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We are working on some long term planning for our farm.

Assuming we had between 20-40 hives, how many hours a season can I expect to spend per hive? Or how much time total.

The amount of produce we plan on would like that many bees, but I need to be sure we will have the time to work them.

If you have an hours per month that would be great...
 

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Murphys first law of beekeeping is however long you expect to take per hive, double it to get the job done, then double it again for all the things you will end up doing just because you want to.

Once the girls get a hold on you they will try to drive you away and that always makes you stay longer. There is never enough time to work your hives they way you would like to if you have one hive or however many.
 

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well there are a number of of factors to consider. are you planning on building your own equipment? will all the hives be right there on the farm?

if I was to guess on the direct time spend manipulating hives, my quess would be about one half hour per hive per month. to this you would have to add traveling distance to out yards, equipment building time, extracting time and the real bugger which seems to be time defying.... marketing time.

if you desired a bit more rigorous number, most state have an agricultural college where partial budgets (money and time) are constructed for just about every farm enterprise that exist in that state. you likely would be looking for some one in the agriculture economics (farm management) department at say Ohio State. your county ag extension agent should be able to point you in the proper direction.
 

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How do you plan to get to 20-40 hives? If it's by "making increase" (splitting), plan on spending much more time than you care to doing things like building equipment, splitting, building more equipment, feeding, etc. I'm in the middle of that 16+ month process now, hoping to be spending much less time at it by July or so next year.

Since I'm not yet at equilibrium, I can't give you a good feeling for how much time per hive, but once they're set up, an hour or two per hive per month sounds like a reasonable minimum.
 

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I would think that the bee yard inspection part of the equation should be about 3 hours for each inspection, for 20 hives. Whether thats every two weeks, or once a month, that up to you.

It is much harder to calculate your honey processing, and other tasks such as painting, building equipment, and other variables.

The great thing about bees is that a good spring inspection, supering once or twice through the summer, removing the supers, and then a good fall inspection, is the basic times. beyond that, much depends on your management strategy, your experience, and attention to detail.

It is a great hobby that does not demand you spend time on a regular basis. If I do not open my hives for the next 4 weeks, the bees will take care of themselves.
 
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