I survived my first year of bee keeping! But now I'm broke...
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Sonoma County, Ca, USA
    Posts
    457

    Default I survived my first year of bee keeping! But now I'm broke...

    Well, I've been a bee keeper for 1 year and 3 weeks. (Got my first nuc 5/21/2015).
    I know about a million times more about bees now than I did when I started. And it's pretty obvious that I still don't know NUTHIN' about bees.

    The good news is that I started with 1 nuc last spring and now I've got 8 queenright hives without buying any more bees.

    The bad news is that I utterly failed to prevent them from swarming this spring and between the swarming and a terrible flow in this area I'll be lucky if I can even steal 5 lbs of honey from them this year and I'm going to have to feed them big time to get them through the rest of the year. sigh...
    I really hadn't intended to have so many hives so soon and hadn't budgeted for so much woodenware this year. My wife is quite unhappy that I've spent so much on hardware for my new "hobby" and don't even have any honey to show for it. I guess I should try to find a buyer for 1 or 2 of the hives and use the proceeds to buy myself a big bucket of honey.

    At least I didn't kill too many bees in my first year and the bees didn't make any serious attempts to kill me so I guess it's all good. Well, it's all good except for the cost and a pissed off wife.

    At least Mann Lake loves me. Or at least they love my credit card.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Hopkins, MI USA
    Posts
    915

    Default Re: I survived my first year of bee keeping! But now I'm broke...

    sounds like you know how to make "more bees" so you just need to figure out how to market them!
    zone 5b
    Back in 2019!

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    2,272

    Default Re: I survived my first year of bee keeping! But now I'm broke...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PN-Lka3nqm0


    Put an ad on Craigs List for your extra hives. I guarantee you will be swamped by calls.

    To pull a little more money out of the increase: drill an entrance hole in the brood box, and use inexpensive OSB for top and bottom boards for transport. Most folks buy hardware before they go looking for bees. If you must sell a retail top and bottom board, goose the price to cover replacement, or about $250 for a complete hive.

    A roaring single is worth $175 on a cloudy day, $200 if you want to wait for a customer.

    10 frames and foundation (about $3/ea) = $30
    Replacement cost for Box = $15
    OSB = $4

    Net $125-150

    If your hives are larger than singles, queen a split, and sell the old queenright portion as a single.

    One may increase the net by home building the box and going FL or wood and wax on the frames.

    My costs are
    Frames and Wax @$1.65 = $17
    Box @ $4 =
    Top and Bottom = $4
    Singles are $25 out-of-pocket

    A good approach to "bookkeeping" the hobby on its transition from money hole to self-supporting is to put the sales receipts in a honey jar, and only spend out of what's in the honey pot. When the pot gets crowded with a couple thousand, then you can start worry-worting on all the intangible costs and tax arrangements.

    California is hardly a honey producing state unless you want to chase the flows in a migratory fashion, however the whole state can produce baby bees like all get-out. Go with what we do best -- make nucs and starter hives to meet the spring demand.
    Last edited by JWChesnut; 06-10-2016 at 09:05 PM.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Salisbury, NH
    Posts
    508

    Default Re: I survived my first year of bee keeping! But now I'm broke...

    My wife knew I did something wrong cause I would just volunteer a back massage. Anyways, just saying, it works.

    Congrats tho. Hope your bees are healthy. Addicting isn't it?

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Richardson, TX, USA
    Posts
    378

    Default Re: I survived my first year of bee keeping! But now I'm broke...

    If you live in the city you have a good chance of getting a crop even during the summer....................or at least you do in this area

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Baroda Michigan
    Posts
    234

    Default Re: I survived my first year of bee keeping! But now I'm broke...

    Yikes, 8 hives is a lot. Im up to 3 on my first year.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Red Bud, IL, USA
    Posts
    1,810

    Default Re: I survived my first year of bee keeping! But now I'm broke...

    Don't expect your affliction to suddenly subside and to my knowledge there's no 8 step process; as hackleguy and JW said, you need to learn to manage the symptoms. Equilibrium can be achieved; well some of the time, well part of the time, OK every once in awhile. LOL

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Humboldt Co., California
    Posts
    558

    Default Re: I survived my first year of bee keeping! But now I'm broke...

    Started as a hobby, turned into an addiction. Like Eikel said -- looking for a 12 step program

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    3,388

    Default Re: I survived my first year of bee keeping! But now I'm broke...

    Haha, I'm in the same boat, except no one cares how much I spend but me.

    I'm up to 10 hives at the moment, but will be moving two to our first outyard this weekend and I think one hive is not going to make it unless I do some serious intervention (most notably, and new Russian queen). Only three or four are producing significant honey this year, but we should end up with a couple hundred pounds, enough to pay for all the lumber, saw blades, glue, nails, and paint I've been using this winter.

    If you have the tools, making your own woodenware is MUCH cheaper. However, not if you don't already have three grand or so worth of saws, jointers, and planers.

    Peter

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kirksville, Missouri USA
    Posts
    1,768

    Default Re: I survived my first year of bee keeping! But now I'm broke...

    Beebop, you could always tell your wife about the net worth of the hobby and it's future potential. Or you can trade a hive for a couple buckets of honey and say "Look what I just got out of one of my hives."

