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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Posts
    35

    Default Beginner Question: The Yearly Cost of Beekeeping?

    Hi guys,

    I was wondering about the yearly cost to maintain your bees.

    Particularly the cost to feed, medicate and house the bees.

    If you could advise this for the period of pollination seasons per colony as well as for winter I'd greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks again,

    Imperial

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Monroe County, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    170

    Default Re: Beginner Question: The Yearly Cost of Beekeeping?

    Per hive;

    Feeding in Spring and Fall = ~$15.00/25lbs sugar
    MAQS strips (10 applications per package, 2 applications per year, per hive, $47 pkg) = ~$10.00
    Replacing 1/3 foundation (based on 3 med honey supers) = ~$15.00
    Fumigilin-B = ~$20.00
    Wintering patties (box of 10, $20, 2 patties per hive) = ~$4.00

    I know that I am probably missing a few things that others may use. If you budget about $100/hive, you should be ok.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,071

    Default Re: Beginner Question: The Yearly Cost of Beekeeping?

    2012 numbers for my hives averaged to the total number of hives at the end of the year:

    No treatments.
    Fresh frames (may be just foundation or all new) -~$20 per hive average
    Some fed sugar in early winter: -~$2 per hive average
    Some produce honey: +~$40 per hive average
    Some make nucs: +~$40 per hive average
    Some queens sold: +~$6 per hive average

    These numbers are for 2012, a year of increase. This year, if it has the same conditions, will be much better as more nucs, queens, and honey can be sold rather than kept.

    With all due respect, if you're spending money to keep bees after more than a couple years, you're doing it wrong. Feeding and treatments (both things no hive should need) are going to eat your money if your main concern is dying bees. There is no need to feed in the spring whatsoever. If you're not stealing too much honey, there should be no need to feed in the fall either.

    As for treatments, I'm not going to tell you how to keep your bees, but I will give you the numbers. According to the Bee Informed national survey, no treatment increases survivability by more than 10%. A major portion don't do much at all, especially so-called soft-treatments. Some treatments and methods actually increase mortality. It's time for hobbyist beekeepers to move away from treatments. They make you dependent on chemical companies to prop up weak bees and upon commercial beekeepers to provide more bees when the last ones died.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Portland, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    240

    Default Re: Beginner Question: The Yearly Cost of Beekeeping?

    Solomon basically nailed it. If ALL BEEKEEPERS don't wake up, the only ones making a living with bees will be the chemical companies & supply houses that sell the stuff. Personally I want to keep my hard earned money.
    Beeman
    All things may be lawful; but not all things are advantagous.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Santa Rosa County, Florida
    Posts
    395

    Default Re: Beginner Question: The Yearly Cost of Beekeeping?

    2012 numbers

    Hopguard fall treatment ..............................$6.00
    Grease/essential oil spring treatment................$2.00?
    Frame/foundation rotation..............................$5.00
    Fall feeding to top off....................................$5.00
    Boxes,tops and inner covers last almost forever
    Bottoms need to be replaced occasionally
    I occasionally purchase queens in order to broaden my genetic base but this isn't necessary.
    Once you have made the initial investment in wooden ware the cost to keep bees is very low.
    My figures do not include the cost of honey house ,extracting equiptment etc.Those can run from zero to whatever you wish to spend.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
    Posts
    2,297

    Default Re: Beginner Question: The Yearly Cost of Beekeeping?

    Do you mean this survey?
    http://beeinformed.org/2012/03/natio...arroa-control/

    "beekeepers who reported treating for varroa mites lost 20 % fewer colonies than those who did not report such use."

    In my experience ,untreated colonies die from varroa,regardless of what strain of bees they are.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
    Posts
    1,687

    Default Re: Beginner Question: The Yearly Cost of Beekeeping?

    It would be cheaper if you keep them in your apartment over the winter so you dont have to spend fuel on feeding them. You can just go into the living room with a jar of syrup.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Beginner Question: The Yearly Cost of Beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by bmac View Post
    it would be cheaper if you keep them in your apartment over the winter so you dont have to spend fuel on feeding them. You can just go into the living room with a jar of syrup.
    lol

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Beginner Question: The Yearly Cost of Beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by loggermike View Post
    Do you mean this survey?
    http://beeinformed.org/2012/03/natio...arroa-control/

    "beekeepers who reported treating for varroa mites lost 20 % fewer colonies than those who did not report such use."

    In my experience ,untreated colonies die from varroa,regardless of what strain of bees they are.
    Which insect eats varroa mites?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,794

    Default Re: Beginner Question: The Yearly Cost of Beekeeping?

