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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Avon, CT
    Posts
    41

    Default Youngster trying to make a go

    Ill try to keep it simple

    -20 yr old from Connecticut
    -Work with my father landscaping, cutting grass and blowing leaves
    -Im trying to get away from small business, sick of the people and nitty gritty management
    -Been keeping bees 4 years (first 2 years were those "2 hive" setup deals that failed was too young and dumb) so lets really call it 2 years experience
    -2014 started with 2 hives split up to 8 hives
    -2015 started with 5 hives split up to 25, a couple are VERY small nucs that never jump up to size
    -2016 looks like ill probably start with 15-18 after my winter losses.
    -I have a 10 hive apple pollination contract for 2016 at $80 ea.
    -Been mentored for the past 2 years every sunday by a local commercial beek
    -Have plenty of heavy equipment and trucks to use whenever i want.
    -looking to go big, large pollination gigs and bulk honey

    Im planning on purchasing 250 deeps, frames and foundation from mann lake on black friday and driving down to pa and picking up @ $9.35 each box, $0.75/frame, $1.05/foundation + 10% off
    Im going to make 4 way pallets.
    I should have enough equipment for 140 hives
    I will have a trailer with a 250 gal. tank with pump for syrup

    ??My Questions???

    Im thinking of running 2 gallon divider feeders in my hives @$5.65 ea....good or bad? Should i just open feed more insted of divider feeders.
    How do i go about getting more pollination contracts?
    Should i buy through mann lake?
    Should i buy some packages next year to bump up my numbers quick or just keep splitting?
    Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated
    ---Randy Kirk---

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    groveton tx
    Posts
    270

    Default Re: Youngster trying to make a go

    My advice is always the same. Work for a large beekeeper, and keep a daily journal. Ask questions of not just what we are doing today but why. Even better than that would be to work for two or three beekeepers over 2 or 3 years because every guy does things different. Oh and only work for the finest most successful beekeepers. Also, as a beekeeper you will also have to deal with people. Not just the land owners but the neighbors often times.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Avon, CT
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Youngster trying to make a go

    Thanks for the advise, I have heard that from many and read it a million times. Unfortunately im not in a position to quit my day job so im probably going to have to learn things the hard way. I've been trying to learn as much as possible from others through beesource and meetings but as you state nothing will beat the hands on experience.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Acworth, GA
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: Youngster trying to make a go

    For commercial operations $5.65+sugar sounds expensive. Look into Mike Palmer's feeding style.
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...r-bees-amp-why
    4 yr, TF, zone 7b, 5 colonies.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Benton county, Arkansas
    Posts
    799

    Default Re: Youngster trying to make a go

    Check Mother Lode feeders. I thin you can get them at a better price than Mann's.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrey Limonchenko View Post
    For commercial operations $5.65+sugar sounds expensive. Look into Mike Palmer's feeding style.
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...r-bees-amp-why

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
    Posts
    1,449

    Default Re: Youngster trying to make a go

    Quote Originally Posted by Beekkirk View Post
    Ill try to keep it simple
    -Im trying to get away from small business, sick of the people and nitty gritty management
    -
    Commercial Beekeeping is "small business".
    "Nitty Gritty" management is one of the most important skills in beekeeping.
    You can be the greatest beekeeper on the West Coast. But if you cannot effectively manage a small business in every detail you will not do well.
    Boxes do not equate to a successful beekeeping operation.
    Best of luck to you.
    I have exactly ONE hive more than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond dispute!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    1,020

    Default Re: Youngster trying to make a go

    What Harry said.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    4,575

    Default Re: Youngster trying to make a go

    Hmmm, is that a bulk discount price, I swear the 1 gallon feeders are like $7.50 here at the store in Woodland. Those prices seem fairly good on the boxes and stuff for the quantity. My advice, make your own tops as well. The best thing to do is plan ahead and network with some commercial guys, you can learn a lot of the business and hive management side of things that way.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    3,021

    Default Re: Youngster trying to make a go

    Stick with the Mann lake feeder, for the price and quality its the best option, the mother load feeders are not the quality.
    Get the cap and ladder system SHB larve pretty well get trapped in the feeder, and bees don't

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: Youngster trying to make a go

    I don't think I've ever heard of a commercial beekeeper not wanting to hire anyone eager to learn the trade or business, especially some of the older ones looking to sell their operation in the not so distant future. Cash flow is critical in farming and no offense, but banks aren't going to be in a hurry to lend to someone who is both young and has no business plan or significant experience. It's not just about equipment, you need to buy queens, fuel, insurance and plenty of other overhead throughout the year. Sit down and make that plan, even if you have your regular day job to pay yourself and make no income from beekeeping for the first year(s). Prove to yourself and your potential pollination customers that you can successfully overwinter your hives and deliver hives that make grade.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Benton county, Arkansas
    Posts
    799

