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#### Oldtimer

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Eleven year old girl who is studying bees at school contacted me to ask what honey would cost if we paid the bees. I had no idea but did some sums for her, here's what I came up with, based on a few assumptions, and round numbers to keep it simple.

A hive spends a year to make the beekeeper a 200 lb harvest. Average bee population over the year 30,000 bees. Each bee works 1/2 the day and rests 1/2 the day, or, 12 hours work per day.

12 x's 30,000 ='s 360,000 working hours per day.
360,000 hours x's 200 working days in the year ='s 72,000,000 hours worked through the year.
72,000,000 x's \$10 per hour ='s \$720,000,000 to make a 200 lb annual honey harvest.
\$720,000,000 ÷ 200 lbs ='s \$3,600,000 per pound.

#### johno

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To be fair OT my bees only work about 60 days of the year, the rest of the time they spend robbing or begging so my honey must be cheaper than yours although not as much. If I get 50lbs per hive I am doing well, You want to try and figure out how much the poor beekeeper earns for the hours he puts in.

#### JConnolly

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My grandfather owned a commercial honey and pollination company. He busted his ass and had nothing and I'm pretty sure that after equipment, expenses, and paying his employees he never had any year where he made minimum wage.

#### Fivej

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Very interesting question. I think my honey costs the most pr pound but know every single hobbyist will argue that theirs is. J

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#### GregB

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Eleven year old girl who is studying bees at school contacted me to ask what honey would cost if we paid the bees. I had no idea but did some sums for her, here's what I came up with, based on a few assumptions, and round numbers to keep it simple.

A hive spends a year to make the beekeeper a 200 lb harvest. Average bee population over the year 30,000 bees. Each bee works 1/2 the day and rests 1/2 the day, or, 12 hours work per day.

12 x's 30,000 ='s 360,000 working hours per day.
360,000 hours x's 200 working days in the year ='s 72,000,000 hours worked through the year.
72,000,000 x's \$10 per hour ='s \$720,000,000 to make a 200 lb annual honey harvest.
\$720,000,000 ÷ 200 lbs ='s \$3,600,000 per pound.
Factor in the capital expenses and the personnel fringe benefits too.
Add the nominal compensation you (optionally) provide to the bees while off-season to carry them through until the next crop.
It should be even more per the pound.

#### JWPalmer

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Y'all are nuts. I pay my girls piece work, one penny per 1/4 teaspoon. Most do not live long enough to cash the check. Some never show up to collect it. Cuts down on expenses, but all those 1099's are a pain in the derrier.

#### Tim KS

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On top of all that, you have to figure in the remodel of their home every year.....inside & out.........after they just move out without notice. Many times they leave the place a mess...even to the extent of leaving dead bodies stuffed into every nook & cranny.

#### GregB

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Y'all are nuts. I pay my girls piece work, one penny per 1/4 teaspoon. Most do not live long enough to cash the check. Some never show up to collect it. Cuts down on expenses, but all those 1099's are a pain in the derrier.
True!
The hardest workers live so little they don't even make it to the first pay cycle.
Who gets to keep the \$\$\$\$?
The laziest workers live longer but do you really pay them off season?
They are sitting on their rear ends for just food - not too pricey.

So the ##s need adjusted downwards, actually.
This is getting complicated fast!

#### GregB

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On top of all that, you have to figure in the remodel of their home every year.....inside & out.........after they just move out without notice. Many times they leave the place a mess...even to the extent of leaving dead bodies stuffed into every nook & cranny.
Well, yeah.
As the business owner, you get to eat that expense line (dead body removal and such).
But it all folds into "the capital expenses and the personnel fringe benefits" (see above).
Taking care of you after you die - your fringe benefit (say mine is called "employer provided life insurance").
Remodeling, structural upkeep, and such is a capital expense.
You get to write that off.

PS: to be sure OT may have different compensation setup for his bees (hailing from NZ) - still, there is more to it than the straight wages; the nice part - individual bees die so very conveniently quickly - I'd probably never pay them over the sh!tty job performance review arguments and just let them run out of their time; you know, gotta learn something from the #45. LOL

#### Oldtimer

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#### AHudd

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Or we could use the Company Store model the Railroads used in centuries past, after all the bees are a captive workforce.
They could be paid a competitive wage, but as Grozzie pointed out they only work part of the year, so the rest of the time we could back charge their wages for the rent.
We take the honey because that is the product we are paying them to produce whether hourly or piece work. Honey is produced during a time when the supply of nectar far outstrips the demand driving down the value of the honey we would have pay them for the piece work.
Then, during the times when the demand for nectar is high, but the supply is low, we could again back charge them exorbitant prices and fees for the sugar syrup we supply. They could even end up owing us.

Or we could use the Private Equity model. Loan the Queen and her attendants a lot of money that they can never hope to repay at high interest rates with high fees attached. Then we could take over the hive and sell it's parts off at a profit. If the worker bees don't like it, they can abscond with some of the honey, but they had better not let us catch them though. If we do, we will put them in an even smaller box with less resources and make them start over.

Or, we could use the Chinese model and limit the amount of offspring each Queen is allowed to produce, assuring the eventual collapse of the entire colony.

Just kidding, of course, but with a healthy dose of sarcasm.

Alex

#### jonsl

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I think the way you need to approach this is think of the hive as a single organism. So one wage times hours worked. Assuming you're paying minimum wage (keep it at \$7/hr for ease of calculation). 6 months times 7 days a week for 10 hours per day. \$7 x 6 (months) x 4 (weeks/month) x 7 (days/week) x 10 (hours) = \$11,700. If you take the example of 200 lbs above (I wish I had those bees!) then the cost per pound is \$58.50 just for labor. A more realistic number but still highly unprofitable.

#### elmer_fud

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How do you factor in child labor laws since none of the bees reach adulthood age

#### jonsl

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How do you factor in child labor laws since none of the bees reach adulthood age
See my reply above. If you consider the hive as a single organism then once the queen starts laying they can reproduce which would make the hive an adult.

#### grozzie2

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If you take the example of 200 lbs above (I wish I had those bees!) t
OT has New Zealand bees, all of ours are effectively descendants of NZ bees. Doesn't do what you want. I wish I had his forage, then any bees would do....

Besides, what OT is NOT telling you, that's probably all Manuka honey, so they do get that kind of buckaroos for it....

#### allniter

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or U could start a company store and pay with a token where the BEES could only spend the TOKEN at the company store ---like in the JOHN L LEWIS coal mine days were

#### Trin

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Now,now, You folks aren't figuring right. You provide the house, so you charge rent. Then there is the feeding during dearth periods. Free medical inspections-and provided medications when necessary. As if medications are free.
Overbearing government management, we all know how bloated the cost of that is.

Allniter got it right. The "Company Store" indeed.

#### Oldtimer

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that's probably all Manuka honey, so they do get that kind of buckaroos for it....
LOL I wish

I did luck out and get a good manuka crop this last season so very happy with that. But where I am there is enough other forage types that some seasons the manuka is too diluted to be classed as manuka and I get none.

So where I am, each season could leave me a prince, or a pauper. Regardless of hours worked.

#### herb

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How do you factor in child labor laws since none of the bees reach adulthood age
Child labor laws would only apply for the nurse and housekeeping bees. Moreover only a limited time of adulthood is done foraging. Furthermore, no social security pensions are offered when these bees exceed their productivity cycle or come home disabled with tattered wings or broken legs.

This becomes a very serious matter when exploitation of a captive labor force is factored in. It is no wonder that some tribes actually swarm away seeking freedom and better opportunities.

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