    Varroa treatments = $0
    Tracheal mite treatments = $0
    Fumigilin-B = $0
    Terramycin = $0
    Foundation = $0
    Feeding in Spring and Fall = $0
    Pollen substitute patties = $0
    Total costs per hive other than the original cost of equipment in a typical year = $0
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Beginner Question: The Yearly Cost of Beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Varroa treatments = $0
    Tracheal mite treatments = $0
    Fumigilin-B = $0
    Terramycin = $0
    Foundation = $0
    Feeding in Spring and Fall = $0
    Pollen substitute patties = $0
    Total costs per hive other than the original cost of equipment in a typical year = $0
    Wow, why so low? Also, what about winter feeding?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
    Posts
    2,297

    Default Re: Beginner Question: The Yearly Cost of Beekeeping?

    I think you will find the people who make their living from beekeeping will have significantly more inputs than those who dont.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Wausau, WI, USA
    Posts
    212

    Default Re: Beginner Question: The Yearly Cost of Beekeeping?

    Imperial, I suggest you go to Michael Bush' website and start reading. There's enough information there to keep you busy for days or weeks. Michael Bush is a well known and respected member of the beekeeping community and advocates for survivor stock bees and treatment free beekeeping.

    Wisnewbee

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
    Posts
    1,687

    Default Re: Beginner Question: The Yearly Cost of Beekeeping?

    Mike is correct. You will also see different takes on beekeeping depending upon what part of the world you live in as well. For example you have to deal more with moths, SHB then beekeepers in the north. Beekeepers in the north have to deal with keeping colonies warm on extreme winter weather and nosema more than those in the south.

    You might want to join a local club and get the locals take on some of these types of questions, less you are ready to jump into migratory beekeeping.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,071

    Default Re: Beginner Question: The Yearly Cost of Beekeeping?

    37%-29%=8% which is less than the generous 10% I mentioned. Percents depend upon which number is used as the denominator. I was speaking in the comparative sense since that's what we're doing, comparing.

    Properly managed hives should almost never need fed. If a hive cannot gather enough honey to survive the winter, why keep it around? Same with mites and diseases.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,308

    Default Re: Beginner Question: The Yearly Cost of Beekeeping?

    Isn't this the commercial forum? Seems like a lot of input here from non commercials. If you are making a living at this speak up , if not well..........

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Wausau, WI, USA
    Posts
    212

    Default Re: Beginner Question: The Yearly Cost of Beekeeping?

    Costs will vary as to the type of operation you are doing. A hobbiest is going to have different costs then a commercial migratory beekeeper. Such as transportation. If you're looking for the hobby cost I suggest asking in the Bee Forum. This forum is designed to be about Commercial aspects of the Industry. Most commercial guys do things "differently" then a hobby guy. Their income depends on making a profit. As my mentor told me, "learn about the bees first".

    Note that nobody has really told you the real expenses.

    Transportation- trucking to different parts of the country, north south movement and east west movement.
    Fuel- trucks don't run without it
    Vehicle repairs
    medications and treatments- All large scale operations treat or their bees die
    labor- owner and hired help
    insurance- business, health, vehicle, liability
    overhead- buildings, heat, electricity, water
    material handling- forklifts and trailers
    equipment- new and replacement, figure on replacing boxes and pallets every 7 years and frames every 3.

    As you can see it's the basic financial needs of every business out there. Actual costs vary as to the business location and business model, and of course management of the operation.

    No one can give you exact numbers because they are different for each business. And of course, these are confidential internal numbers only the owners and accountants know. How you control your expesnses is the secret to any successful business.

    Wisnewbee

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Wausau, WI, USA
    Posts
    212

    Default Re: Beginner Question: The Yearly Cost of Beekeeping?

    "Isn't this the commercial forum? Seems like a lot of input here from non commercials. If you are making a living at this speak up , if not well.......... "

    I agree

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,308

    Default Re: Beginner Question: The Yearly Cost of Beekeeping?

    Hey it isn't that others can't contribute something it's just that I assume the op posted here because he wants a commercial perspective on expenses and I'm reading some stuff that dosent seem to have the perspective of someone who is actually requiring his hives to make a profit

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Beginner Question: The Yearly Cost of Beekeeping?

    Hi guys,

    I am going to start with a few hives just to begin so I can get some more hands on experience with but I am asking these questions because I have the medium term goal of getting involved in commercial beekeeping both in a migratory and static business and would like to ascertain the costs that commercial beekeepers incur so that I can factor them into my future potential costings to gauge the profitability of any venture.

    You've all been very helpful and it's great hearing the differing views on the issue. As a newbee I'm greatly appreciative that you're sharing your experience and expertise with me, even when I ask dumb questions. Keep the great answers coming.

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