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    2,775

    Default Re: I survived my first year of bee keeping! But now I'm broke...

    That is one reason my wife always supported my keeping bees as a hobby, it kept me too tired and too broke to chase strange queens!
    42 + years - 24 colonies - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

  13. #12
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Brown County, IN, USA
    Posts
    646

    Default Re: I survived my first year of bee keeping! But now I'm broke...

    Quote Originally Posted by psfred View Post
    If you have the tools, making your own woodenware is MUCH cheaper. However, not if you don't already have three grand or so worth of saws, jointers, and planers.

    Peter
    Three grand? That would be nice. I make all my woodenware off a table saw I got in a trade (about $25-50 value), a $25 yard sale router, and a $125 miter saw from harbor freight. Save where you can when you can, and make money back how you can. Bees aren't all honey.

  14. #13

    Default Re: I survived my first year of bee keeping! But now I'm broke...

    I saw early while pondering beekeeping the wooden ware money storm coming so rounded up the few tools I did not have and bought an air nail/staple gun. I make all my own wood ware now and saves BIG bucks. Finding bargain lumber is very easy here and time spent in the shop building my own equipment is quality time.
    Cheers Bill
    zone 9b

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Mogollon Rim, Arizona 85933
    Posts
    747

    Default Re: I survived my first year of bee keeping! But now I'm broke...

    Quote Originally Posted by psfred View Post
    If you have the tools, making your own woodenware is MUCH cheaper. However, not if you don't already have three grand or so worth of saws, jointers, and planers.

    Peter
    I spent just under $500 for my mitre saw and table saw and router table and that all that is needed to make great wooden ware.
    3 grand give me a break, all a person needs is a router table to make excellent woodenware, and you can get a decent router table for 200 with bits and guides.
    a cheap band saw that work wonders only costs $75.00. one could just use a skill saw to make their woodenware if that's all they had...
    there is no need to spend thousands on tools up front.
    although it would be great if we were all rich custies with trust funds from relatives or using Dads shop, but we're all not and most don't.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Joliet, il
    Posts
    1,876

    Default Re: I survived my first year of bee keeping! But now I'm broke...

    I started out with 2 packages i turned those into russian. Both came out of winter huge and mean. Broke them up into 9 nucs sold 5 to pay for bee stuff. Bought 2 more queens split 2 more of the biggest nucs up now i got 6. I build my own boxes. But now im looking to buy frames and some foundation for starter strips. I now got a second yard so i can thin the hives out at the house. I sold nucs to finace my supplies. I only bought bees once too. I really dont know why people with hives keep buying nucs or packages when queens are cheaper. Im looking good so far. Gunna look at my 2 queens im introducing now tomorrow hopefully all looks good ill be 11/11 for queen introduction.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Lassen, California, USA
    Posts
    679

    Default Re: I survived my first year of bee keeping! But now I'm broke...

    Quote Originally Posted by Michaeljp86 View Post
    Yikes, 8 hives is a lot. Im up to 3 on my first year.
    Same here, I'm going into my 3rd year, and just split my 2 into 4.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    cokato mn
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: I survived my first year of bee keeping! But now I'm broke...

    I think that if you wanted to, you could get a reasonable amount of honey and still have bees next spring. It sounds like you are managing your bees to raise bees, you are succeeding!

    If you managed to make honey and raise bees, you may be failing.

    Some people manage to balance for bees and honey.

    Can you combine, super, move, trap and other techniques to get that balance. Do you think that commercial beeks are in your position or you need to change plans?

    If you pinched a queen and combined hives with several supers above, could you get honey? Do you want honey?

    I have no idea of your conditions, how much you invested in woodenware, how you got from one nuc to 8 hives, but with other moves, you may be extracting and selling honey right now.

    If it is a make or break with the wife, sell them all and buy her a nice bobble. 8 hives X $250.00 could get something she would like. I can buy more bees, not a wife ( although I have seen several nice rental units on craigslist Ha Ha). It sounds like you both are not into the bee thing, does she have a bee suit and smoker? maybe give her a hive or two, she may be able to wring some honey out of hers?

    It seems to be all about bee management, I know very little, I am a student.

    I do know that if what you have done didn't yield the result you need, it was not the right thing. Where I live, there is still time to alter the 2016 honey versus hive outcome. I will have honey this fall one way or another.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Rutherford Co. NC
    Posts
    549

    Default Re: I survived my first year of bee keeping! But now I'm broke...

    Give that woman some honey.

    You can take it a frame at a time and cut the comb into a large Ziploc bag. Then crush, then cut corner of the bag and let drain through a commander or strainer.

    Hint buy small half pint jars so you can give her a lot of jars and she can Finally!!!! Share with everyone she has promised honey when you were not there.

    If things are super bad pay the bees back with syrup.

    Give that lady some fresh honey.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Brookshire, Texas
    Posts
    234

    Default Re: I survived my first year of bee keeping! But now I'm broke...

    My wife does not mind what I spend on Bee Keeping because it is cheaper than a psychiatrist.

  21. #20

    Default Re: I survived my first year of bee keeping! But now I'm broke...

    Also cheaper than a bass boat hahahahaha.....
    Cheers Bill
    zone 9b

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