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Poll
Question: For those with less than 50 hives now, are you working to.....  (Voting closed: April 28, 2009, 07:44:54 AM)
Stay at the numbers you are now? - 9 (9.7%)
expand but stay at a small number. - 37 (39.8%)
expand so it would be a nice side income? - 35 (37.6%)
expand into a fulltime operation one day? - 8 (8.6%)
Not sure yet, I can't keep alive what I have now. - 4 (4.3%)
Total Voters: 92


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Author Topic: Where are your bees taking you?  (Read 4048 times)
BjornBee
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« on: March 29, 2009, 07:44:54 AM »

a couple months back, I gave a talk at a county club. I usually in my opening comments ask some questions to get the feel for the group. It might be for a natural group questions on comb choice, SBB, fogging, etc. This group had asked for an overview of my operation and wanted to know what I was doing in the industry.

So I asked:
How many of you are making a living or a partial income from your bees?  No hands went up.
How many here have 50 hives?  Nothing.
How many would like to build up to 50 hives? Nothing again.
Who wants to do this beyond being a hobbyist or backyard beekeeper? Nothing.

I keep thinking about that. I never had a group such as that before. And there was close to 80 or more attending.

So I wanted to get a feel for the group here.

Thank you for participating.
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TwT
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« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2009, 08:38:38 AM »

 I make a little side income now and would like to expand into a full time one day after the kids are out of college and on there own so that would be another 8 years! I just figure it will give me time to get my numbers up so I can make a living selling nuc's, queens and honey crop.
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vermmy35
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« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2009, 09:00:53 AM »

I really can't answer this since I am waiting on my first package I can say if everything goes good for the first year then maybe up to 50 just for fun.
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sean
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« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2009, 09:03:57 AM »

Bees are my only source of income. I have about 50 colonies, I am getting an income but most of it is going back out in buying honey as i am not able to satisfy the demand wth my own honey. Hope to change that by year end though.  
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davedill
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« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2009, 09:11:03 AM »

I am waiting on my first bee package in 19 days.  My intention was to have one hive to help pollenate my garden and to teach my two young boys more about nature.  As I have been reading more about honey bees I am getting more interested in items like catching swarms and raising queens.  Who knows where it will go.  I might get 10 stings the first day and be posting them on craigslist   grin

Anyway, I am counting the days until they get here and the learning can go from theory to practical.

Mike - we met at the Lehigh Valley beek meeting earlier in the month.  I look forward to learning from your experiences....
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tlynn
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« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2009, 11:01:53 AM »

For us it is a hobby.  We are looking to replace the money spent with honey sales and don't look at it as a profit center based on time invested vs. financial return.  We'd have to grow a lot bigger for that, which doesn't interest us.  Last year was our first year and we gave away all the honey our bees produced.  After someone asked me if I could give them a another pound of honey and really meant "give" I realized I had devalued our product and apologized to our bees.  And I also realized if I had sold all that honey it would have put a big dent in the investment we had made thus far.  So, we are adding a couple more hives this year and will be selling every bit of it.  With all the people asking us for honey we surely will be able to pay for what we have spent to date.  Return on the invested $ + enjoyment of the bees = worthwhile adventure.
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JP
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« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2009, 11:32:25 AM »

This year I would like to keep up with them better and make bunches of honey. As it is right now demand is high and people are waiting for my next harvest.

My nephew doesn't know it yet but he will be helping me more this year than ever before and my wife has expressed interest, but I haven't put her to the test yet.

My main issue is of course man power and time to do it all.

I lost a good bit of hives this winter for a variety of reasons. I went in with 50 and am now back up to near 40.

One day I honestly would like to expand, but I'm not sure exactly how much or what the exact intent would be.

Don't believe I would ever want to be a migratory beek, but breeding them, making honey for sale and setting other people up has my interest.

