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Author Topic: Economical Small Scale Operation  (Read 1990 times)
ctsoth
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« on: April 25, 2006, 10:58:14 PM »

So, the question is:

What is the most economical/cost affective way to start up a 50-100 hive operation?
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Understudy
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« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2006, 11:40:41 PM »

With lots of money and lots of land. You may need bees also.
Okay lets look at this from a ficticious financial point of view.
9 5/8" Hive Body                                          $7.95 x 50   = 397.5
9 1/8" Pre-Assembled Frames                        $1.99 x 500 = 995.00
Telescoping Cover With Inner Cover             $20.35 x 50   = 1017.50
Bottom Board                                               $8.95 x 50    = 447.50
3# bee packages with queens                      $51.00 x 50    = 2550.00
Sub Total                                                                          $5407.50
Price does not include shipping and handling
You could alter the price by altering the parts and by asking a bulk discount.
I looked the prices for materials up on mann lakes site for hive stuff and rossman for the bees.

You now also need a good amount of space for bees to hang and a good surrounding land for them to gather pollen and nectar from. Also as they do that the hives will need to be increased in size. Then there is the matter of dealing with all that honey and wax and the equipment that comes with that. Also how are you going to treat your bees and what chemicals if any will you use. Remember Dow doesn't make chemicals for free(better living through Chemistry). The state is going to want it's share to register your hives.

Now do you have a  buyer for your honey and wax? Are you going onto a farm and help pollinate? Are you getting compensation for having your bees on the farm? Will it be enogh to offset all the costs?

Had enough yet? Smiley

The reason bee farms are on the decline is it's expensive to own bees and the profit margin can be destroyed with a few careless moves.  If you are going to do this I seriously wish you the best of luck. If you can get investors to help offset the costs that will cut down on your finacial liablity but it will also mean you have to share the profits. The most economical way, I can see to do this, is to start small and build up through splits over about 3 years and start with maybe 5-10 hives.That way your expenses are spread over time and the bees you have in three years you are comfortable with. To offsets costs during that time learn to breed good queens and register and sell them. Good queens can be sold to help make money when honey and pollen are in short supply.  Good queen sellers are rare and treasured. Especially those who can sell queens year round.

If this hasn't been intimidating enough, wait until those who are the real pros come in here and pipe up. Did I mention the cost of therapy cuts into the profits?

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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ctsoth
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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2006, 12:12:28 AM »

I have two sites I'm using this year.  This will be my frist year with two hives.  I wanted to start very small this year so that I could get some idea what I was up against before diving right in...  I also plan to attend the University of Minnesota's Queen rearing workshop this year, I suppose that I should register now though...

Actually, the biggest road block I can think up for myself would be what the hell would I do with all that honey and stuff...  My brothers father in law offered me the use of his farm, a few grasslands, his mother in laws land, and he said we could go talk to some other farmers in the area.  Also I am real close to quite a few apple orchards, and upon cursery examination none of them appear to have any sort of hives for pollination, so I am thinking I could set myself up for a pollination service.  I also have my own back yard availible to me, once I convince the others that I live with that the bees will not vehemently track them down and dispatch them one by one.

I would probably order from mann lake because they are in the same state as me.  Unless they could ship me the stuff without my first born for the shipping cost, I would probably drive up there to pick up all the equipment.
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randydrivesabus
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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2006, 05:32:38 AM »

as in any farming operation (especially small farming) you are subject to problems beyond your control...the major one being weather. if you can afford the risk and have a place to direct market your product you could make money.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2006, 07:32:59 AM »

Find someone who is retiring and buy the business.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Jack Parr
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« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2006, 09:24:14 AM »

declared expert in bees and FINANCING of same. Man you have come a LONG way since your BOAT days Tongue

ACTUALLY your presentation IS right on.  I would add that keeping bees is NOT a very good MONEY maker, at all.  

This would be an activity that would have to be done for other reasons, such as, well I like working outside with nature for instance, or, dare I say it, I love my bees cheesy

I have extracted and SOLD my honey last year and will do so again this year. Hopefully to re-coup my investment, which, although not much so far, is not very rewarding for the risk involved and work involved.

I've met some guys with hundreds of hives who are in the business for the honey. They ain't too enchanted with the prices they are able to receive for their honey production in bulk.

There is always a way to make a few bucks locally selling to friends and neighbors because folks believe that locally produced honey is better. There again one must be able to do this without running afoul of FOOD laws. I won't try to guess how that would affect anyone in any particular state since each state has more or less rules concerning how food is processed and sold but I would for sure be acquainted with ALL the requirements before I would venture into any sales of large quantities of honey to the public.

It would be folly to get started and find out that the requirement are such that the venture would require a substantial investment to meet the codes.  

Producing queens and packages IS LABOR INTENSIVE. One should pay a visit to to any outfit that is in that activity for profit  smiley
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TREBOR
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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2006, 10:01:01 AM »

Quote
What is the most economical/cost affective way to start up a 50-100 hive operation?

 slow down.........that was my question last year, I got ten nucs from one
guy and two busting out collonies from another.
 Then I bought equipment and more and more and more, I made 6 more collonies by the end of the year..... cheesy  shocked
 I was concerned about chemicals as far as treatment for pests.........
I used formic acid to kill 5 queens and knock my bee population way back just in time for winter...........but I did kill some mites cry
 (I followed the directions to a tee)

I woke up this spring two find I have 12 collonies left (they are the size of five frame nucs) in two deep supers.....can someone tell me if this is the normel size in the spring?

 
anyways, my advice is do it big if you can, ( the world needs more beekeepers) but bee ready for big loses too, cause we all make mistakes

Quote
The most economical way, I can see to do this, is to start small and build up through splits over about 3 years and start with maybe 5-10 hives.

Thats about the way I feel too......two collonies would be enough to touch it, 10 collonies would be enough to feel it....and see if that is what you really want to do.......

 BTW my 24hr. mite count the other day was one or less on every tray....
I suppose thats the good side of formic acid ( But I may never use it again).............

Oh and one more thing, read, read, read, read as you absorb information a bigger picture will start to form in your mind and it will all make more sence
AND......
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Robo
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« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2006, 10:13:16 AM »

Quote from: TREBOR

I woke up this spring two find I have 12 collonies left (they are the size of five frame nucs) in two deep supers.....can someone tell me if this is the normel size in the spring?


There is no normal, it depends on the strain of bees you have,  some have smaller winter clusters than others, but build up quicker.   It sounds like you are in good shape.  Just keep an eye on them and watch how fast they grow Smiley
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TREBOR
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« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2006, 10:18:50 AM »

oops, normal, sry cheesy
 ya they all seem to have about four frames capped
so, I guess that will be about 20,000 bees when they all emerge
 and right now the trees are just bloomin........
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mat
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« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2006, 01:21:17 PM »

Understudy, where do you buy deep hive body for $7.95?
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mat
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« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2006, 01:27:54 PM »

Quote from: mat
Understudy, where do you buy deep hive body for $7.95?


http://www.mannlakeltd.com/catalog/page9.html

Budget grade 50-249
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