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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I am a 15 year old freshman in southern New Jersey. I currently have about 75 hives (maybe I should say 30 hives and 45 nucs). I am planning to expand to 500 hives in the next five years.

My main goal in beekeeping is to set up a horizontal bee breeding program with a gene pool backed by thousands of possible breeders. This sounds a long way off but I dream big and work hard.

My questions are these:

-Is college necessary? If so I would likely take courses on business management, entomology, and genetics. Are these good choices?

-Where are good places to buy queens that come from a wide gene pool? I was pleased with the Purvis Brothers operation.

-At what point should I go from a 3 frame to a 120 frame extractor? Honey crops in this area are not large, 45 lbs a hive is good. Pollination is where the money is here, you can get three $70 contracts a year. My current honey house has a tank that can hold 18 uncapped frames to speed up the process and a stainless steel tank that can hold 1500 lbs of honey.

Anything helps,

Tim Stewart
Stewart's Apiaries
 

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When you're extracting 75 hives you'll need at least a 20-30 frame extractor, but you're planning on growing so I'd look at a 60 framer like the Dadant. Many commercial guys are using 1 or more of the 60's. GO TO COLLEGE! If you're really planning on a beekeeping career, then take biology/entomology with maybe some electives in business. The way you're going you will probably know more about business than the professors anyway! Good job so far!!! :D
 

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As far as college is concerned I haven't found a lot in the way of schools that have an AG degree with a specialty in beekeeping. If you have a good foundation of beekeeping with the operation you have now, your choices for classes are pretty good. I think that in jersey you should be able to take AP classes in biology and they'll have most of what you need to know as far as genetics and breeding by the time you're a senior. The business classes even at the JC level are going to help a lot. Economics at the college level (the stuff for general ed more than the major courses) is going to be a big leg up from a business standpoint. If I were a freshman again and realized that bees are awesome, I'd have taken business classes when I went to school instead of going down the Mechanical Engineering route. College is a great experience and if you take it seriously and have a major other than fitness or health, you're going to learn what it takes to be successful in life. You're on the right track. Good luck and I wish I had an idea of what I wanted to do when I was 15.
 

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STEP #1

Don't annoy your beekeeping colleagues by starting a thread identical to the other one which you already posted on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
fish stix: I figure that I can spin honey for about a month and a half out of the year. (The honey flow is over by July fourth.) This gives me lots of time to split, feed make equipment, and extract. I don't feel I have money to spare for an intermediate size extractor, and although I may have 75 hives, I pull frames of brood off so often that the ten I do plan to take honey off of only have about 25 lbs each. (After pulling ten frames of brood each this spring) Next year I will run about 45-60 hives for pollination and honey, but many will be drawing out comb. That can knock the average down to 35lbs each, and I will have forever to extract it. With a tough back and an empty pocket I think I can handle extracting for 60 hours a year before it's worth the investment to go all out with a big honey house, two 120 frame extractors, and a chain uncapper. (I think that costs a few $$$$$$$$$$$$$$.)

giant pumpkin peep: It is only a matter of three years to go from your size to my size if you get used equipment (make sure it's clean) make lots of two frame nucs in early July and feed them each 12 gallons of HFCS.

Tim Stewart
Stewart's Apiaries
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sorry about starting another thread similar to the other one but I didn't want to make the other fellow feel like I was stealing his thread.
 

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Tim,

As I continue to grow and think about money concerns here and the burden that it would put on my bank account, I started doing extractions from houses to raise the needed funds to buy equipment. Basically the way most small business that don't get a small business loan do...make money, reinvest it right back into the business. Continue to do this and things will improve. I have used the business account to pay for 95% of everything I have needed for continued expansion for the past 3 months now and these were not $25 purchases. The last one was almost $700. I am actually getting ready to used the $1000 I have made this week and the $1200 I have made in the past 2 weeks to make a bulk purchase of hive bodies and frames. Two months ago if someone would have called me with a swarm in their tree and I missed it for whatever reason, I would have been crushed...now I am like "ok, whatever." DO continue with college though, who knows, maybe you'll be the one to discover the real reason behind ccd? Besides, always good to have something to fall back on. Sad statistic that is out there is by 2035 their may be no more bees...would suck to have to go and try to learn something new then to feed the family.

JAT,
Craig
 

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Yes, of course...go to college. Go where there's a good beekeeping program and PHd's that are actively studying and publishing. Michigan State, Penn State, Cornell, etc.

But, I think you should consider other options for your bees. Pollination isn't all it's cracked up to be. Neither is honey production. Both have high expenses. Trucks, lifts, expensive extracting equipment, and huge labor bills. Just wait until you have to hire a crew to help you do all the labor involved with honey production and pollination.

At this point in time, I think it's better to raise bees and queens. You still have to manage your bees for honey production, but at 45 pound average you'll just make expenses. Bees are cheap to raise. You could winter hundreds of nucleus colonies and sell them in the spring. Easier on both the bees and you. You could also sell your extra queens, and 500 extra queens isn't much work or expense.

So, what I'm saying is...

If you sell 200-300 nucs at [email protected], and 500 queens at [email protected] your talking $30,000+ income from your 500 colony operation...before that elusive honey crop. Now, if you make a decent honey crop that's icing on the cake. And...you don't have to move your bees back and forth across the country.

Ask yourself, do you want to be on the road with your bees or at home working with them.
Good luck with whatever you do. We need more youngsters like you to take over.
Mike
 

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Michael Palmer gives excellent advice. You can always expand into pollination if that's your heart's desire. But there is much to be said to being close at home and keeping your expenses down.

Now, regarding bees and genetics...
http://www.russianbreeder.org/
http://www.beeweaver.com/
http://www.glenn-apiaries.com/

And yes, go to college.
By the way, my B. Weaver queens/bees have been outperforming my Purvis ones hands-down.

Regards,
Steven
 

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Hey tim you were not stealing my thread. I really enjoy talking to guys around my age that are doing the same thing.

Kingfisher:popcorn:
 

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You need advice from someone who knows. Where is Dr. James Tew? Ohio? Get a PhD in entomology and you can always teach. Don't become a honey store. Find out what Langstroth missed.

Hawk
Gardening with an altitude
 
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