Making a living with bees - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Making a living with bees

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksbees View Post
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nznzpiWEI8A

    A small video that covers Michael Palmers history and how he does things. In fact, going to watch it again.
    It's possible Michael Palmer is an old back to the land hippie like me.

    Thanks!

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  3. #22
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    Default Re: Making a living with bees

    I've watched every video of his I can find many many times.He is so inspiring.

  4. #23
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    Default Re: Making a living with bees

    National Honey Show

    Quote Originally Posted by RudyT View Post
    the National Honey Board lectures have excellent video and sound -- and with Michael Palmer, excellent and inspiring content.

  5. #24
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    Default Re: Making a living with bees

    Back to the land movement, eh?


    Quote Originally Posted by tnmtn View Post
    It's possible Michael Palmer is an old back to the land hippie like me.

    Thanks!

  6. #25
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    Default Re: Making a living with bees

    What about product mix? There are a lot of things that bees produce. Honey, wax, nucs, and queens just to name a few. How does one go about deciding the best one(s) to pursue?

  7. #26
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    Default Re: Making a living with bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Back to the land movement, eh?
    Early 70's- left the suburbs of Buffalo for the wilds of Appalachia. It didn't take long to learn that if I wanted to eat I had to figure out how to put a seed in the ground and make it turn into food. Been here, with my critters and gardens ever since. But new to bees!

  8. #27
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    Default Re: Making a living with bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve in PA View Post
    What about product mix? There are a lot of things that bees produce. Honey, wax, nucs, and queens just to name a few. How does one go about deciding the best one(s) to pursue?
    Steve,

    In general, those who are most successful find market holes and supply/fill them. I don't think Michael set out with a plan to produce 32 tons of honey along with the nucs and queens. Those markets developed over time.

    My uncle use to raise and market over 30 acres of vegetables on his grain and seed farm. He never intended to do that. He sold some sweet corn seed to a neighbor who did pretty good but, had to leave his farm to sell it due to location. My uncle had a good location and started with a few acres of sweet corn and it grew from there. Customers would come and ask for this or that. He would try a little, figure out how to grow it, etc. If enough people wanted it he would grow more.

    Michael provides a good model of what has worked for him. His use of nucs allows for sustainability of apiaries. What and how you market will be different.

    Tom

  9. #28
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    Default Re: Making a living with bees

    Not only that, Michael's nuc model + Mel's late Autumn queen making model is
    sustaining my apiary for the last 3 years. Going on the 4th will be a big
    expansion here. The nucs will be growing rapidly without the mites to burden them in
    the Spring time. You have to plan the process in order to make it right.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  10. #29
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    Default Re: Making a living with bees

    Thanks Tom. That's sorta on the track for what I'm looking for, not just from Mr Palmer, but in general from other beeks that are making a few $$ in the process. What were the circumstances that made them do, or not do, certain things from a business aspect.

    I'm just looking for general input so I don't set about to reinvent the wheel so to speak.

  11. #30
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    Default Re: Making a living with bees

    stay on topic, this is a history of beekeeping forum, please move to appropriate forum.

    Joe

  12. #31
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    Default Re: Making a living with bees

    Quote Originally Posted by naturebee View Post
    stay on topic, this is a history of beekeeping forum, please move to appropriate forum.

    Joe
    Sorry I didn't notice where it was. I came from reading the mainpage which doesn't show where the threads are located.

  13. #32
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    Default Re: Making a living with bees

    Then move it Joe.


    Quote Originally Posted by naturebee View Post
    stay on topic, this is a history of beekeeping forum, please move to appropriate forum.

    Joe

  14. #33
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    Default Re: Making a living with bees

    Quote Originally Posted by hvacrich0 View Post
    How many people makes a living with bees, without sending them out for pollenating? Next is how many hives does it take? I know the first thing your going to ask is "what are you doing with them". Everything you can without sending them to California. Honey of course, nucs, full size hives, queens, swarm retrieval and cutouts. Basically anything that can turn a buck with bees. Pollinating cherry's and apples seems like good money in our aria till I started checking and was told I can leave the bees in the cherry yard for no more than four weeks at a time if I want them to live. I'm really not to interested in poisoning my bees or moving them every four weeks so Iv passed on the pollinating. My expansion for next summer is in queens and nucs. Hard to believe the number of packages and nucs sold in this aria every year. Biggest problem with this is we have a long winter here that pushes me into May or June to really get started. The bees are my retirement and I'm building them up as fast as I can till I get as many as I can take care of myself. My problem is I cant find anyone that's making a living with bees without pollinating. What's your thoughts on this ?
    I dont blame you for wanting to avoid pollination as I've also never enjoyed it. It can be profitable but it can have plenty of upfront costs in transportation and hidden costs in stressed bees. But if you arent going to have income stream from pollination (and eventhough I don't like pollination I'd probably still do it for the income flow), I'd want to maintain some diversification between producing/selling honey and selling bees, etc to provide a cushion if needed. This current golden age of money making in bees could come to a crashing halt in the future. I look around and see tremendous numbers of new commercial beekeepers and established ones getting bigger. But it wasn't that many years ago that just staying afloat was a struggle. All it will take is one change and the entire business will alter; whether that's a change in california water law or imported honey or something else but no market goes up forever. Not saying to avoid bee business, just consider what is needed for covering some of the risks.

