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  1. #1
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    Default Nuc/Bee business plan?

    Hello all!

    I have spent the past year with a commercial beekeeper. He took time to explain how to build an apiary to maximize honey production.

    I was just curious if anyone knew where to get a business plan that focuses on selling bees. I understand that to be successful you need to diversify but I simply don't know anything about producing bees to sell.

    Can anyone point me in that direction --post, website, youtube? Is there a simple model any of yall use?

    For example....1 double deep hive split into 4 nucs....sell 3 of them at $150....get $450 x100 hives...$45 k.

    Am I on the right track? Or can yall split a hive into more than 4 nucs?

    Pardon the ignorance on this issue

  2. #2
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    Jan 2014
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    Larimer County, CO, USA
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    Default Re: Nuc/Bee business plan?

    I'm starting down the same road you're on. My recommendation I have is take a good look at a local Small Business Development Center. They can help work you through the business plan. I tacked on 20% over what I projected in start up costs. It is more like 50% as all the little things add up.

  3. #3
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    Mar 2013
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    Laredo, Texas
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    Default Re: Nuc/Bee business plan?

    This is something that I've been dreaming about for a year now. Only recently it's starting to seam like something I could possibly do. I would check out Michael Palmer's operation. He has two long discussions on youtube about the 'sustainable apiary' and 'queen rearing' in the sustainable apiary. Then he also has quite a few shorter videos.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Nuc/Bee business plan?

    I would gently suggest you need to learn how to be a good beekeeper before you can consider becoming a good supplier of nucs, and if you were a good beekeeper you would know the answer to your splitting question.

    JMHO
    --shinbone
    (3rd year, 14 hives, Zone 5b, 5400 ft, 15.8" annual rainfall)

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Nuc/Bee business plan?

    Quote Originally Posted by shinbone View Post
    if you were a good beekeeper you would know the answer to your splitting question.

    JMHO
    Thanks man! Nice to see you helping!

  6. #6
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Nuc/Bee business plan?

    Quote Originally Posted by shinbone View Post
    I would gently suggest you need to learn how to be a good beekeeper before you can consider becoming a good supplier of nucs, and if you were a good beekeeper you would know the answer to your splitting question.

    JMHO
    I have to disagree with that. Business and beekeeping (construction, programming, physician...) abilities and experience are not at all the same things.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  7. #7
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    Jul 2012
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    Ash Grove MO. USA.
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    Default Re: Nuc/Bee business plan?

    My intentions are somewhat like yours. Only I want to sell honey and bees. I want 50 hives by the time I retire in 7 years. By this time I'll know what the market is for bees and honey.

    It's really easy to build a queen. But there's a learning curve to building a good queen. The only way you can know if your queen is a good one is keep her yourself and see how she performs over time.
    When I first started building nucs most didn't survive until fall. These queens all looked good and layed fine for a month or maybe three but they wouldent last.
    Any more 3 year old queens that are still laying machines are common enough they don't surprise me but most will be superseded in their second year.

    I've only bought one queen in my life and I wasn't impressed with her. I suspect a lot of queens are mass produced by what I read on the Internet. I think a good many of the queens you buy will be superseded before their a year old.
    I could be wrong, I often am.
    Woody Roberts

  8. #8
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    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Nuc/Bee business plan?

    Actually I would have to agree with post #4, heeding it can avoid a lot of pain later. But also agree with post #6, a business plan is another issue, both have to be in tune.

    I say this because over the years I've seen a lot of people start bees because they think it will be an easier option than their current business, they have the business skills down pat but never quite get in tune with the bees & it becomes a disaster, I have seen (and am still seeing in progress) some heart rending situations where people have their lives torn apart.

    However if CWoods has already spent a year working for a commercial beekeeper he must surely have a reasonable understanding of bees.

    Just how to go about it will depend on the climate & environment where it is done. My own little retirement bee business is based mainly on selling single deckers to the burgeoning Manuka honey industry, basically it's simple I just raise cells and split hard into 3 frame nucs that after the queen has mated get put in a single & have some package bees added. I just keep doing this all season & am able to sell hive numbers several multiples of the hive numbers I actually own.

    However I'm in a perfect climate for this, warm, so weak splits can survive, no SHB, and long flows.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Nuc/Bee business plan?

    Quote Originally Posted by CWoods View Post
    Thanks man! Nice to see you helping!
    Sorry if my reply came across as insensitive, but that is the reality of the situation - a business plan is irrelevant if you don't know how to keep bees.

    Nothing wrong with being an inexperienced beekeeper. We all start at square one. I am just a beginner, myself.
    --shinbone
    (3rd year, 14 hives, Zone 5b, 5400 ft, 15.8" annual rainfall)

  10. #10
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    Jun 2013
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    Lake County, IL
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    26

    Default Re: Nuc/Bee business plan?

    Fat bee man has good videos on youtube....

  11. #11
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    Grand Rapids, Ohio
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    Default Re: Nuc/Bee business plan?

