Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
123 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I wanted to hear some thoughts from some of you on this topic.

A few months ago, who knows, maybe longer, I noticed when talking to older beekeepers and they'd hear you are trying to get into beekeeping they almost have this pity response like,...so you are asking for pain huh? They don't word it that way, but the response is almost like, so you want to join us in bankruptcy...?

Again I'm not really wording it right and haven't memorized responses.

But sometimes the response sounds discouraging.

I wondered what to make of it.

Is this like when people pretend everything is going to hell while they are making bank? Or are is every beekeeper on every corner really broke and penniless, going nowhere without a future?

Well this post isn't meant to be provoking but running into this attitude was a bit discouraging. And I wanted to solve it somehow. Hope you have some thoughts.

And doesn't every industry have its dangers? So pretending there's better pastures somewhere else I don't think really works. In other jobs I'd done when I was younger, this attitude that you could find something else better elsewhere was often fake by some people that wanted to get rid of some competitors.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,691 Posts
Beekeeping is pretty much a different animal from most other careers that most people take up. NewBeeks are having a lot of enthusiasm, but just don't get how different it is from learning other vocations. So, sometimes the response from longer term beeks might be a little sarcastic or condescending? I dunno, just a thought.

Another thought, when you say "Older Beekeepers" just what kind of beekeeper is this Older Fella, or Gal? Maybe someone that's been keeping bees successfully as their only source of income for the past 10 years? If not, then maybe they are not an Old enough beekeeper yet? and find it hard to make a decent living from bees yet?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
123 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Beekeeping is pretty much a different animal from most other careers that most people take up. NewBeeks are having a lot of enthusiasm, but just don't get how different it is from learning other vocations. So, sometimes the response from longer term beeks might be a little sarcastic or condescending? I dunno, just a thought.

Another thought, when you say "Older Beekeepers" just what kind of beekeeper is this Older Fella, or Gal? Maybe someone that's been keeping bees successfully as their only source of income for the past 10 years? If not, then maybe they are not an Old enough beekeeper yet? and find it hard to make a decent living from bees yet?
That's entirely possible on maybe they were doing other things at the same time. But I ran into this maybe twice recently. And another time also but I didn't really notice it until I ran into it the second time. And it sort of bothered me. I should have asked more to try to determine why they thought that.

One of them was a retiring beekeeper who had been doing it since the 80s...and maybe he was just sort of wore out. But I don't know about the others.

But in spite of it, when I see other beekeepers, I can't help but admire them. I don't look down on them. I was a bit concerned by asking this that I didn't give people the wrong idea of not respecting them.

I just find it to be discouraging but still respectful.

Thanks for your response.
 

·
Registered
5 ,8 ,10 frame, and long Lang
Joined
·
2,529 Posts
So i do not think they are "making bank"
Likely they are trying to "help you to not loose your shirt"
If curiosity is still lingering then buy 10-30 packages with the supporting Woodenware and in a year or 2 the meaning will start to get clearer.

Unlikely folks will deliver the message in a soft soothing friendly way, if that is what your are expecting. "Older" Keepers are a bit crusty and if they were the friendly people types would do a different career. we generally are a bit anti social and straight to the point, to old to spent my time sugar coating something to make it more palatable for you, :).

Sorry if the message is delivered in a non comfortable manner, maybe the 3-5000 accumulated stings are affecting their demeaner.
I would say glean what facts you can and dismiss the rest, it ain't personal.

If you really feel there is a market for the "friendly, non confrontational" , bee help website, then by all means start one.
Maybe you would make bank....

GG
old crusty keeper in training.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,558 Posts
When a complete neophyte seems to think that your livlihood is an easy way to make a living it is rather insulting even though you do not mean to be. I had a fellow seriously ask if he could come over some Saturday and have me show him how to weld! Several hundred would not be enough! Beekeeping has as much or more needs learning to be even half athed competent, let alone financially successful. You have to get up close to see the warts.

There are websites with beekeeping theme that will encourage you with all kinds of emotional grabbers and tell you how easy it is. If that is what you want to hear you likely wont hear if from beekeepers unless they are trying to promote something.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
496 Posts
When I picked up my nuc's last week, I was talking with my supplier who runs 5,000 hives, has a massive plant to process, has very solid supermarket accounts, chases the blooms up and down the east coast, sells equipment and bees. The conversation was about it's a very year to year business, 2 bad years will drain 5 good ones. The hours are long and the work is hard, you go to where the bees are. Years ago, I was involved in commercial fishing in Northern New England, long before the crash of the fish stocks, had two 130 ton trawlers, new boats with big bank notes, support trucks, employees and I think it was the same thing, your life is run by the winds and the tides, you put in 7 days weeks from ice out until the fall squalls, you have no idea what tomorrow will bring. You get to handle a hell of a lot of money, millions-not a whole lot sticks to your hand. At the end, my million dollar boats and free federal fisheries permits had changed to the boats were worth nothing and the permits (transferable) were worth millions. I got out and broke even-better than most did. My supplier said commercial beekeeping is pretty much the same. If you love it do it and regardless of what you do, there is no free money.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,186 Posts
Beekeeping requires research, sound judgement, tolerance for pain from stings and physical exertion and a financial foundation. If you can tolerate the stings and not say screw that when faced with the labor involved, you have a chance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
111 Posts
If you say that you're interested in getting into beekeeping to a (crusty) fellow who's got 100+ hives, they're hearing "I want to start a beekeeping business" and they're going to respond with that in mind (see LarryBud's comments above). (How do you make a small fortune in beekeeping? Start with a large fortune.)

