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this was asked by GB in another thread. I was curious about it also so I thought I would post a new thread on it "At what point have you commercial guys made the jump to a diesel flat bed / loader or a boom truck ? Is 2/3 hundred or are more hives needed.? "
 

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As soon as you realize how much more you work you can get done with a forklift. It not that you will be working less. You just end up doing more. I am way to lazy to ever do things by hand. If I have to pick something up once it goes on a pallet.

I would offer this guy $1500 for this one, he is way over priced. We have 7 of them, just so we have 4 at anyone time.

http://www.machinerytrader.com/listingsdetail/detail.aspx?OHID=7288076
 

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Once you have made your mind up to go full time then its time to purchase a forklift truck and trailer. You don't have to buy new but thats when its time to buy one, numbers don't really matter.
 

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We all do what we can w/ what we have. If you are going to be in the bee business, moving hives and such from one state to another, then you either need friends that will provide the machinery when you need it or you need to be self sufficient as possible.

When did I make the jump to a flat bed and loader? I guess that decision was sort thrust upon me. I had a couple of hundred colonies, maybe 300 or 400, I forget. A friend of mine that had had a loader and International ten wheeler had his skidder starter motor go on us while we were working bees.

We went in my pickup to the local equipment dealer and borrowed a starter from their loaner machine. When we returned it, Jon asked about what the loaner would cost and what could he get for his machine in trade. They made the deal.

Then Jon said to the dealer, "What will you sell my old machine to him for?", meaning me. I didn't know that I was in the market for a skidder. But I ended up getting approved for financing and financed a trailer at the same time and I was then a mobile beekeeper.

Since then I have kept the skidder and trailer and upgraded trucks a number of times. First a set of used trucks and then when I got tired of having them in the shop so much of the time, I went new.

So, what do you see in your future? Are you tired of picking hives up by hand? Do you need to move more than just honey and supers from honey house to hive and back? Skidders are great for that, but not necassary. There are plenty of good sized outfits that handle taking off honey w/out a skidder in the bee yard. Just a matter of what you can do w/ what you have.
 

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"At what point have you commercial guys made the jump to a diesel flat bed / loader or a boom truck ? Is 2/3 hundred or are more hives needed.? "

You get those things when you have a need for them. (If you have extra money burning a hole in your pocket, you may get them when you just have a want for them.)

I help a commercial guy a little who runs 800+ hives. He uses his factory half ton pickup truck. He is a stationary beekeeper who does honey production. He doesn't have a need for a forklift or flat bed truck.
 

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sounds to me like he is a gluten for punishment. A flatbed alone with lift gate would really make removing honey easier and prevent back problems later!
 

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"
I help a commercial guy a little who runs 800+ hives. He uses his factory half ton pickup truck. He is a stationary beekeeper who does honey production. He doesn't have a need for a forklift or flat bed truck.


If you are referring to the guy I think you are - "Ohio's Largest Honey Producer", then I can not imagine handling 50 tons of honey manually. He must be a hard as nails.... perhaps he has lots of help? Maybe all shallows? Don't tell me - deeps??
 

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I think that it could be done. I grew up on a cherry orchard back when we used wooden boxes and weighed each box to pay the picker. A box of cherries would weigh about 50 lbs (similar to a medium of honey).

We lifted it off of the ground where the picker left it an put it on the scales. We lifted it off of the scales and put in on the tailgate or end of the trailer. We lifted it and stacked it. When we got to the packing shed we lifted it and put it on a conveyor. When the pickers left their boxes in the middle of the row, we had to lift them and move them out of the way. :rolleyes: We (my brother and I when we were in high school) lifted all of that ourselves. Over three weeks we picked from 100-180 tons of cherries. That can be up to 8 tons per day that we lifted 4 times.

50 tons in a year? Child's play....:lookout:
 

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50 tons in a year? Child's play....:lookout:
I think the key here is "Child's play" - or maybe young mans play.... I often watch my son (24) reach over and pick up a double deep and move it to another pallet and have to laugh - all I can say is "In 30 years you will not be doing that".
 

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Our operation still hand loads the honey. Medium boxes taken off and stacked directly onto drip pallets on the low-decked flat beds. Many of our yards are tucked away and don't really have much room for a loader anyway.
We didn't buy a loader and go palletized until we started moving interstate, at about 1200 colonies.
That said, there are two kinds of commercial beekeepers: those with a bad back and those who are gonna have a bad back. The longer you can post pone the inevitable the better. Some beeks I know have chiropractors in multiple states.:rolleyes:
Sheri
 

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Our operation still hand loads the honey. Medium boxes taken off and stacked directly onto drip pallets on the low-decked flat beds. Many of our yards are tucked away and don't really have much room for a loader anyway.

