes $280.02 per nuc. Or if you add in the cost of the hives themselves, it would be $680.20 per nuc. But those numbers aren't really accurate. You would have kept and maintained those hives whether you were making nucs or not. And the cost to acquire the hives isn't accurate, because you get to keep them and reuse them next year.

    Or you can look at lost opportunity cost. If you could have used that same hive for pollination and gotten $50 per hive, plus another $70 in honey, you now lost $120 per hive. Add that to your costs above, and you are between $135.10 and $800.20 per nuc, again assuming a 50% take.

    So it could cost you anywhere from $15 to $800 to produce a nuc. Depending on what you consider a "cost" to be.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,924

    Default Re: Nuc production cost

    Quote Originally Posted by Mbeck View Post
    I find it hard to to imagine that I could produce a Nuc for less than $25.00. No offense Cam.
    Certainly no offense taken... I think it depends on your business model. I'm principally a pollinator and nuc producer. Honey is a by-product. So my cost to produce a nuc is not based on honey production lost, brood combs sold with the nuc, etc. I'm taking 60 nucs through the winter this year and will sell Jester nucs again next spring. I think that Jester's ability to deliver nucs to me at around $85.00 [remember he comes from Florida] speaks to the cost of nucs if that's one of your principal incomes from bees. Of course he's in the south, produces his own queens, gets his Jester nucs at cost, etc.

    My production hives are there for pollination in the spring, then I plan split them for new nucs and let some grow into next year's pollination hives.

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