If you say the same thing to a hobby beekeeper, they're hearing "I want to keep a couple of hives" and would probably get a way more enthusiastic response.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
461 Posts
I have lost count as to how many times I have heard on the internet, here and otherwise saying "I want to get into the beekeeping business! I've never been in a hive before. Where do I start!?" You have to practically talk these people down from this as it is beyond clear that they have no idea what they are doing or what they are signing up for. Chances are, they saw some youtube videos and thought "That looks simple enough, and I see people selling honey for $10 a pound at my farmer's market, maybe I could get a cut of that!"

The most successful beekeepers understand how to manage expectations and most people can't. That is the difference in someone who long-hauls beekeeping and a NewBeek that quits within the first three years (something like 70-80% of them). In beekeeping, you can still do everything right and still lose your apiary and not everyone understands that. There may have been a time (pre-varroa) where beekeeping was indeed easier, but those days are long gone. I remember when I took my first course on beekeeping in 2016, I had no idea about varroa and swarming, and all the extra work that goes along with it. Heck I still don't know what I am doing!

There is a popular saying in my state about going into the beekeeping business. "How do you make a small fortune beekeeping? Start with a large one."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,270 Posts
When a complete neophyte seems to think that your livlihood is an easy way to make a living it is rather insulting even though you do not mean to be. I had a fellow seriously ask if he could come over some Saturday and have me show him how to weld! Several hundred would not be enough! Beekeeping has as much or more needs learning to be even half athed competent, let alone financially successful. You have to get up close to see the warts.

There are websites with beekeeping theme that will encourage you with all kinds of emotional grabbers and tell you how easy it is. If that is what you want to hear you likely wont hear if from beekeepers unless they are trying to promote something.
The phrase, "All we have to do is let bees be bees," comes to mind.

Alex
 

·
Registered
5 ,8 ,10 frame, and long Lang
Joined
·
2,529 Posts
If you say that you're interested in getting into beekeeping to a (crusty) fellow who's got 100+ hives, they're hearing "I want to start a beekeeping business" and they're going to respond with that in mind (see LarryBud's comments above). (How do you make a small fortune in beekeeping? Start with a large fortune.)

If you say the same thing to a hobby beekeeper, they're hearing "I want to keep a couple of hives" and would probably get a way more enthusiastic response.
yes exact ally
point of view matters.

here we have from "I think" I want bees to I have had 1000 hive for years maybe generations.

GG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
191 Posts
So I wanted to hear some thoughts from some of you on this topic.
Are you doing it to make money down the road and or are you doing it because of free honey, beeswax, and an interesting hobby?
If you are going to certain beekeepers meetings they may be more "crusty" than another beekeeping club not far away. I went around to various clubs in my area and each club has a different personality.
I suggest setting up two hives, getting through the next year with them, and then see if you want to keep doing it.
Where are you located?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,498 Posts
when you try to explain stuff to new beeks, and they say I just want a list with dates when I should do stuff, I get a bit cranky
LOL, ain't that the truth. I'm always looking at the weather and wondering "Too soon?" "Too late?" "Right now?"

And 'right now' the bees have been bringing in pollen for two or three weeks, the maples are budding, and I'm watching the lilacs leaf out...while thinking "There's still more than two weeks left that I could still get a major snowstorm with well below freezing temps." I've pulled the formic strips from the freezer and wondering "If I pull the insulation now and put the strips in, is the weather going to screw me if I lose a queen?" (Though I haven't lost one yet from formic...that I know of.)

----------------------------------------------------

OP, there are some people who, lacking any experience with bees, think that it's an 'easy' way to make money- 'Hey, you put bees in a box then you take the honey and sell it.' Well, maybe it is, for someone who just wants one or two hives just to play with and to sell a little of the honey that they can't eat for just a few extra bucks.

