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Author Topic: How many hives to make a living?  (Read 29245 times)

Offline TwT

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Re: How many hives to make a living?
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2013, 09:39:36 am »
Blanc, the number of hives you need depends on what you plan to do with your bee's to make a living, I have a friend that has 100-200 hives that sale's 200 nucs and 100 queens, he sales very little honey, he build's and sale's his own equipment (hive components) and does removals, he works year around mostly alone and mostly winters around 100 hives a year but builds up early spring close to 200. I have other friends that pollinate and have 500-1000 hives, they sale honey, queens, nuc's, pollen, wax, ect., and has workers working for them, what you need to figure out is what it is you want to do with the hives to make a living then that would help you with the number you need. just my 2 cent worth. 
THAT's ME TO THE LEFT JUST 5 MONTHS FROM NOW!!!!!!!!

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Offline 10framer

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Re: How many hives to make a living?
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2013, 08:29:20 pm »
Blanc, the number of hives you need depends on what you plan to do with your bee's to make a living, I have a friend that has 100-200 hives that sale's 200 nucs and 100 queens, he sales very little honey, he build's and sale's his own equipment (hive components) and does removals, he works year around mostly alone and mostly winters around 100 hives a year but builds up early spring close to 200. I have other friends that pollinate and have 500-1000 hives, they sale honey, queens, nuc's, pollen, wax, ect., and has workers working for them, what you need to figure out is what it is you want to do with the hives to make a living then that would help you with the number you need. just my 2 cent worth. 

good point.
i think at least 400 if you are going to plan on honey being the primary product but as few as 150 if you sell nucs/packages/queens as well as honey. 

all you guys quoting what a drum of honey goes for would be shocked by what we sold it for in the late 70's early 80's.  if i remember right we got about .65/pound back then.

finski is right about working with a commercial beekeeper.  it not only takes a lot of work but also a lot of equipment. 

Offline blanc

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Re: How many hives to make a living?
« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2013, 08:43:25 pm »
Blanc, the number of hives you need depends on what you plan to do with your bee's to make a living, I have a friend that has 100-200 hives that sale's 200 nucs and 100 queens, he sales very little honey, he build's and sale's his own equipment (hive components) and does removals, he works year around mostly alone and mostly winters around 100 hives a year but builds up early spring close to 200. I have other friends that pollinate and have 500-1000 hives, they sale honey, queens, nuc's, pollen, wax, ect., and has workers working for them, what you need to figure out is what it is you want to do with the hives to make a living then that would help you with the number you need. just my 2 cent worth. 

Thx for the info TwT. I realize it is easier said than done and could have a lot of down falls in losing hives  as one beek in Springfield told me. He lost nearly half his hives last year. 2011 he sold 250 gals honey and last year he only harvested 60 gals. I come your way from time to time and get parts for my wood heater. Hope you faired better than us for Issac.I lost about three hives here.
Blanc
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More to be desired are they than gold, yea ,than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

Offline TwT

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Re: How many hives to make a living?
« Reply #23 on: March 02, 2013, 02:04:29 pm »
I have my hive sitting on 2 cynder block high and 4x4's on top of the blocks, I ratchet strapped them down to the blocks and they did great. didn't lose any.
THAT's ME TO THE LEFT JUST 5 MONTHS FROM NOW!!!!!!!!

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Online Ben Framed

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Re: How many hives to make a living?
« Reply #24 on: November 23, 2022, 12:35:58 am »
Kirk Webster makes a living on, I think about 300 colonies and about 150 nucs or so.  Here is some of his talking about how much you can make per hive depending on what you are doing:

http://www.kirkwebster.com/index.php/a-new-paradigm-for-american-beekeepers

I think you need to diversify your income from the bees.  There's not much to be made on honey unless you market it as treatment free and/or sell direct to the consumer.  There is more money in bees and queens and nucs.

Thanks for the link, Michael.  It is a good read and very beneficial.
Joe



Thanks for posting the link Michael...

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If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV

Offline Jim 134

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Re: How many hives to make a living?
« Reply #25 on: November 29, 2022, 02:06:33 am »
   I wonder how much money ? Kurt Webster makes every year off of articles he writes and seminars that he gives.?

 Just in case you would like to read a few articles
https://kirkwebster.com/   

           BEE HAPPY  Jim 134  😊
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Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: How many hives to make a living?
« Reply #26 on: November 29, 2022, 03:33:44 am »
Karen and i are full time beekeepers
We run 350 hives, you need to run enough hive that you have enough honey in the worst year.
Sell honey at farmer markets at more than double wholesale, $11-12 per kg
Pollination, almond and cherries, 40% of income
Sell some nucs, 25-40 per year.
Sell a little merchandise, siuts, frames etc 5% of oncome only
Karen makes hand crafted soap which is sold at the markets, 10% of income
Approx capital outlay 250k, hives. transport and extraction/storage facility.

Online Michael Bush

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Re: How many hives to make a living?
« Reply #27 on: November 29, 2022, 06:50:35 am »
Kirk doesn't speak very often and I haven't seen a lot of articles recently.  I tried to get him to let me publish his articles so far in a book (the ones you can read on the website) but he wants to actually write a book.  I hope he does.  He has a lot of wisdom to share.

Keep in mind too that Kirk has a very simple lifestyle.  He lives in a small house off the grid.  He got by renting (I think) a house in the country for many years, but now has some land for which he has been given a lease for life where he built this off-the-grid house.  I don't know what he makes, but I'm sure it would be a bumper crop year if he ever made it to six figures and I'm sure some years are pretty lean.  As much as he has diversified within beekeeping he still pretty much just does beekeeping and like all agriculture, some years are much worse and some years are much better than average.
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline Acebird

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Re: How many hives to make a living?
« Reply #28 on: November 29, 2022, 08:42:11 am »
I know a commercial beekeeper in UPstate NY who manages 500 hives.  He lives a meager life style and I wouldn't doubt some years he has had to accept assistance to get by during bad years.  As a single proprietorship you need something to fall back on.  No different than a small farm.
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Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: How many hives to make a living?
« Reply #29 on: November 29, 2022, 04:41:16 pm »
In this look into bees as a business, are we talking migratory or stationary bee keeping?
We are migratory BK's, chase the flow where ever it is. We try to stay within 100 miles of home but the bees may have 5-6 shifts per season, including wintering and pollination.
I don't know the US but stationary BKing would be a tough way to try and run a honey business in OZ.
350 hives in our system is a very good living.

Online Michael Bush

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Re: How many hives to make a living?
« Reply #30 on: November 30, 2022, 07:46:28 am »
Kirk's are mostly stationary.  Mine are mostly stationary.  I do a little pollination, but not much.  To make much on pollination would require moving bees more than 2,000 miles just to do almonds and if you want to do Washington apples etc. it would probably be closer to 5,000 miles (7,000 Km).
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline Acebird

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Re: How many hives to make a living?
« Reply #31 on: November 30, 2022, 08:38:16 am »
Most commercial beekeepers are migratory.  There is a class between commercial and hobbyist.  That would be stationary.
Brian Cardinal
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