    If you concentrate on honey, decide what you are going to do with it. Are you willing to get into honey sales which is an entirely different beast than producing honey? At one time, we retailed and wholesaled a good portion of our crop but that still only amounted to about 35-40 thousand pounds a year. Our sales were heavily driven by tourism and without tourists we would have never sold those numbers. On the other hand, I know of parts of the country where you could easily sell more than that retail. Gotta understand your market. However, once you start producing larger amounts of honey it simply becomes a commodity and you have to understand what you can sell it for vs your costs to produce it. Even when we could bottle 35-40 thousand pounds for retail/wholesale, we still had to get rid of the remainder of the crop at the bulk price so keep that in mind.

    And the vast majority of bee/nuc type sales are going to hobbyists at least around here. When large beekeepers buy bees its usually an entire operation (at least in the instances I know of). Backyard beekeeping has been a trend for about a decade now. It too will eventually come to an end.

    Just make sure you have business options for the future.

  15. #34
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    Default Re: Making a living with bees

    Quote Originally Posted by TWall View Post
    In general, those who are most successful find market holes and supply/fill them...... Those markets developed over time.
    This is key, without developing a new market you are competing with already established businesses who've gone through their expensive development stages, worked out their margins and priced their goods competitively, tough game to match them and make an income.

  16. #35
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    Default Re: Making a living with bees

    Quote Originally Posted by hvacrich0 View Post
    My problem is I cant find anyone that's making a living with bees without pollinating. What's your thoughts on this ?
    Bivocational.
    David Matlock

  17. #36
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    Default Re: Making a living with bees

    BigBlackBirds, thank you! That is exactly the sort of information I have been seeking.

  18. #37
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    Default Re: Making a living with bees

    Great post... I guess I'll toss in my 2 cents again. We talk about diversification but in the back of my mind I keep thinking I'm just nuts. This is my plan if I can pull it off. I just built a new store, hope to have it completed by spring. The nearest bee supply is 80 miles away, so bee supplies is a must. I'm going to offer honey extraction and bottling too. The store/honey house is going to have a certified kitchen so preserves and such can be processed. Of course I'll be selling bees too. Miss anything?

  19. #38
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    Default Re: Making a living with bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Hive5ive View Post
    Great post... I guess I'll toss in my 2 cents again. We talk about diversification but in the back of my mind I keep thinking I'm just nuts. This is my plan if I can pull it off. I just built a new store, hope to have it completed by spring. The nearest bee supply is 80 miles away, so bee supplies is a must. I'm going to offer honey extraction and bottling too. The store/honey house is going to have a certified kitchen so preserves and such can be processed. Of course I'll be selling bees too. Miss anything?
    I think custom honey extraction has potential or maybe I should say it deserves taking a serious look at.

    I know of operations with a few thousand colonies that have all of their honey custom extracted. Its an expense for them but so is setting up a quality honey house and manning it. Thats one potential market assuming there are operations around you that have the need and you want to invest that kind of money in stainless equipment, pumps, building, and have the time and crew to operate such an affair.

    On the other hand, I know a number of small folks don't want to do their own extracting or even buy the equipment for it. I have access to a nice set up that we used for years to extract but I don't have enough honey now to justify the time to setup the extracting room and clean up/tear it back down. I'd just as soon pay someone to run my honey and sure I'm not alone.

    So I think you have a few possible business options with extraction if you know your market.

  20. #39
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    Default Re: Making a living with bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    National Honey Show
    All of those videos were extremely inspiring, and completely changed our approach to how we are running bees here.

    My biggest complaint about them tho, they made Michael a very popular person for getting into bee events as a speaker, so it's almost impossible for our organization to get him scheduled in now.

  21. #40
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    Thumbs Up Re: Making a living with bees

    Second generation honey producer. Not only do I make a live at it. My Mom and Dad made a living at.

    It's been a long and busy season. 78+ tons produced this year. We sold a lot of nucs , and packages, and tons of beeswax (wax broker and retailer).

    The honey is bucketed and sold to the beekeepers, nothing get sold to the packers anymore.

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