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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    84

    Default I would like to be a Commercial Beekeeper

    I would like to be a commercial beekeeper I only have 100 hives right now but next year I want to buy 50 extra hives and make around 300 hives next year after the almonds any advice? I have plenty of help (i have 6 teens). All My hives are migratory already and I need some advice of what to do i guess.

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,276

    Default Re: I would like to be a Commercial Beekeeper

    How are you set financially? Do you have the equipment necessary to expand? Do you need to make income from your bees after almond pollination?

    If you have the money, you can buy equipment and queens and split everything not intending to make a crop of honey. Split after almonds and let them build up a cpl rounds of brood and split again. You'll probably have to feed them syrup and protein patties to help them build brood, bees, and comb. And then get them built up for next Winter. I'm sure there are others who could advise you further.

    Maybe you have some more specific questions?
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: I would like to be a Commercial Beekeeper

    Whats a affordable forklift? and I already have a gooseneck that can fit 150 hives at once and a Gmc Serria Dually but i dont have a forklift

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,276

    Default Re: I would like to be a Commercial Beekeeper

    R u planning on putting the skidsteer on the same trailer as the hives? Do you double stack the hives on the trailer?

    I don't know what affordable is to you. You'll have to shop around. There are Bobcat's and Swingers and other kinds that all work. If you can afford to I would concentrate on quality over affordability. You are going to have this machine a long time.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,426

    Default Re: I would like to be a Commercial Beekeeper

    Quote Originally Posted by Father & Sons Apiary View Post
    ?I have plenty of help (i have 6 teens).

    Thank you
    Are your teens keen on beekeeping? Is it high on the list of what they would like to do with their teenage life? If they are teenagers they will be off to college before you know it...and you will still have 300 hives and no teenagers.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: I would like to be a Commercial Beekeeper

    They all love doing beekeeping and My moms dad is a beekeeper and my sons are still only 8,10,12,14,16,18

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: I would like to be a Commercial Beekeeper

    Im gonna look around on craigslist but If i can make 300 next year i can make 600 the other year thats what I want

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    6,602

    Default Re: I would like to be a Commercial Beekeeper

    Quote Originally Posted by Father & Sons Apiary View Post
    I need some advice of what to do i guess.
    Sharpen that pencil a bit more,
    here is a good start, how about you tell us how much money its going to take you to get to 600 hives in your predicted time frame, then we will tell you what you have missed
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    1,272

    Default Re: I would like to be a Commercial Beekeeper

    I WOULD NOT DEPEND ON TEENS, THEY WILL FOR SURE REACH A POINT WHERE THEY WILL WANT TO GO THEIR OWN WAY.

    IF YOU WANT TO GET RICH WITH TEENAHERS, THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT. BUY THEM FOR WHAT THEY ARE WORTH, AND SELL THEM FOR WHAT THEY THINK THEY ARE WORTH.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    groveton tx
    Posts
    160

    Default Re: I would like to be a Commercial Beekeeper

    I have heard that Oregon is over run with bees and is hard to make a honey crop. It is going to be tough to have good bees if they are under nourished. And if your bees make one paycheck per year: almond rental, then why bother. One major die off and it's over. If you are in good honey production area, I think you would be better to lease bees for honey production to increase your capitol with out having to keep them alive in the winter.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,624

    Default Re: I would like to be a Commercial Beekeeper

    With 6 sons who needs a forklift? Seriously, though, the best suggestion I could make is to emulate (that's a better word than copy) an operation near you that has a successful business plan. All beekeeping is local, different flows and buildup in different areas. What you are suggesting is certainly doable but the costs to get from where you are to where you want to be are significant and should not be underestimated. Build up at an affordable and sustainable pace. Spending much money on a forklift at this point would seem to be putting the cart before the horse I would think.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Holt FL
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: I would like to be a Commercial Beekeeper

    The heavy equipment side of the business is really down the road for you. If You do have a labor force that you have under your control, then moving, lifting and working the hives will not be an issue at this point. Now you need a business plan! I would first work your cost and monies structure. Like the guys said, this will determine how large and how fast you can afford to go. There are hundreds of Apiary Business Plans online, just google and you will find.