Of course, all this is between catching swarms and doing cut outs. tongue


...JP
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2009, 11:58:31 AM »

I'm into sustainable farming.  my bees are primarily a source of food, candles, soaps, and balms for the family (extended) and for barter.  I also raise chickens and rabbits for the same reason.  Food for the extended family and barter for other things I need.
It's surprizing how many people right now are willing to work for a couple dozen eggs for a 1/2 days work.  Throw in a dressed out hen or rabbit and you have a day laborer.  It's the same for fruits and vegetables.  This summer I will pay my day laborers with Jars of honey, eggs, meat, fresh vegetables, fruits, and berries.
I'm not running a business (it's against the Trust the property is under) but I can grow and barter all I want.
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RayMarler
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« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2009, 12:25:13 PM »

At one time I was working towards expansion and maybe a small almond pollenation contract. Things change, the back doesn't get any stronger over time. I'm working at staying small, maybe 4 to 8 hives and some mating nucs.
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WLF1961
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« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2009, 12:50:05 PM »

Hoping to build up to maybe 50-100 over the next 8-10 years by the time I retire. Only have 8 right now so we will see. If 8 or 10 is all we end up with then that's ok too cause we enjoy the publics interest when they find out we have bees. Never, ever have enough honey, we get calls year round several times a month for honey. It's all fun and rewarding for us!
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Rex
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« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2009, 02:16:18 PM »

I started with two hives last spring, and lost one of them over the winter.  I've ordered another package of bees, meanwhile, my remaining hive is threatening to swarm.  So I might have 3 in a little while Smiley

Keeping bees is a hobby for me, and if I get enough honey out of the deal to make holiday gifts and have honey all year I'll be happy.
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Rich V
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« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2009, 04:22:32 PM »

I have six colonies of bees now. Never wanted that many but last year had to do splits, had no one that wanted the extra bees. This year it looks like the same will happen. I need to find them a home. Have honey comimg out of my ears. This year I'll try some comb honey.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2009, 04:46:08 PM »



Mike - we met at the Lehigh Valley beek meeting earlier in the month.  I look forward to learning from your experiences....

Hello Dave.
What a great turnout at the meeting! Unbelievable how many new beekeepers were there.

I'm glad to say that Lehigh Valley Beekeepers Association has also added their name to the growing list of participants for the National Honey Bee Awareness Day.

And experience works both ways. I always want to know what the next guy is doing.

Take care.
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LAC
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« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2009, 05:23:47 PM »

I currently have two hives and another two 3lbs packages on order. I plan to keep it at a hobbyist level and a fun thing to do.
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vermmy35
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« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2009, 05:25:39 PM »

I have six colonies of bees now. Never wanted that many but last year had to do splits, had no one that wanted the extra bees. This year it looks like the same will happen. I need to find them a home. Have honey comimg out of my ears. This year I'll try some comb honey.


Rich I wish I could have know a month or 2 ago I could have taken some off you hands.  Let me butter up the wife and see what she thinks since I will only have one hive, I might Be able to talk her into letting me place another one. grin
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mlewis48
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« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2009, 05:48:04 PM »

 This is the first year that I was out of the red. It was good to see some money out of my hard work. Most, if not all of the money prior to this year went back into it for more equipment, better equipment, bigger extractor, and the list goes on. But with that said, I have 40 colonies now and will be well over 60-100 at the end of this year. I hope to see more profit out of it this year. I have more and better out yards than last year with more potential for a good crop. Like most of you said, finding and management  of time will be the hardest thing for me. Help is hard to find and it just means I have to do more and enjoy the out come of my work.
                                      Marc
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gaucho10
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« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2009, 06:49:30 PM »

For 21 years I've kept bees strictly as a hobby.  I had up to 9 hives and all the money I made from honey sales was strictly to pay for all the equipment and medication.  I think that in all those years I broke even and had fun doing it.  Now I do not expect to have more than 4 hives and that is strictly for my own personal use and perhaps to give away to friends and neighbors.  I am retired and do not need a money making business out of beekeeping.  I still do extractions and bat removals for money but also as a hobby.  I am just playing around before I die.
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oldenglish
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« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2009, 08:14:31 PM »

Right now the plan is to start out small but grow fast, Two packages in April, then whatever I can get from swarms. I would like to end the year with 5-7 hives and finish the second year with 25. Eventually I would like 50. At that point I would have to see just how I am doing as I have the option to keep expanding or just staying at that size. I already have plans for selling honey, wax products and I am interested in raising queens and Nucs, guess we get to sit back and see how I do.
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Bee-Bop
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« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2009, 08:58:36 PM »

Granny Goodcook says " their taking us to the poor house "

Bee-Bop
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mherndon
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New Bee


« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2009, 09:09:52 PM »

I just started with one hive last May and wish over again that I had started at least two.  I plan on spliting this Spring and hopefully getting some swarm bees in the area.  Would like to have three to five hives, just for hobby.  I would sell the honey and also give some to friends and family.  Not sure if I will try wax products or not yet.

Mark
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Starting my 3rd year and still having a ball!
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