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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm going to share a hive with a neighbor because my wife won't have bees on our property. We have a negotiated 80/20 split as far as duties. They're fronting all the costs because they want honey but I'm responsible for most of the duties. I've been reading up on it and I'm trying to find out just how much time is actually required weekly for these lil buggers. It seems like at first weekly checks for syrup feedings and brood production is important. But it also seems like each "duty" takes only a few minutes. Am I wrong on this? I was planning on weekend checks every Saturday morning with time allotted Sundays for urgent needs like modifications, treatments, etc. She will likely check syrup levels during the week to make sure things are OK.

What's a good expectation on time required?
 

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If you are talking about only one hive, and you are committed to more-or-less a once-a-week check, with possible additional time on Sundays as needed, I believe you have allotted yourself enough time to care for a single hive. Probably more than enough.
 

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unless you are doing treatments, then OA is once a week for 4 weeks if you vape it when there is brood. You can get away with MAQS (formic acid) just laying it across the frames. And that won't require time. Depending on your management style, if you are doing anything else you may be in there a bit more often, but you shouldn't have to be in there too often.
 

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I have read on this and other forums of a rule of thumb that it takes about 1/2 hour per hive per week.
As a beginner you might expect a bit more time, and as you gain more experience, less time. some chores will take a few minutes, others quite longer.
so, "it depends".

Now, are you and your neighbor prepared for the possibility that you might not get any honey the 1st year? Prepared for the possibility of your hive dying the 1st winter? Beekeeping can be an expensive hobby and the honey can be extremely expensive, too, especially if you choose to continue when things don't go as planned. How many hives is your neighbor willing to pony up for? Are you adding in the $ mite treatments, extra honey boxes and frames? Are you buying your own protective gear and tools? If you don't know the answer to any of these questions, I suggest you study hard before your neighbor spends a nickel.
https://www.beesource.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?275-How-to-Start-Beekeeping
 

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mendozer,

New beeks tend to go into hive way to often in the beginning. You might ask your neighbor to only go into the hive once a week. Is this a nuc or a package? If this is a package don't be surprised if the queen is replaced after she starts laying. A swarm often does this because they know the queen was the old queen. The package acts like a swarm often but not always.

Weekly inspections are a good idea.


Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
mendozer,

New beeks tend to go into hive way to often in the beginning. You might ask your neighbor to only go into the hive once a week. Is this a nuc or a package? If this is a package don't be surprised if the queen is replaced after she starts laying. A swarm often does this because they know the queen was the old queen. The package acts like a swarm often but not always.

Weekly inspections are a good idea.


Good luck
This will be a nuc, assuming the nuc people get back to me. I wasn't planning on doing treatments unless indicated. I've been following along the posts on scientificbeekeping.com and I like his method of alcohol washing to assess mite levels, sugar dusting for frame treatment, and saving the medications like oxalic acid for last resort.

We aren't planning on getting honey this year, we know it's an investment. If anything we'll sample some (like 1 jar worth) and feed heavy syrup in the fall to let them replenish it quickly into honey for the winter.

Other figures I've seen are ranging 20-30 hours per year per hive, spread out of course.
 

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Other figures I've seen are ranging 20-30 hours per year per hive, spread out of course.
This depends entirely on operator skill level. If that much time was required to run a hive it would mean a full time commercial beekeeper would be limited to 100 or so hives, but we know they run far more than that.

We have a negotiated 80/20 split as far as duties. They're fronting all the costs because they want honey
A lot of skill is required, and sharing duties with a probably unskilled neighbor is more hassle than it's worth. Even if you give her an unskilled task such as checking the feeder, what's the point if she does not know what's going on inside the hive and if the feeder should be re topped or not. If you are checking the hive, the actual inside of the hive, you will be in a position to know if they should be fed, or not.

I'm trying to find out just how much time is actually required weekly for these lil buggers.
Very little time is required to run a hive. But a huge amount of time is required to be spent on research during the first 2 or 3 years. Way more than 20 or 30 hours. Properly keeping a hive requires a fair bit of skill and knowledge. Nearly all new beekeepers go in not knowing just how much time needs to be spent on research. A few of them get lucky and things just work out, but lack of time or desire to do the needed research, is why so many new players lose their hives. It is thought around 50% of new beekeepers are out of their hobby inside the first 2 years because the realised they did not have the time and it was way more involved than they thought.

So my recomendation would be 2 or 3 hours a week on research for the first 6 months and after that a lesser amount. A lot less than that actually caring for the hive.

