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ok, so the wife and I have agreed that we want to invest and take the next step in our small honey bee hobby and want to build it into a large hobby/small business. I have been getting a better grasp on splitting hives and rerearing queens but am also looking for a way to increase more expediently. I was thinking of purchasing some bees coming off the pollination fields possible next year. These seems to be one the most financially feasible ways to go when trying to acquire volume. Has anyone hear gone this route? I have heard that these bees can be pretty beat up by the time pollination is done with them? Does anyone have any other ideas for rapid growth of a couple hundred hives that wont break the bank? Any thoughts would be apriciated!
 

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That's what I would do, just figure it takes bees to make bees. If you can get a good deal after almonds, buy as many as you can afford then split like crazy from there.
 

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You need to crawl before you walk. Going from a couple to a couple hundred would be catastrophic for you. You need a bunch of equipment to it is also and that will take cash. I would go to 50-80 and stay there for a couple years then double that etc. When you make a mistake with a 100 hives is is several times greater then if you have a dozen. Be careful and grow slowly.
 

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I would agree with Eastside. There are so many skill packages to learn. If significant mistakes are made the cost in a large operation is great. My humble recomendaion is to intensly manage 20 to 30 hives for several years while learning the marketing skill associated with the several hive products available to you. For all the poor mouthing going on about there being no money in bees, my firm position is that a well managed apiary of 100 or so hives will provide a very acceptable income for a family.
 

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ok, so the wife and I have agreed that we want to invest and take the next step in our small honey bee hobby and want to build it into a large hobby/small business. I have been getting a better grasp on splitting hives and rerearing queens but am also looking for a way to increase more expediently. I was thinking of purchasing some bees coming off the pollination fields possible next year. These seems to be one the most financially feasible ways to go when trying to acquire volume. Has anyone hear gone this route? I have heard that these bees can be pretty beat up by the time pollination is done with them? Does anyone have any other ideas for rapid growth of a couple hundred hives that wont break the bank? Any thoughts would be apriciated!
How big is the bank. Is 200 hives in 3 to 4 years with an out of pocket cost of less than $2000 maybe even less than that acceptable. Or 200 hives in one year at an out of pocket expense of $30,000. I am sure if I put my mind to it I could come up with 200 hives in a single year and not a dime out of pocket when it was all finished. But then you are the one that needs to learn how to run a business. Simple description. if you want 200 hives at no final costs. buy 400 and sell half at twice the price you paid for them. You won't make a penny doing it though and it still does not cover all the other costs of keeping bees. you will have to recoup that money by other means. some of my other means are cut outs, trap outs, making splits, selling nucs, selling packages, selling queens both mated and virgin, selling honey and pollination.

Keeping bees and making money I find has far more to do with a persons willingness to work than if it can be done. I made $250 dollars this weekend doing a cut out. I got another cut out that was so easy I didn't charge for it. It took less than an hour to get a colony worth over $300 to me. That equals a $550 day. Split that cut out colony 4 ways and sell each nuc for $150 makes it worth twice as much and far easier to sell.

I often see beekeepers saying how they do it the easy way. They also say they cannot make money at keeping bees. I wonder how much one has to do with the other. I have yet to find the way to make money that is easy. Maybe I am just unlucky.
 

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ok, so the wife and I have agreed that we want to invest and take the next step in our small honey bee hobby and want to build it into a large hobby/small business. I have been getting a better grasp on splitting hives and rerearing queens but am also looking for a way to increase more expediently. I was thinking of purchasing some bees coming off the pollination fields possible next year. These seems to be one the most financially feasible ways to go when trying to acquire volume. Has anyone hear gone this route? I have heard that these bees can be pretty beat up by the time pollination is done with them? Does anyone have any other ideas for rapid growth of a couple hundred hives that wont break the bank? Any thoughts would be apriciated!
If you buy bees out of almond pollination they may have already had a nuc pulled out of them before they get shipped to you. You may have to stipulate that they not before buying them.

I have seen hives from almonds that were split into three, but that was 5 years ago. It can happen.

Some sellers will let you pick out the hives you want. If you can, go pick them out yourself. Tip the two story hive forward on the pallet and look for bees hanging down below the bottom frames. Stand it back up and take off the cover, looking to see if you see bees near the top. Pull some frames from the center of the top deep and see what brood is there.

Do that enough times to get the idea as to whether plenty of brood is likely and then skip the pulling frames to check brood step and just do the other two steps, for expediency's sake.

Be sure to mark the hives you want. And then get them put on common pallets.

Best wishes.
 

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You need to crawl before you walk. Going from a couple to a couple hundred would be catastrophic for you. You need a bunch of equipment to it is also and that will take cash. I would go to 50-80 and stay there for a couple years then double that etc. When you make a mistake with a 100 hives is is several times greater then if you have a dozen. Be careful and grow slowly.
Not bad advice. "A man has got to know his limitations."
 

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This was a topic at H.A.S that i just attended.. Great idea but know these will be stressed out bees some on their last flap of the wing. Will they be dirt cheap yup , so thats a plus do you have the logistical side set up for them .. Where are you putting them 200 hives in one location can be a problem for neighbours and depending on when you are getting them in your area you might be having to feed a great deal.... Decide first how much do you want to make in One year. then find out what you need to do to achieve that..That includes the fun business side of that, legal stuff, state ids, fed id, marketing, advertising, and a sound business plan. How much of what product ,will you need to sell to get to that point. What are the downsides, for every beekeeper it maybe different. For some of us, that market their products in upper class shops they get a higher price than someone else that just uses the internet or a stand at the farmers market. Some take more time, some take more effort, that doesnt make you a better business person. Know your market, and risks along with that and how much time you have to invest upfront so it(your new business) will now have the chance be a greater success if you know whats ahead of you prior. My 2 cents if you are comfortable raising your own stock then do that .. You may have less variation on what is going on with your bees than 150 new variables.. Keep me posted Im in the same boat as you are ..
One day one bee at a time.
Good luck
 

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Not bad advice. "A man has got to know his limitations."
I was thinking something along the same line. I know I would not want to land in the creek at 200 hives. there is a lot to learn with 20. There is a lot to do at 10. Remember that list of selling this and selling that. Well you have to market yourself in every one of those. developing your market takes time and effort. It takes a year just to let people know you are around. 200 hives and you are going to start in a market scale that stretches well beyond your neighbors. Nobody knows who you are and they are not impressed with your hive numbers.
 
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