    A good easy guesstimate is to structure your immediate needs, then wants. Breakdown your first year goals into real costs and write a short term plan based on your five year goals. A business plan will help keep you focused and on track. It will also help you if you need to borrow monies from a lender (be it a bank, family or friend). A plan will show that you are thinking things out, it will help you think ahead and will help you recognize weak areas.
    Fail to plan, plan to fail.

    Best Regards to Your Success!
    "Some of it's Magic, and Some if it's Tragic!" Jimmy Buffet

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ravenna, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    306

    Default Re: I would like to be a Commercial Beekeeper

    There is going to be a 2-day conference "on every aspect of migratory beekeeping" called the "Miles to Go - Program" October 5th and 6th, 2013 at AI Root, in Medina Ohio.

    They are having Dave Hackenberg, (John Miller) Miller's, (Jim Doan) Doans Honey, Hummerbee and Paramount Farms there.

    They are going to be practicing loading and unloading trailers with Bobcats and swingers and discuss every other practical aspect of commercial beekeeping.

    $100 for first person, $50 for second in group. Call Kim Flottum at 800.289.7668 X 3214 or Amanda at X3255 or email Kim or Amanda.
    Blue Sky Bee Supply
    Quality Bee Supplies, Bees and Containers!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
    Posts
    2,359

    Default Re: I would like to be a Commercial Beekeeper

    "With 6 sons who needs a forklift? "

    Lol ask any of my grown children about hand loading hundreds of hives in and out of orchards in the black of night.
    And its true , they will grow up move away and you will still have all those hives to move. By then, if you are still in it, you will have your trucks and forklifts.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    New York City, NY
    Posts
    4,317

    Default Re: I would like to be a Commercial Beekeeper

    Father & Sons:

    You've got a great location, right on the northern leg of migratory almond, etc., pollination.

    You're already on pallets? I hope that's what you mean when you say migratory.

    You've got all of the ingredients for a family business.

    And, you've got the 'pedigree' to boot.

    If you where to ask me, keep them all on pallets so that you can sell them easily to anyone doing migratory pollination work.

    That's end of season revenues right there. They all go south in the fall/early winter, so you don't have to overwinter them yourself.

    As for numbers, I would suggest having full trailer loads. So, you're going to need a minimum of 400-500 strong for sale.

    Pardon me for asking, but what kind of operations did you have in mind?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,276

    Default Re: I would like to be a Commercial Beekeeper

    Quote Originally Posted by blueskybeesupply View Post
    There is going to be a 2-day conference "on every aspect of migratory beekeeping" called the "Miles to Go - Program" October 5th and 6th, 2013 at AI Root, in Medina Ohio.

    They are having Dave Hackenberg, (John Miller) Miller's, (Jim Doan) Doans Honey, Hummerbee and Paramount Farms there.

    They are going to be practicing loading and unloading trailers with Bobcats and swingers and discuss every other practical aspect of commercial beekeeping.

    $100 for first person, $50 for second in group. Call Kim Flottum at 800.289.7668 X 3214 or Amanda at X3255 or email Kim or Amanda.
    Do you suppose they will be using hives w/ live bees in them? I woulkd expect iyt to be harder tgo load a semi load of empty hives. All of those loose boxes.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    780

    Default Re: I would like to be a Commercial Beekeeper

    Call up hummerbee and see if they have any used swingers or hummers or buy a new swinger 1k. The loader is a very important machine.

    You will need a second truck to pull the loader. You will need a well paying day or job or get loans to get into the business.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Polk County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    252

    Default Re: I would like to be a Commercial Beekeeper

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Do you suppose they will be using hives w/ live bees in them? I woulkd expect iyt to be harder tgo load a semi load of empty hives. All of those loose boxes.
    Theres a flyer in this months Bee Culture. It says all the hive bodies will be empty .

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,276

    Default Re: I would like to be a Commercial Beekeeper

    Then I hope they are stapled or strapped.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Polk County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    252

    Default Re: I would like to be a Commercial Beekeeper

    Here ya go:

    http://www.beeculture.com/content/MILES%20TO%20GO.pdf

    Would like to go myself, but the 800 miles and less than 2 weeks away does me in.

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