EDIT - Another thing to sonsider with the arrangement you have, is that the neighbor is stumping up the money, in the belief that your end of the bargain is to successfully run the hive, and eventually produce a honey harvest for her. What if the bees die say, 2 years running, because you could not spend the time to gain the required knowledge, and at the end she has fulfilled what is expected of her, ie, putting up the money, but you have been unable to fulfill your end which was to produce a honey crop. Could that damage the neighborly relationship?
 

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a rule of thumb that it takes about 1/2 hour per hive per week.
This is about where I am at after several years. I was probably closer to 1-2 hours when I started due to not knowing as much, time spend doing research, ect. The above time estimate is for april to september. During the winter it does not take much time, unless you are building boxes/equipment. Keep in mind when you chose to extract it may take all weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
This depends entirely on operator skill level. If that much time was required to run a hive it would mean a full time commercial beekeeper would be limited to 100 or so hives, but we know they run far more than that.

A lot of skill is required, and sharing duties with a probably unskilled neighbor is more hassle than it's worth. Even if you give her an unskilled task such as checking the feeder, what's the point if she does not know what's going on inside the hive and if the feeder should be re topped or not. If you are checking the hive, the actual inside of the hive, you will be in a position to know if they should be fed, or not.

Very little time is required to run a hive. But a huge amount of time is required to be spent on research during the first 2 or 3 years. Way more than 20 or 30 hours. Properly keeping a hive requires a fair bit of skill and knowledge. Nearly all new beekeepers go in not knowing just how much time needs to be spent on research. A few of them get lucky and things just work out, but lack of time or desire to do the needed research, is why so many new players lose their hives. It is thought around 50% of new beekeepers are out of their hobby inside the first 2 years because the realised they did not have the time and it was way more involved than they thought.

So my recomendation would be 2 or 3 hours a week on research for the first 6 months and after that a lesser amount. A lot less than that actually caring for the hive.

EDIT - Another thing to sonsider with the arrangement you have, is that the neighbor is stumping up the money, in the belief that your end of the bargain is to successfully run the hive, and eventually produce a honey harvest for her. What if the bees die say, 2 years running, because you could not spend the time to gain the required knowledge, and at the end she has fulfilled what is expected of her, ie, putting up the money, but you have been unable to fulfill your end which was to produce a honey crop. Could that damage the neighborly relationship?
I agree and I spent a lot of time researching my hobbies. I will say that while I'm doing 80% of the work, she is wanting to learn just as I am. At least for the first year she knew she didn't have the time to commit to it, hence the sharing process. I have more time than her but I also try to do things as efficiently as possible since I have a bunch of my other projects. And we both also went into this thinking, well if they don't make it or are too much of a pain, then we end it. This is by no way a "you better produce" agreement on my part.
 

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You said that you were not planning on doing any treatment unless necessary. You do know about drift and drone movement right? Check in your area and see how many other hives are near you. I moved my hives this spring and when I looked I found 3 other beekeepers within 4 miles of my new spot. That means there is no way I can keep ahead of varroa from drone drift. 2018 I was 3 miles from this spot and I lost 8 out of 13 hives in June. I was using OAV and Apivar. This year my strategy is March I treated 3 times within 21 days with OAV. I'm treating monthly with OAV then in August/September I'll treat 3 times within 21 days. Once burned twice shy.

Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You said that you were not planning on doing any treatment unless necessary. You do know about drift and drone movement right? Check in your area and see how many other hives are near you. I moved my hives this spring and when I looked I found 3 other beekeepers within 4 miles of my new spot. That means there is no way I can keep ahead of varroa from drone drift. 2018 I was 3 miles from this spot and I lost 8 out of 13 hives in June. I was using OAV and Apivar. This year my strategy is March I treated 3 times within 21 days with OAV. I'm treating monthly with OAV then in August/September I'll treat 3 times within 21 days. Once burned twice shy.

Good Luck
I do know about drones. Is there a directory for these things? I know there are other honey bees in general since I see them out there. My plan was drone frames automatically, rotating them out (which I don't quite understand yet how that doesn't affect the population since you're killing drones all the time). Also either sugar dusting or alcohol wash to see mite levels. Then if they go over a certain threshold, which I've yet to decide on, then I'll treat with something like the thyme oil stuff or maybe the oxalic dribbles, not sure yet. I was hoping to find local beeks to ask what they do. I was going to sample (either the sugar shake or alcohol wash test) monthly.
 

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I was hoping to find local beeks to ask what they do.
That.

Just, successful local beeks. IE, if you meet Joe down the road who has to collect swarms, or buy nucs or packages every year to make up his losses, do not do what he does.

Find out what their honey crop is, and what their losses are, and use those criterion to decide wether to copy them or not.
 
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