Can I Make a Living from Bees??? - Page 2
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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa

    Default Re: Can I Make a Living from Bees???

    I'd wager a strong work ethic is also required.

    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

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  3. #22
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    John Day River, OR

    Default Re: Can I Make a Living from Bees???

    Lots of good information so far, a few more things to consider.

    Many people make a living from beekeeping, it is possible, but the question is can YOU.
    The biggest wear and tear on myself is from the emotional component. Beekeeping is an emotional roller coaster. Everything is going perfect one minute and the next everything is falling apart.

    Spend some time with a notebook or xcell spreadsheet and think very carefully about incomes and expenses. How many colonies will it take you to make what you consider a comfortable income? DO the math. Try to figure out what will work for YOU in YOUR area. What has been your typical honey crop? are your bees generally big enough to build nucs or shake packages in a marketable time frame (demand tapers pretty dramatically by mid june)
    Now consider how many locations will that take? Are there already other beekeepers in your area who might either get pissed of and/or be a valuable resource. Can you be a resource to other beekeepers in your area. And how will you handle the increased scale? Trucks, forklifts, boom loaders? WHAT ABOUT FEEDING? Will you buy syrup or mix? How will you distribute syrup? Will you produce honey? Will you extract your own crop in your own building or will you hire it out?

    I started with 2 colonies and have grown to 500, making a whole slew of adaptations along the way. It is totally possible if you are diligent, hard working, practical, and committed.

    The importance of Mentorship cannot be overstated. Personally, I was fortunate to spend several years working with a very good beekeeper. Mostly I helped them in CA during almonds and occasionally through the summer but it got my toe in the door for pollination, it got me someone I trust and can talk to regularly, and showed my how a mid-size commercial outfit can function.

    IN CONTRAST, I have also spent sometime working with someone who grew too fast. Consider this a warning. In my opinion it is a disaster. TRying to run more bees than they are prepared for, a constant state of crash and rebuild, trying to keep up, and it really takes a lot of the fun out of beekeeping. If it was my outfit, I would be a total wreck. Don't grow faster than you are prepared for and equiped to handle.

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