    Default Re: Youngster trying to make a go

    Good to hear. I was wondering myself if there was any difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by lazybhoney View Post
    Stick with the Mann lake feeder, for the price and quality its the best option, the mother load feeders are not the quality.
    Get the cap and ladder system SHB larve pretty well get trapped in the feeder, and bees don't

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    3,021

    Default Re: Youngster trying to make a go

    5 years I have been useing them, still have every one and not a problem. Some times I will pop a rubber band with the hive tool, but super happy with that product. I have about 400 of them. I have quite literally given away all my other feeders to people buying bees. I use the 2.5 in a 10 frame box. it never comes out. I have some of the 2 also, there fine also. just a little more space.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Benton county, Arkansas
    Posts
    799

    Default Re: Youngster trying to make a go

    The Mother Lode feeders or the Mann Lake?
    Quote Originally Posted by lazybhoney View Post
    5 years I have been useing them, still have every one and not a problem. Some times I will pop a rubber band with the hive tool, but super happy with that product. I have about 400 of them. I have quite literally given away all my other feeders to people buying bees. I use the 2.5 in a 10 frame box. it never comes out. I have some of the 2 also, there fine also. just a little more space.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    3,021

    Default Re: Youngster trying to make a go

    the mann Lake. The 3/4 wood top is the quailty piece. the Mother lode top does not fit and seal well, and when the side bow from filling you get big gaps. the "ladder top" also tends to warp and distort a bit.
    Its not awful, just not as sweet as the Mann lake..... but back to topic!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    FRASER VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
    Posts
    1,702

    Default Re: Youngster trying to make a go

    Andrey L If you cannot afford $5.65 plus sugar for your bees, then best not keep bees.

    Jean-Marc

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Avon, CT
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Youngster trying to make a go

    Thanks for all the feedback. I will add that the nitty gritty management i was referring to is working for 100+ house wives in a town that the average household income is $150,000+. You wouldn't believe the craziness that goes on here. Im hoping this may lead to the possibility of moving out of here and having a life of meaning rather then slaving away for people who could care less about you.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    4,575

    Default Re: Youngster trying to make a go

    As far as growth goes, I came out of winter with about 20 colonies this year, a lot were nucs. I was able to split up to about 70 when all was said and done, I do buy some queens, some were walk aways, some were supercedures that got split, some where VSH daughter queens off II breeders that were grafted and mated for me by Honey-4-All (big kudos out to Phil). Some of the later splits were lost as the new outyard was devoid of any forage in late summer and fall but overall, I did a fairly easy 3X increase without feeding or anything. If you split as early as you can, with mated queens and put some feed on them, I don't see why you couldn't hit 100 colonies next year with some luck and catching swarms or ordering some packages.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    1,508

    Default Re: Youngster trying to make a go

    Quote Originally Posted by Beekkirk View Post
    Thanks for all the feedback. I will add that the nitty gritty management i was referring to is working for 100+ house wives in a town that the average household income is $150,000+. You wouldn't believe the craziness that goes on here. Im hoping this may lead to the possibility of moving out of here and having a life of meaning rather then slaving away for people who could care less about you.
    I was wondering if you were talking about the nitty gritty management of dealing with folks about their lawns and shrubs and hedges. Know people that makes decent money doing that locally. They offer reduces rates for retirees (area income is lower than yours considerably). The stories I hear about the complaints from people getting reduced rates for lawn care are crazy. They are never happy.

    Make good plans, get experience from commercial keepers and keep at it. There are some people making fairly decent salaries with bees.
    Started 9/13, building slowly, not trying the no treatment anymore

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Grand Rapids, Ohio
    Posts
    1,008

    Default Re: Youngster trying to make a go

    My kids say all the same about having to run this dang bee business too. They just wish they had a easy grass cutting job like they're friends do. THE GRASS IS ALWAY GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE. Grass cutting is not having to be done all night like moving bees. You will work harder for your $$$ in beekeeping then you will cutting grass.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    3,441

    Default Re: Youngster trying to make a go

    Pleasantvalley wrote:

    I don't think I've ever heard of a commercial beekeeper not wanting to hire anyone eager to learn the trade or business, especially some of the older ones looking to sell their operation in the not so distant future.

    Why should I hire some one that will slow me down explaining what and why we are doing things? And then have them leave in a few years? They would have to pay me.

    Crazy Roland

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