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Thread: Bees or honey

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    primm springs, tenn
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    29

    Question Bees or honey

    Hey Beeks i want some opinions about profitability. I am a three year old beek now and have a desire to grow in the Bee world. Really do like keeping Bees and selling their Honey but I am at a crossroad sort of speak. I have been reading a lot of articles about raising Bees for sale and I am wondering if this might be a worth while venture. I am planning already to do some splits early spring because my Bee supplier id really going up on his package Bee prices. What's the consensus of some of you long timers about raising and selling Bees?

    thanks genie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,337

    Default Re: Bees or honey

    I am not a "long timer", but you will find a lot of valuable points in this current thread:

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ersus-Packages
    It has 84 responses as I write this .....
    Graham
    --- Practical reality trumps philosophy!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
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    1,403

    Default Re: Bees or honey

    Selling bees can be lucrative, as can honey. The difference in my opinion is you are on the bees schedule if you are selling nucs, not so much if you are selling honey. I am going to lean towards selling nucs as my income to "help" support my beekeeping addiction! I find myself giving more honey away than selling it, just because its hard to charge my friends and family for something I am proud to produce..........thank God none of my friends care to keep bees!LOL

    I have sold enough honey this year to pay for all my bottles, caps and labels and have some money left over for buying some equipment, and this is without advertising or selling road side.

    Selling nucs is just another aspect of trying to make enough money to sustain this hobby, and a method to control swarming in your own apiary, especially if you want to keep a specific number of hives in your own apiary.

    Another thing to consider, if you provide a quality nuc, and word of mouth gets out, people will drive hours to pick one up from you, I don't think that same principle applies to honey so much!!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    primm springs, tenn
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Bees or honey

    Thanks to Coyote Creek Bees for your response. What you are doing is kinda what I have in mind. Last year out of just a single 2nd year hive I sold about 90 lbs of honey at the local farmers market and really did quite well. Now on the other hand, just a few nucs would bring in a lot more money.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,900

    Default Re: Bees or honey

    genie... The post by Radar Sidetrack is a good one to look at.

    I have sold both over the years, and there advantages/Dis for each. I like selling bees better, but, you do need some experience to get started. Making your own woodware is a plus, as you also get the profit off the woodenware also, and good Winter job. I would suggest to grow slowly.

    cchoganjr

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Default Re: Bees or honey

    Take Cleo's advice and grow slowly
    Good Luck, Mike
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,403

    Default Re: Bees or honey

    I wish we had Amish colonies out here in CA!! Maybe I can find some hippy colonies that could make some hemp hive bodies for me!!LOL

    I plan on growing to at least 20 hives this year, mostly by splitting my hives and catching swarms, with catching swarms being the number one contributor to the population increase. This way I am not splitting my existing hives down to much to try and increase, if anything I might requeen swarm hives with queen cells from my grafting learning process. Now that I have a yard close to home, I can have more opportunity to check on the bees more often than I have been able to in the last year since moving.
    Coyote Creek Bees

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
    Posts
    2,394

    Default Re: Bees or honey

    Quote Originally Posted by mike haney View Post
    Take Cleo's advice and grow slowly
    Take it from a guy that went to big too fast. This is wise advice but, the fun of building is addicting. I am at the point where I need a forklift so that is a 40k purchase or I shrink because I cant work them quick enough without it. So go slow and don't finance things. I am way too impulsive and really enjoy the mechanic's of the whole thing and like the building painting and toys. I spend 2-3 hours EVERY day doing bee things. If I miss a day I make it up. this is a ton of work for honey I can't eat because I am a diabetic.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,403

    Default Re: Bees or honey

    Eastside,

    How long did it take you to go to big? How many hives are you running these days?

    Are you mainly producing honey or doing pollination? Or other aspects of beekeeping?
    Coyote Creek Bees

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
    Posts
    2,394

    Default Re: Bees or honey

    I was between 150-200 last year, entered the winter with 140. Hope to get out of the winter with 100 plus Nuc's. I will add 100 Nuc's plus packages. Next year should be 200-250. (I lost a good number in a spraying problem or something on one of my pollination contracts, Plus three good bear strikes over the season in different outyards.)

    Pollination is the main thing. Honey is a pain and this winter I am trying to plan and market the several hundred gallons I got from last year. Keeping them alive in WA is a challenge.

    Now I have a full time tech job and young kids so this is a balancing act. 5 years from 2-200 so I learn in a big way each year good lessons and bad. Totally a hobby for now when I retire it will be something to keep me healthy and give me a purpose.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,377

    Default Re: Bees or honey

    Quote Originally Posted by genie View Post
    Hey Beeks i want some opinions about profitability. I am a three year old beek now and have a desire to grow in the Bee world. Really do like keeping Bees and selling their Honey but I am at a crossroad sort of speak. I have been reading a lot of articles about raising Bees for sale and I am wondering if this might be a worth while venture. I am planning already to do some splits early spring because my Bee supplier id really going up on his package Bee prices. What's the consensus of some of you long timers about raising and selling Bees?

    thanks genie


    The answer you seek is just like the answer to making money in real estate. Its all based on "LOCATION< LOCATION>LOCATION.

    It all make a difference where you are keeping the bees and where the people with the money are.

    Everyone here loves bees. To make a go at it big time you first need to realize that the stuff cost a ton to buy, maintain, insure, and move around. To get the money to do that you need to sell stuff.

    That might "bee" honey, pollination services, pollen, packages, and or queens. What you do with bees depends on doing one of the aforementioned while keeping the expenses below the sales. Which one you chose depends on your location and your access to the markets.

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