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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have MS.

With the treatments I am doing a little better, but I MIGHT never regain enough strenth to have enough hives to earn what I had intended.

I have spent the day thinking about alternatives. I REALLY do not want a desk job! I have never had one and I have never really WANTED one! I am WAAY too restless.

What do you folks think about setting up an area to extract, and charging a fee per super? What sort of equipment would a typical beekeeper expect?

I know that it is possible to spend a small fortune on beekeeping equipment, but I have always favored the minimalist approach: a bread knife instead of an uncapping knife, kitchen strainers and stock pots and such. Still, not everyone has my outlook on life.

What sort of equipment would a small-time beekeeper EXPECT if I were to charge, say, $5 to $10 to extract a super?

I COULD have a sink put in the laundry room as the pipes are already in, a medium-sized extractor, and?????????????

What would you suggest for somebody who caters to the small-time beekeepers?
 

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My thought would be that you could do much better and cheaper set-up with woodware assembly. Most beekeepers with more than 2 hives have their own extractor. The bigger guys don't have time to assemble woodenware, and many of them buy it preassembled. If you could assemble it for the difference in price between assembled and unassembled, they would likely be happy to let you do it. Also, with your MS, you may not want to be pinned down to a "while you wait" job. With the wood, you could take rest periods when needed.

PS. Sorry about your ms, I wish you the best.
Also, the amount of work available would be tremendously more.
 

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the largest consideration should be focused around the question as to 'if' there is enough of a market to support your idea. from this you would then need to define some estimate of exactly how much volumn you would be expecting to extract. I would suspect, if you truely have a desire to make a few bucks at this type of enterprise, a minimialist attitude may not be the appropriate mind set.

here in texas a licensed extracting plant can not be within a living quarters.

I have often wondered if some form of custom extracting, bottling and labeling operation might not be a pretty good service to offer, especially if you had a good number of hobby beekeeper in your local.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
"The bigger guys don't have time to assemble woodenware, and many of them buy it preassembled. If you could assemble it for the difference in price between assembled and unassembled, they would likely be happy to let you do it. "

THAT's interesting! I will keep that in mind: I could put an ad in the local bee newspaper.

Then again, I HOPE that I will be strong enough next spring to work more hives, and plant veggies as well.

We shall see. I intend to spend this winter working out a plan "B" in case I am not stronger by next spring.
 

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Sorry to hear you have MS. My thoughts are with you.

Iddee's idea is great! Woodenware seems a good choice for the reasons iddee said.

Any big keepers near you??
 

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A laundry room is not going to be the best place
to extract honey. The lint drifting around from
the dryer will contaminate the honey unless you
have a sealed processing line.
 

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Terri:

Just charge $1.00 per super with the understanding that you get to keep the cappings and honey that come with them.
You will be surprised at how much you will end up with.
best regards,

Kurt
 

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I have no idea what the going price for extracting is, but I think $1 is low for the work involved.

What are you physical limitations that you think extracting is easier than beekeeping? You can keep bees without lifting boxes EXCEPT when you harvest you have to carry the honey in something. You can't extract without lifting boxes.

If you want to keep bees with less work check out horizontal hives and eight frame hives and all mediums. There are a lot of little things that add up to make things easier. There are pictures of all of these on my web site if you're interested.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
MB, it isn't the position it is the HEAT and the endurance. The heat wears me down big-time, and then I am too weak to go through the lower box.

Heat makes MS symptoms MUCH! worse.

Right now, DH is helping me when I need to do more than peek at the bees, but since he does not LIKE bees I hesitate to work up to very many hives.

I DID split a hive in the back yard just last week, and go through it as well, but I had to cover it in the middle of the process and lay down inside because the heat was making me just too weak to finish.

Now, I live in town and I had intended the main bee yard to be on my land 20 miles away. That means no air conditioning breaks, and the usual MS solutions to heat are not strong enough unless I get a LITTLE better!

Of course, if I DO get a little better, I can wear a wet vest outside for cooling, have my 30 hives, hire help with the honey harvest, and work a couple of acres of veggies with one of those hobby tractors.

And, if I am NOT better next spring, I will go to plan B of either woodwork assembling or extracting or........???????

A friend of mine has a part of her garage sectioned off as a hair salon, I COULD make an extracting set-up that way. It all depends on if the numbers add up. I suspect that assembling woodwork would be more practical as the large overhead would not be there.