Sheri
But Sheri - do you hire help during the honey harvest? Or are you and John out there tossing around those 60 lb supers alone? My impression was that Ron was out there alone... maybe not - at an age not a lot younger than myself (not young guy)
 

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My back and arms hurt just reading that. :doh: When I shy away from lifting heavy,,,,I remind'em that I like my intestines to stay where thert're supposed to be:D

Rick SoMd
 

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are you and John out there tossing around those 60 lb supers alone?
When we had 800 colonies, John did it by himself too, by hand. We do hire help now, no one with our many colonies does it alone. He hasn't pulled honey by himself since we passed about 800 colonies (I was always too wimpy to pull honey). But John still throws those boxes around, not to mention moving brood boxes from one pallet to another occasionally, despite the bad back days. I suggest the two might be related but he's too busy (and stubborn) to listen, as he was 20 years ago, when listening might have done some good. :)
When do you get a forklift or lift gate? The smart move is not to wait too long, it is mostly a case of "pay now or pay later". The problem is, the cost isn't justified until the damage is done.:doh:
Sheri
 

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When we had 100 hives we started using the flat deck trailer (almost 2' off the ground) and a ramp hubby made with the 3/4 tonne truck hubby has for the farm. Hubby made the ramp and it is nice but is quite heavy and a pain to pull in and out at each yard. It is okay to pull out, but once I have done a yard or two of pulling honey, the last thing i want to do is to pick it up and push it into the trailer.
From there, hubby bought a used cattle trailer which was really clean, and alot lower to the ground so the pushing of supers up the ramp is not so hard.
We also purchased a used powered hive cart for loading a stack of full honey supers. This has made life a whole lot easier.
Now with 200 hives I would like some extra power help, but that will have to wait for a bit. Instead of a heavy pull out ramp when i get to the yard, I would like to see a pull down ramp that would be easier on the shoulders and back. It was in the works but alas only so many hours in a day.
I would like some thing that would help with spring hive work when lifting and rotating boxes, moving hives. But what ever we get, I would like to use it in other aspects of beekeeping as well. So just not sure what that would be. yet.

Something else we have to consider when buying equipment for honey pulling or spring work up or even loading empties to take out to the yards, and fall feeding. And that is some of our yards are tucked away in the bush area. Getting in with something bigger especially on a wet year could mean getting stuck or worse.
 

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Thanks for re-asking this question, Kbenz, I was unable to follow up with that question as a seperate thread due to a family emergencie. <snip by mod> I asked the initial question because I was curious at what point other commercial guys made the jump, And i havent got the info available at this pont to put much together in the way of figures. Any way a guy called me and wants to trade me his Boom truck for an old motor home I have gonna go to california in the morning and them have a look at it middle of the week... so it may just work.. Anyway thanks for starting this thread and for others who have posted







this was asked by GB in another thread. I was curious about it also so I thought I would post a new thread on it "At what point have you commercial guys made the jump to a diesel flat bed / loader or a boom truck ? Is 2/3 hundred or are more hives needed.? "
 

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Skilled? Not as much so as alot of other folks I know. Just pig headed, most likely.

Persistence pays if you can stand the in between.
I believe "pigheadedness" is a characteristic of all beeks who are making it, I'd go so far as to say that it is also common to nearly all people who survive while "Not Workin for da Man!". My son (the boss beek) shares that characteristic with you.
 

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I started hiring help last year in the honey season to help pull it all in. The reason I've stay will the 1/2 ton is it is easier to get in to my hide away yards. In years passed it was just me so the smaller truck filled faster so I could take a break.:popcorn: Today we made 3 trips to the shop for a total of 198 supers. Now looking for a 1 ton box, but would have to open up some of my batcaves, to get in my yards. Like Sheri was saying about listen 20 years ago. I still have a lot of year in the business so I better start working smart not harder.
The answer to this question is like so many on here is that whatever works best for you. I'm a family man and most of my money is spent on my 8 kids and wife. Beekeeping has just been my out of control hobbie. It's just something that get in your blood. :ws I didn't have to jump, I'm a second generation honey producer.:thumbsup:
 

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OK, I am going to upset the apple cart. I can not understand the use of open trucks. The question is when do you go to the big open truck. I say never. What do you do about robbing? Do you tarp it when you leave a yard? If not, what happens when you drive though a town? We have used closed trucks since the 80's. The best box(on truck) is one designed to fit an integer number of boxes in width. The supers are stacked on skids after being wheeled up a light weight aluminum ramp that should slide between the frame rails. Back at the shop, a short ramp hooks on the back of the truck for removal with a handcart.
OK, so we do not migrate. Did the originator of the thread intend to migrate with 200 hives?

Roland Diehnelt
 
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