    I'm mostly a honey producer, but there is always room for selling some bees. I'm one for shaking packages over selling nucs, because your not losing your combs. I buy all my queens for the packages, so all I have to do is shake the extra bees into cages and just add queen and can of feed. $$$$$$$$

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Nuc/Bee business plan?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Honey Householder View Post
    I'm mostly a honey producer, but there is always room for selling some bees. I'm one for shaking packages over selling nucs, because your not losing your combs. I buy all my queens for the packages, so all I have to do is shake the extra bees into cages and just add queen and can of feed. $$$$$$$$
    Good Call Householder! Just for curiosity, is there an average time of year you shake your bees? I bet it is chilly in Ohio until April or May. Do you think doing some packages has any effect on your overall honey averages? Thanks for your time!

  13. #13
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    Jul 2013
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    Mirabel, Québec, Canada
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    Default Re: Nuc/Bee business plan?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Honey Householder View Post
    I'm mostly a honey producer, but there is always room for selling some bees. I'm one for shaking packages over selling nucs, because your not losing your combs. I buy all my queens for the packages, so all I have to do is shake the extra bees into cages and just add queen and can of feed. $$$$$$$$
    Combs should be replaced periodically. I'd rather sell the comb, and always have fresh new comb and clean frames for my colonies, than to accumulate old frames and comb that must eventually be discarded anyways. The comb is factored in the price of the nuc anyways.
    www.apisrustica.com (French-only website) Bee Breeding: Canadian nuclei & queens / northern hygienic bees

  14. #14
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    Jan 2013
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    Lumpkin County, GA
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    Default Re: Nuc/Bee business plan?

    I am considering selling whole hives that over wintered. The customer will know the genetics are strong and that the hive will produce honey the first year. I would sell a single deep with a medium super with all the woodenware for around $500. I need to calculate what the break even point will be taking into account things like feed, treatments, etc. but I figured $500 will provide a reasonable profit.
    Has anyone considered selling whole hives as a possible product?
    Thanks!

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Nuc/Bee business plan?

    Here's a guy selling single 10-frame deeps for $220. I've bought nucs from him the last two years, and his nucs usually pull in a good honey crop with enough surplus for a decent harvest. In other words, he supplies good bees.

    http://www.grampashoney.com/buy-live...gle-deep-hive/

    In general, prices vary by region and certain clientele may pay more for certain features, but for me I would question whether being over wintered and having an additional medium super is worth an extra $280.
    --shinbone
    (3rd year, 14 hives, Zone 5b, 5400 ft, 15.8" annual rainfall)

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Nuc/Bee business plan?

    Quote Originally Posted by shinbone View Post
    Here's a guy selling single 10-frame deeps for $220. I've bought nucs from him the last two years, and his nucs usually pull in a good honey crop with enough surplus for a decent harvest. In other words, he supplies good bees.

    http://www.grampashoney.com/buy-live...gle-deep-hive/

    In general, prices vary by region and certain clientele may pay more for certain features, but for me I would question whether being over wintered and having an additional medium super is worth an extra $280.
    oh great, now I'm kicking myself for buying a few packages instead of a hive from him haha

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Nuc/Bee business plan?

    Quote Originally Posted by ceebee View Post
    oh great, now I'm kicking myself for buying a few packages instead of a hive from him haha
    This year I bought from Grampa's Gourmet a hive and an extra queen to split the hive into the equivalent of two nucs. Like I said above, so far, I have had good luck with his bees. Last year, the two nucs I bought produced over 100 lbs of honey, each, and that was during a drought year.
    Last edited by shinbone; 04-09-2014 at 01:20 PM.
    --shinbone
    (3rd year, 14 hives, Zone 5b, 5400 ft, 15.8" annual rainfall)

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Nuc/Bee business plan?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dominic View Post
    Combs should be replaced periodically. I'd rather sell the comb, and always have fresh new comb and clean frames for my colonies, than to accumulate old frames and comb that must eventually be discarded anyways. The comb is factored in the price of the nuc anyways.
    I have combs in my operation that is over 70+ years. Sell a package for $100 or sell a nuc with all the equipment for $135. Don't get me wrong we do put 1000-2500 new brood frames into the operation, but its to keep increasing.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Nuc/Bee business plan?

    Quote Originally Posted by CWoods View Post
    Good Call Householder! Just for curiosity, is there an average time of year you shake your bees? I bet it is chilly in Ohio until April or May. Do you think doing some packages has any effect on your overall honey averages? Thanks for your time!
    7 year average is 157 lbs. I start my hives in the spring with 2 lb packages from the south and I split 35-40% of those. If the hives are still to heavy with bees we shake package bees in May to sell to local guys that can't get them. We shoot for an avg. of 6-7 lbs of bees to start the honey flow and finish at 8-11 lb of bees per hive by the main flow.

  20. #20
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    Apr 2014
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    Default Re: Nuc/Bee business plan?

    Thanks Householder! Great info! I really like getting advise from different people. Super thankful for guys like yall!

    CW

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