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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Boonville Missouri USA
    Posts
    32

    Default commercial beekeeping

    I am getting close to retirement from my firefighting career {2 to 3 years}. I have 3 hives know with 2 packages and 3 queens on the way. My plan is to increase to 100 or so hives in 2 to 3 years. Is it possible to make $25000.00 to $30000.00 a year with this many hives?

    Thanks for any info
    Dave

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    groveton tx
    Posts
    141

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    Maybe, I assume you will try to retail your honey and other bee products. No migration, no forklift, keep the expenses low. Seems possible.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Boonville Missouri USA
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    I plan on selling honey and other bee products. Honey in our area in Mid Missouri sells in the $12.00 to $15.00 per quart range (3 pounds). I also plan on trying to raise Queens, mostly for my use but if it goes well I may sell a few Queens.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Bellflower, Montgomery,Mo,USA
    Posts
    142

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    This is my second year with hives. I went from 2 last year (purchased nucs) to four this season. Due to my inexperience (split to late) I only pulled off 10 lbs from those 4. Are you planning on doing cutouts or collecting swarms to get to 100? How much are you planning to spend on wooden ware? Will you be selling your honey retail or wholesale? How soon will your retail sales saturate your local market? I'm not trying to be a wet blanket. I had great plans my first season. Good luck on your new year in beekeeping.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,406

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    If you are planning on selling at say $13 for 3 lbs of honey, and say your 100 hives produce 40 lbs of excess honey each, that's 4000 lbs
    of honey equaling around $17,000. Now, take out the price of wooden ware, bottles, feed, fuel, insurance, business license, misc equipment, loss of hives, treatments, and other hidden costs and you could make enough to buy a bottle of aspirin at the end of the season using a coupon!!

    This adventure is not cheap, and it takes time to catch up with the accruing costs, but there is a penny or two that can be made if everything goes right.

    My main money comes from pollination, and last year almost paid for my wooden ware........but not everything else. I sold honey also, but that paid for this years expansion.
    Coyote Creek Bees

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
    Posts
    1,870

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    Dave if you are a little creative with your marketing and you work hard at it you could make that much with 100 hives. Especially if you did some minor pollinating of say Apples in Mo. Its a tight retail market for honey in western Missouri, but push your product in farmers markets.

    Our experience is that many people in Missouri didn't care about good quality honey so long as it was cheap honey allowing Golden Heritage and others to out sell with the supermarket pricing of the honey. The best pricing we see was in the heart of KC while we were there. We would also sell alot of honey to the true food CO-OPs in KC and mead makers.

    Good luck on your retirement venture.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Hopkins, South Carolina
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    Sale the bees, nucs, hives, splits, swarms, queens and honey. A 100 hives is a lot to take care of just to sale honey. YouTube --FatBeeMan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    groveton tx
    Posts
    141

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    But if you start pollinating then you need to buy a flatbed and forklift plus be palletized. For 100 you can do that in the back of an old pickup I think, and keep all the bees in permanent out yards.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
    Posts
    1,870

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    Thats not true. Firefighters should be well adjusted to lifting heavy stuff and with a hired hand for such occassions pollinating on regular BB works fine. I know a local commercial operation of over 1000 hives thats not palletized and they do local pollination. Very doable, it just takes a little more physical work.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,849

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    I did pollination with a trailer and a dolly. I'm 71 years old and can still do it. You don't need to buy a forklift, etc. But I only pollinate a couple of orchards now because of the sprays. That's what you'll want to watch for.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    groveton tx
    Posts
    141

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    I stand corrected. I am 31 but feel like I have a back of what I think a 71 year old should have!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Lee County, Illinois
    Posts
    116

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    How will you plan to expand your numbers? Are you wanting to run double deeps? That's a lot of wood-ware and foundation that needs to be drawn out. Prepare now it'll help in the long run. If you can find a farmers market with large volume of people now that will start build a customer base and help you get rid of the volume of honey produced in a few years at retail.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
    Posts
    2,304

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    A used flatbed truck and a boom (picked up secondhand) will allow you to do pollination with up to a few hundred hives without hurting your back or going broke.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    I would say, get started, but don't quit the day job......

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,695

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    I heard someone say on here that the best time to start a bee business is ten years ago. It did not make much sense to me then but, now as I grow past 50 hives it starts to make sense. There are so many things to buy and pay for wooden ware alone adds up quickly not to mention upgrading extracting equipment. You may could gross that amount a year but, it will take you several years before you start clearing even half that much.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Kingston, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    271

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    This year I went from 2 hives to 18 by the end of summer. Got a deal on nuc single deeps in October for $150 each and got 25 more, so far I've only lost three of the nucs to robbing from the stronger boxes. All this was easy if you have the money and experience but now comes the hard part, ramping up for spring. Next get +75 supers ready for spring. Finding nearby bee yard locations for spring flow and sourwood after June. Controlling swarms in March through May and doing additional 10 splits in April. I've got the honey room already set up and have a small roadside market already. So will all this pay for itself? Don't know but I'm having fun.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Hopkins, South Carolina
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    with the money-experience and $150 each for a single deep you are all ready.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
    Posts
    2,394

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Fire Guy View Post
    I am getting close to retirement ... My plan is to increase to 100 or so hives in 2 to 3 years. Is it possible to make $25000.00 to $30000.00 a year with this many hives
    I read this and did not see there were only 3 zero's. I thought it was 4 and I was laughing. Now it is doable for 3 but, you got a lot of learning to do to make it work. You need more then 3 years to learn and grow. I would plan to goto 50 and stay for 2 years. Then move to 100 for 1-2 years then move larger. If you go to 100 in the next 3 years you will kill way more then if you grow slow. Mistakes are multiplied at that size and you will lose dozens of hives instead of one or two.

    Grow slow and keep your ff job a few more years then you wanted.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
    Posts
    2,721

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    With 100 hives I could have made 5 times this much!
    income:expense.jpg
    Go to Heaven for the climate, go to Hell for the company. -Mark Twain

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,758

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    $25,000-30,000 off 100 hives? So $250-300 per hive?

    Gross, sure. Net, not likely.

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