Where does it end?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Summerville, Ga.
    Posts
    28

    Default Where does it end?

    Last year about this time I joined the local bee club. At the first meeting there was a man that brought a 8 frame hive for demo. I bought it on the spot. While loading it in my truck he told me I would need another one for comparison. When that one came in I was told I would need spares for each hive, so I bought spares and more spares. Then the bees came in for two hives. So now I need a lot of information to keep these things alive. I bought three beekeeping books and stayed on the internet for hours. Somehow I managed to keep them alive during the winter and came out with two healthy hives. So now I have two active hives and two complete hives and a lot of spares setting in my shop. Then the swarm. Lost one set of them so I ordered two sets of package bees. Got to build more things, another swarm but I caught them, got to build more stuff.
    As of today I have 5 hives working, another complete 10 frame hive and a pile of spares in the shop waiting and a neighbor tells me I need to split my 8 frame hive.
    I only wanted one hive. Is this what everyone goes through? Where does end?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee
    Posts
    1,467

    Default Re: Where does it end?

    You cannot be sustainable and have just one hive this is often not talked about. You need to be able to go in the winter with a few extra if you plan on consistently having Bees and Honey every year.
    Feeding early patties. https://youtu.be/bUDd3vk7bgY

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    10,903

    Default Re: Where does it end?

    Well, since you seem to have more colonies than you want, become a seller rather than a buyer.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Loganville, GA
    Posts
    180

    Default Re: Where does it end?

    I know your pain, I started with three and am now the proud owner of six hives and two nucs. I am still learning how to manage swarming. I did not have extra equipment though. It seems to be all about swarm prevention.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Sonoma County, Ca
    Posts
    488

    Default Re: Where does it end?

    I am going tnrough thart right now. Started with 3 last year and now have 7. I started the spring hoping to catch some swarms and witn 2 in the last 2 weeks, i am now almost hoping the swarm traps stay empty.

    Right now i have gotten about 4 gallons of honey, so at this point i am paying about $500 per pound. With success comes problems, but they are good problems to have. If i go in to winter with 7 strong hives i am going to be forced to split and maybe sell some next year... which is a good thing but i didnt want to have this hobby turn into a job.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Sherburne County MN USA
    Posts
    161

    Default Re: Where does it end?

    It doesn't end. It just keeps getting better.
    It begins innocently enough. One hive then 2 . Spring splits and then you have 4. More and more supers. A deadout frees you up for a few months then you fill that. Cause you can. Mann Lake knows you by name. You start hiding the credit card bill so your spouse doesn't see that you've placed yet another order. But you NEED more boxes! More supers! More frames! Swarm traps! Honey jars! A shed to store it in!

    Dont fight it. Just go with the flow. Its an addiction that doesn't need an intervention.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    2,095

    Default Re: Where does it end?

    It ends when you put your hive tool away for the final time or you sell all the associated garbage needed to keep bees and just give up. Tends to be a visious cycle in the intervening days. For myself I hope that happens after the people responsble to close my casket place it in my hand for one final time before I'm off to the eternal spring build up and honeyflow where words such as mites and afb are never mentioned.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Ridgeville, SC, USA
    Posts
    560

    Default Re: Where does it end?

    For me , there is no end. My first goal was get them through 1st winter, done. Second , 10 hives will be enough, done. 3rd goal 25.hives, done. 4th raise my own queens, started. 5th goal 100 hives, on my way. I work 10 hour nights regular job, trap beavers for a couple large land owners , take care of my farm with a large garden and tend to my bees. 18hr and some over 20hr days and love it. Robert

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,536

    Default Re: Where does it end?

    This question occurred to me during my first winter as I started to confront the (new to me) prospect of swarming. What would I do if it required splitting each colony, every spring? I was told don't worry about it - you'll just be making up (winter) losses anyway.

    Well, I have had no losses, ever. So three became four which then became eight and now are shortly going to become fourteen to eighteen this year.

    So, yeah, if you figure out where does it stop - please post the answer, I really want to know!

    Enj.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    4,323

    Default Re: Where does it end?

    I started out with two hives. Now I'm up to 28. I'm on track for 18 more this season. I JUST started selling nucs this spring. You HAVE to do something to keep the apiary from expanding beyond your capability to keep pace. Once I retire, I'll have many more.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
    Posts
    2,278

    Default Re: Where does it end?

    it might go on till you get up to 100,000 or so. it is kind of like milking cows, an inherited genetic disease.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Loranger, LA
    Posts
    59

    Default Re: Where does it end?

    Just set a number on what you want to maintain and then sell everything beyond that. And sell them off in old boxes or disposable nuc boxes so you'll have equipment for the following year. I like ten dedicated production hives with 3 to 5 extra maintenance hives (old queen splits and such) which keeps me at 13 to 15 total. That's what I can manage happily and comfortably while working full time. Anything above that I have sold or passed on to others.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Kamloops, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,407

    Default Re: Where does it end?