But, just like any other business, if you want to make a living at it there are a whole lot of other things that go into it, and there are no guarantees. I've had years when it's been so dry that the bees barely make enough honey to get themselves through the Winter that is coming and there is no 'extra' for me to take. Then I get a year, Spring is so wet that on the first sunny day I have trees full of bees heading for the hills. There are all kinds of things that can ruin your year that you don't have full control over...you do your best to anticipate and try to prevent...and then something goes wrong,and then something else, and something else- shrews, bears, bad weather, etc.

Most any business has particular details that aren't necessarily visible to someone who hasn't done it and don't realize what kind of work/expense it takes to get it off the ground and make a living at it, the years of hard work, investment of time and money, the sacrificing of profit to put back into the business to build it up...and plenty of those fail for one reason or another. But, bees are an agricultural/farming endeavor, and like almost all farming activities Mother Nature can make you or break you...and you can't control it.

And when someone who has some years of experience hears someone talking like maybe they think it's an 'easy' way to 'make bank', well consider it an advantage that they don't give you a 'snow job' and say "Yeah, sure, it's great! Just get yourself some bees and next year you'll be rich!" You, know, like an Amway rep trying to sign you up- a lot of them make it sound like it's an easy way to be rolling in dough, 'Just sign here and you'll be driving a Jag before you know it.' Can you make money in Amway? Sure...but it takes a lot of work- you gotta sell a lot of stuff, you gotta spend a lot of time and gasoline driving around to talk to people who look at you like you're crazy and tell you where to shove it Can you make a good living at it? Sure, but you gotta spend even more time and money doing all that stuff and most people are going to quit when they find out how much work it takes to do it.

But it's the same for 'most anything else you do. How many kids start out in grade-school, play a little football or baseball or basketball and look at the pros and see them with multi-million dollar contracts just to play a 'game', and think 'Hey, golly gee, I can do that too!'? Millions. But how many of them actually make it to a pro team and get 'rich'? Only a tiny percentage- it's too much work, or they simply don't have the talent, or they break something that never is right again that washes them out.

These guys are doing you a favor by not shoving a lot of BS down your throat, by giving you a picture of the reality of what to expect. Wouldn't you rather know the truth so you can make an informed decision, instead of giving you a 'snow job' and letting you find out after you've spent a buttload of time and money that it ain't all peaches and cream?

I've had the occasional person who has started talking at me like they think that I just let the bees do all the work while I sell the honey and rake in the dough. When I get done laughing, I tell them how it really is, maybe a little more gently than some, but I make sure they get the picture. Then, if they want to get started, I'll tell them how to do it and they can go into it with their eyes open.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,558 Posts
Maybe it is overly presumptuous, confirmation bias or has some other negative connotation, but anyways, I confess that I tend to develop an impression based on the sort of questions that are asked. Do they indicate the person has attempted to think things out but are stymied; do they indicate they have no background knowledge at all; does it indicate they are merely looking for confirmation; is it a gotcha kind of stumper , like how many angels do you think can dance on the head of a pin; if in a series does it demonstrate a progression in knowledge; in other words, are they serious, are they able and willing to do their own research and development.

I think there is some parable written about "casting your seed on barren ground"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
I think some additional context would be useful. Do these old guys understand that you want to get into beekeeping as a hobby with just a handful of hives, or as a business with hundreds?

If it's the case of the hobby, maybe the pain reference is to getting stung.

If it's the business case, then yeah, I could understand. When I hear of folks loosing 50% of their stock over winter I am amazed they stay in it, but eventually they recover.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,004 Posts
So I wanted to hear some thoughts from some of you on this topic.......
Still don't understand what is your objective.

If it is about hobby - don't ask anyone and just learn things by actually doing them.
Asking is next to useless, without learning by doing.

If it is about business - that is different.
But I somehow don't believe this is about business.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,911 Posts
I noticed when talking to older beekeepers and they'd hear you are trying to get into beekeeping they almost have this pity response
Well... they also know most bright eyed noobs won't be around in a year or two

Much like many roll there eyes and have a pity response every time we here this
"Hi I am X I spent all winter reading on the internet about all the bad things commercial beekeepers do to there bees and how stupid, short sited and ill guided their methods are. I live in a big suburbia and have 2 CA packages coming this year and am excited to install them and let bees be bees just like nature intended"

At some point it becomes too much effort to try and help...
and while what you were talking about with the old beek many not as been misguided as the the above, what your saying to them is likely suggesting you have a ruff road ahead
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gray Goose

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
In 2018 I had an aquantance tell me he was thinking about getting into beekeeping and would I help him. I told him yes, but that the U of Fl was going to have a 2day session in a month or so that he should go to first. I’d go with him. Of course he took the beginner classes. On the way home I asked him what he thought about it now that he knew a little bit. After a moments silence he said, best tuition I ever spent, I’m gonna just buy my honey from you and forget about keeping them.
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top