So, I will work on my options and decide what to do next spring (when I know how well my treatments will work).
 

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Down here in Florida they usually get .10 to .15 cents per pound. So its around $60 to $80 dollars a barrel, but keep in mind commercial beekeepers are going to bring you lots of honey to extract. Wich will be alot of work. You are better off botteling honey or putting woodenware together.
 

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I have MS too, forget the extracting idea. First of all, you can't support yourself on any small agricultural pursuit, including growing vegetables, which is even harder on an MS'r than beekeeping. Secondly, extracting requires you to be on your feet at all times, on a wet slippery floor, in a room heated by running motors and hot knives. I just extracted a ton of my honey, but my buddy did most of the work. My feet and legs give out every 15 minutes and I sit on a chair and watch. I do landscaping, which is similar to vegetable growing, but all I can do is tractor work and my six man crew does the real work. What I can handle well is what I am doing just now, sitting at a desk. More bad news, MS rarely gets better over time. Mine has been slowly progressing for 15 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Oliver, thank you for the news from the trenches, so to speak.

As for supporting myself, I was looking for a supplemental part-time income, as the kids are still young enough to need a lot of work. We have my DH's income also.

I USED to work weekends, but no more.

Thanks for telling me how much heat the engines put out: I will have to take that into account. An air conditioner might help, even if it means that the honey would extract more slowly.

As for raising vegetables, did you know that you can use a grubbing hoe when you are kneeling? It is a fact: that is how I planted the asparagus. The weight of the head provides most of the force to sink it into the soil.

And, asparagus can be picked on my hands and knees and placed into baskets on the ground. Though, I might need the help of the kids to get the baskets into the (lawnmower-pulled) cart to drive back to the car. If I have enough asparagus to justify selling it that will be a lot of bending down and getting up.

I only planted 50 roots until I get the bugs worked out: I am figuring things out as I go along!

Since it takes months before the shots begin to help, I won't know *IF* they help until next spring. I started these meds in February. I know that the shots are having SOME effect, because I HAVEN'T gotten worse in the last 2 months, knock on wood! Though, right now my legs ALSO give out in almost exactly 15 minutes, LOL!
 

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Why off topic, but have you looked into the use of intestanal (sp) parisites for the treatment of MS? The studys I read showed total remition (sp) of symptoms.

Sparky
 

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I'm no expert on MS, but I've also heard that bee venom therapy works for MS.

My opinion is that Michael Bush is spot on with his advice for you. I'd go one more and suggest a horizontal hive. With horizontal hives you can harvest and process a few combs at a time on a regular basis instead of waiting until you have so much honey it's a major project. No heavy lifting of a whole super at all. Also, you get lots of wax with that method, which leads to another possibility. You could set up to make beeswax candles and market them to people who are interested in health and natural methods. They are a little different and a lot better than the hundreds of parrafin candles you see everywhere, so they can be sold for a premium. I want to do that, too, but my wife says my serious lack of any sense of what's "cute" is a major handicap. I guess cute sells candles?
 

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I don't have MS, but heat and lifting have been my main problems. A Golden Bee Products suit with just shorts under it helped tremendously on the heat (it's mesh) but a bug baffler jacket and pants with just shorts on is pretty good, cheaper, cooler even than the Golden Bee Products suit but not as sting proof.

The horizontal hives and medium frames helped tremendously with the lifting.
 

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Whatever idea you go with, be sure to do enough research to know where your customers are coming from. Throwing an extracting party and no one comes is a very expensive failure. I'd get as firm a committment as possible from your customers before investing any money. At least you need to have a very clear idea of the potential customer base.
 

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How about firing up your own co-op. They bring you the Honey - Cut Comb - wax and you become their retailer. Lots of guys can do the work but don't like to do the selling. Operate a better than average website, push yourself to do some honest hardworking marketing and the candle making. You might could turn a small profit. I saw a 55 gal drum of honey for sale at $1 a pound. Thats 650 pounds of honey. I sell mine for $4 a pound. I mail out in the USPS flat rate box at $7.70 shipping and people don't seem to mind to get a quality product. Plus I can do all the shipping work right at the house. If you can get a good customer base and be a Jonny on the spot supplier who knows. Best wishes for you
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
There are a lot of good ideas, here, and I thank you. This gives me a great deal to think about.
 
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