    Maybe it stops when the apiary matures to the point where you have to harvest honey and discover selling it is a pain in the ...

    My plan is to grow till I have difficulty selling honey directly.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    West Jordan, UT, USA
    Posts
    1,124

    Default Re: Where does it end?

    I learned that it really is easier to keep 2 to 4 hives than to try to keep just one going. You are able to utilize resources such as drawn comb (ie; GOLD), open brood, queen cells, and more, from the others to correct a problem with one, or to replace a deadout. You will see differences in how hives behave and perform, thus learning more. The actual physical work is a little more, and inspections take only a little more time, which for me, is not a bad thing. When you have more colonies than your personal limit, you will be able to sell those $urplu$ hives.

    One lonely colony uses re$ource$ which you will have to buy. If it dies, you will be unable to make a split to replace it. You won't have drawn comb nor open brood if you accidentally roll your queen, nor queen cells. If you got bees in the first place because you are fascinated with them and drawn to them, you have only one alternative: a couple more hives. It never ends unless you set a limit and sell the surplus.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Brookfield, CT
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Where does it end?

    Same issue with me. I ordered two nucs for this spring, thinking maybe my 3 hives wouldnít all make it thru the winter (WRONG), they are booming. So I just had 3 swarms and 1 after swarm in one week. I did break up the brood nest and added supers in the middle of April trying to discourage swarming, but I guess I was too late.
    So, If I catch those 3 other swarms, keep the 1 swarm I did catch last week and get my two new nucís, Iíll have 9 hives. That becomes work. So, the three swarms around my yard Iím letting go. I only want 2-3 hives. Funny, Iíve been beekeeper for about 4 years. My mortality rate hasnít been great but Iím learning. Today WOW !!!!Ö. Canít believe it. Iíve learned a lot. Great hobby!!
    I thinking next year, if Iím as lucky as this year, Iíll try creating nucís. Havenít done that yet.
    20160508_133429.jpg

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    HOPKINTON, MA
    Posts
    253

    Default Re: Where does it end?

    Everyone is saying no or only few losses this winter. I wonder what the stats will show down the road (we should start a poll/survey). Was it just because the winter was so mild? Or, are we all learning how to treat for mites? Using OAV? Or...?

    Buy a $99 portable tablesaw and build your own boxes. For me wood shop time is part of the fun of beekeeping. I made snellgrove boards, quilt boxes, deeps/mediums, nucs, etc this winter in my basement, it's like stress therapy for me.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
    Posts
    2,278

    Default Re: Where does it end?

    some of these loss numbers i have heard are something like 40%+/- for the whole country for the whole of last year. beekeepers are getting better at starting new hives to make up for these crazy loss numbers.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Brookville, PA
    Posts
    332

    Default Re: Where does it end?

    That is the secret with beekeeping - there is no end to it.

    Everyone tells you you can't just have one hive - you need 2 to compare each oher and 2 so if something happens to the one you can remedy the problem.

    But honeybees multiply, so of course you either split your hives before they swarm, or catch the swarms they cast off. (Which as you have found requiries more equiopment and more money going out of your wallet.)

    It ends when you get to the point where you can't take care of any more hives (or go bankrupt!) When you get to that point, you either one of 2 options.
    1. Start selling hives to new people interested in beekeeping. (You can then tell them they SHOULD buy more than one hive so they can compare the two and remedy any problem.) (But this still means you are buying boxes and frames and everything - but you do get money coming in.)

    2. You say "Heck with the swarms." You say you aren't having more than X number of hives, and once there - you let them swarm as nature intended - and you let them populate your area. Hopefully you live in the country - so the bees can fill up all the hollow trees in the area. If you live in the city or town - well . . . . . people will then be calling you and saying "Hey, I have a swarm of bees in the wall of my house. I heard you are a beekeeper. You want to come and get them out - they are "free"."

    Welcome to the world of beekeeping.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Lee\'s Summit, MO
    Posts
    2,514

    Default Re: Where does it end?

    Quote Originally Posted by shaper View Post
    I only wanted one hive. Is this what everyone goes through? Where does end?
    I'll let you know. Started with 2 in 2006 and now have 35 production hives and am still catching swarms as often as I can....

    Seriously, it's a funny balancing act. Keep as many hives as you want, put an add on Craigslist for any hives above that. The lower the price the easier it'll be to sell them. If you want 1 keep 2-3 because if you have a hard winter you'll be singing the blues about not having any bees. Again, it's that balancing act.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Sonoma County, Ca, USA
    Posts
    457

    Default Re: Where does it end?

    Quote Originally Posted by Norcalkyle View Post
    Right now i have gotten about 4 gallons of honey, so at this point i am paying about $500 per pound.
    4 gallons would be about 48 lbs. You've got $24K invested so far?
    You're wife must be a lot more tolerant than mine!

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