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Discussion Starter #1
When my wife and I decided to get into Beekeeping we both agreed that over several years we wanted to grow this into something more. A small business, maybe a supplemental business or if things work out it could be a primary income for one of us. My question is this, how many hives could one person realistically keep if that person was doing this full time. Just doing some long term planning.
 

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If you are lazy-100
If you don't need much sleep or idol time and work like an ox-800
Average person not being worked to death all summer-400 to 600
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Wow, that is a lot more than I would have guessed. I am sure a lot of factors come into play but if I could handle 400+ hives on my own that would be nice. I guess as I build up to 100 and then 200 and so on I will find out where my actual comfort level is.
Thanks
 

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Now you got it Deer Slayer. Do what you can. Anymore than that will be costing you money instead of making it. I get a helper for spring splits(2 wks), pulling fall crop/final supers(1 wk), and fall feeding and meds(1 wk). If it was a better year I would have hired help extracting but did it buy myself this year. I had over 900 mid summer and ended with 750. I'm still feeling a little burnt. This year I think I better get 1 good helper to help with everything. I'm hoping for a better year and having 900-1000 colonies.
 

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Deer slayer.... there is no more room in Lexington for even 10 more hives:D

Just kidding.... I must be lazy because if I get up around 30 hives I feel like I need help. Then I start cutting back because I stop enjoying it when it becomes something that I have to do instead of something that I want to do.

Beeslave said he started out with 900 hives this summer and ended with 750. That is a 10K loss in the summer.... that is too much in my opinion and is the result of being stretched far too thin. No offense.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
One other limiting factor for me will be location. I have some land in Lexington but I am going to be looking for other places outside of town. We have a growing list of people with land that will allow us to use their property but if I spend too much time driving that will limit my number of hives as well.
 

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Contact Berries on Brian Station.... It is local and as of a couple of years ago he wanted some more hives out there... I just haven't had the hive numbers to need another location.... I also have a yard on Ashgrove pike that I am not using right now and the owner may be willing to let somebody else place some hives there as well.
 

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I wrote I had over 900 mid summer, not started with 900. Started with 700. Losses(not neccessarily dead yet but I empty them) were late summer when pulling honey. My losses were less than others but you are right with the being stretched. Don't waste time and energy on a losing battle. Concentrate on your best warriors. Don't baby the weak. Shake them out and think about next year. No sense in shipping a weak hive to CA and having an empty hive out there.:) BTW that was a little over 20% loss not 10K, but at the same time was a 7% increase.
 

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Sorry.... I was thinking in terms of it being 150 extra nucs that you have to keep next spring rather than sell at $70.00 each.
 

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Now I see what you meant. With 200 hive loss it would be 58k(estimated) loss not 10k(200 x $100-lost pollination, 200 x $70-less hives in spring to make nucs from, 200 x 80lbs x $1.50-less big honey producers for next year). Running 30 is different than running 800(management wise). I don't want to but I do expect to lose colonies. Just part of the business. If it was easy to keep the boxes full more people would do it.
 

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I don't want to but I do expect to lose colonies. Just part of the business. If it was easy to keep the boxes full more people would do it.
amen brother, and I agree with the losing battles, combine them or shake! You can waste a lot of time on the losing battles and in my experience you rarely win them.
 

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My question is this, how many hives could one person realistically keep if that person was doing this full time. Just doing some long term planning.
There's a husband & wife who live near me who run about 400-500 hives as a sideline business. They're both school teachers, and usually hire some part-time help to help man tables at farm markets & fairs, as well as work in the honey house during peak busy times.

There are a couple of full time beekeepers I know in our State association who run 3000+ hives, with very limited help outside immediate family.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You'll have to have a system and figure out how to be lazy...

http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm

I like this quote from your website. Problem is everyone tells me I am a type A personality. I do not know how to relax.

"The master accomplishes more and more by doing less and less until finally he accomplishes everything by doing nothing." --Laozi, Tao Te Ching
 

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Problem is everyone tells me I am a type A personality. I do not know how to relax.
I know what you mean, I have a full time job, then I have my other full time job---THE BEES. Now understand I'm not whining, I enjoy staying busy and accomplishing my goals. The bees are a LOT of work.
 
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