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Lets say someone was thinking of becoming a commercial beekeeper, what would a good amount of hives be? and how would one go about getting into the bussiness?
 

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A knock on the door and a jar of honey will get you permission from most farms.Horse ranchers and cattle farmers are nice people but aren't always very receptive to bees.Most states 400 hives to be considered commercial.A weak mind and a strong back is all you need and not being afraid of hard hot work.It's best to take your time and get to know bees and build up as you go along.I say I've a hobby that simply had gotten out of hand!Most states have a pollination contractor list you can get on,good way to see how the paper work goes.To do pollinatin contracts you don't need 400 hives just enough strong hives to take care of your first contract.You can go from there with it.Just don't bite off more than you can chew.Be reasonable not greedy that's what my dad used to say!
 

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Lets say someone was thinking of becoming a commercial beekeeper, what would a good amount of hives be? and how would one go about getting into the bussiness?
You sell a jar of honey and you are a commercial beekeeper. Question is: Are you looking to do it part time or full time?
 

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Work for someone for a season. You'll know if it's right for you or not after 80+hour work weeks or 10hour + of scraping boxes.
 

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well if i was to get started it would be part time to see how things go.
See how things go? Make a plan, have someone review it and stick to it.... and then revise as needed. Best advice I can give is to do what fits with your location and not with what works in Michigan or California. Find that answer and you will be on the road to success.

Anyone who says "I'll see how it goes" is not the type of person who would grab the dog by the tail and do what needs to be done to make it succeed. You might want to rethink that attitude or just give up before you start. Be determined that either hell or high water is not going to impede your goal .....or just forget it. Just saying.........
 

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I believe Honey-4-all might be searching for the word "Tenacious". A touch pf insanity appears to help. No sane person would do this by choice.

Crazy Roland
 

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It takes a strong will to survive for the right reasons to get into the commercial side of things. Honey-4-all does have great points about it. You have to know what you want to do, and get a strong grasp on it in the beginning. Do plenty of research, and take time to learn before you make the leap. Working for a commercial Beekeeper for a season will give you all the experience you need to know if it's something that you want or not.
 

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No sane person would do this by choice.

Crazy Roland
In my first season working for a commercial in CFL. Ummm yeah...

A whoop goes up, been awake and on the job since 3a.m., 2hr ride to bee yards, mega thunderstorms until after midnight, inch of rain still on lids. Pants n boots soaking wet, so the duct tape loosens a tad. First hives moved n placed just before light. Onto popping lids n throwing new supers on,after grabbing loaded wets.

Yeah, the girls are a TAD cranky this morning. 180 supers on, 4 pallets of hand stacked wets. 9a.m.

The whoop went up to celebrate 100th sting of the morning on the back and underside of my arms. I havent even had my first gallon of coffee yet! Fantastic start to the day!!

Noon and radar shows more storms barreling in, lots o red. Yeah boss, im game!!
 

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IWorking for a commercial Beekeeper for a season will give you all the experience you need to know if it's something that you want or not.
If you are willing to invest 30 or 40 years of your life on this plus a half a million or more on wood that rots and forklifts that break down then a year's stint at 3 or 4 different outfits would be a wise move. Remember that a hive tool has two sides. Make sure at least 50% of the time is spent on the business side of one.... Kissing up to the landlords, Deciding how to delve out the last penny you have to your name, dealing with help that doesn't realize that if the semi doesn't get loaded then the check still gets written to the driver for standby time and that that means the bonus money for the year is about to evaporate if they go home "early."

Unless you plan on grunting every darn frame all by your lonesome the next 40 years get ready to rumble even if your hoping to avoid the "help" and the associated tumble...

Keep in mind that underneath every romantic moment of joy that the bees can bring lies a barrel of gremlins waiting for you to open the wrong lid...Trust me it will happen... some days it will even be a lid someone else opens without your "permission" and you will need to put all the buggers back in place on a hope and a prayer and all the strength you can muster after a day dragging a stuck semi out of the mud....

How many notches can you tighten your belt and still breath? Time will tell.
 

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Lets say someone was thinking of becoming a commercial beekeeper, what would a good amount of hives be? and how would one go about getting into the bussiness?
If you are simply curious and don't really have any intention of doing so yourself there are Threads you could search and books you could read about what it's like being a Commercial Beekeeper, such as The Beekeepers Lament. That book is an eye opener for anyone giving commercial beekeeping serious thought.

To answer your two questions, 500 to 2,000 would be a good amount of hives to have and buying an already existing concern would be one way of getting into the business. But, if you don't know anything about bees and the keeping of them this is simply an intellectual exercise and I should go to bed. I have to get up in the morning and go deliver honey in the morning and check hives in the afternoon.
 

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Ian, that's the best part of the day. It's best to start baleing hay at 10 pm until it get too tough then move some hives. Then rake some hay and bale until it gets too dry. Then go to town and buy parts for the equipment that you broke the previous night or had on order because no dealer keeps anything in stock anymore. I find the sleeping happens between 3pm to 8pm when it's busy.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you all. Honey for all it isn't I don't grab the bull by the horns it is I'm cautious. Btw haraga I have that covered my wife is the bread winner. There r a decent amount of orchards around here I was thinking of doing a very small operation I'm talking 4 hives and work from there. Yes this is my first yr and I only have one hive but omg do I have the bug. I should have gotten more hives.
 

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One is a good number to have, two is better. Do the rest of us a favor, stay small. :)
 

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Highly recommend working for a commercial beekeeper for a year.

Then you know a bit about it.

I constantly get approached by people wanting to start a bee business, my advice is always to work for someone else for a year or two first. They almost invariably decline, saying they have no time, couldn't afford the pay cut, etc, and then almost invariably fail in their effort to start a bee business.

Some people start with one or two hives, build up, and end up full time. But most who start this way fail. But work for someone first, virtually guarantees that when you start with one or two hives with the intention to turn it into a business, you will succeed.
 
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