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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013

    Default For those aspiring Commercial or Sideliners

    I've seen quite a lot of questions here from people wanting some sort of framework to get them started along the road from hobbyist to something more commercial.

    Here is a paper from '92 that provides some of that framework and asks some searching questions too. Bear in mind this is an old paper and some aspects are no longer relevant to todays beekeeping methods.

    Obviously the costs are outdated, but at least it offers a framework upon which you could hang your own data and get a feel as to the viability of your proposed endeavour.

    It's a Pdf downloadable from here:

    Hope it helps someone

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Northern Virginia

    Default Re: For those aspiring Commercial or Sideliners

    That was kind of you to post. I did not think 2005 was so "old" until I saw he quotes $18 per package. Wow. I was in Florida a the UF Bee College last year. I was surprised to see that even there Nucs were $125 and $25 a frame for extra brood.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Hampshire, MA, USA

    Default Re: For those aspiring Commercial or Sideliners

    Quote Originally Posted by winevines View Post
    I did not think 2005 was so "old" until I saw he quotes $18 per package. Wow.
    The OG data was from 1992, so $18/package has been a while longer than 2005

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Greensboro, North Carolina

    Default Re: For those aspiring Commercial or Sideliners

    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

    Most important in the study was the overall percentages of expenses vs. income, at least in my opinion, and seeing the increase in some costs relative to other costs.

    Item In 1992 Now (2014) % Difference
    Package $18 $70 388%
    Queen $5 $17 340%
    Unskilled Labor $3.50/hr $9.00/hr 257%
    Bottom board $4.80 $5.00 104%
    Frames $0.42/ea $0.69/ea 164%
    Retail Honey $1.20/lb $6.00/lb 500%
    Wholesale Honey $0.95/lb $2.75/lb 289%

    Just some numbers to compare. I might not be fully accurate on them. But while queen prices, package prices, and labor expenses have increased, revenue has gone up just as much.

  5. #5

    Default Re: For those aspiring Commercial or Sideliners

    This board is geared towards the commercial honey producer/pollinator, not sideliner. I know very very few commercial beekeepers that retail even a small percentage of their honey. Of those that DO retail on a measurable scale I would think $6 a pound is very optimistic? Those few bottling for retail shelf space don't own those stores and generally sell well below final retail pricing, especially once packing expenses are added in.

    The current wholesale price of honey is more in the $2.00-2.20 range. This is semi lots in 55 gal drums, the standard for wholesale honey pricing to most of us. Yeah, it brings more in 5 gal pails but it takes a lot of pails to hold a couple hundred tons on honey, and a lot of time to fool with it.

    But even with a lower current wholesale price, it seems back in the early 90's the wholesale pricing was somewhere in the mid .60's area, so still a sizable increase.
    Maybe someone with a better memory than mine can chime in, but I seem to remember a couple years where the wholesale pricing was under what the government guaranteed, encouraging honey producers to just leave their honey in the government warehouses. That honey was eventually over processed and ended up in the commodity food packages. There are still people out there that think they hate honey because they sampled some of that truly awful honey.
    It would be interesting to hear what a colony taken into almonds in 1992 brought in compared to today...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Herrick, SD USA

    Default Re: For those aspiring Commercial or Sideliners

    Good points all Sheri. White honey is currently in the low $2.00 range. I first entered the almond "game" around 1998 and prices were in the $30 to $35 range. Honey had just fallen off its remarkable and short lived run up to around $1.50 per pound and was back around .80. We were thrilled to pick up that almond check and looked at it as a way to recoup some of our spring start up expenses and this was all long after the impact of varroa.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney


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