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Author Topic: Full time job + beekeeping/ how many hives?  (Read 586 times)

Offline Sledin

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Full time job + beekeeping/ how many hives?
« on: August 14, 2018, 06:06:27 pm »
I'm just wondering how many hives one person could manage while keeping a full time job?


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Offline Van, Arkansas, USA

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Re: Full time job + beekeeping/ how many hives?
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2018, 10:12:20 pm »
Just to prove a point, not trying to be a wise guy but that is like asking HOW LONG IS A STRING.  I know one fella that has 100 hives and a full time job.

Offline beepro

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Re: Full time job + beekeeping/ how many hives?
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2018, 10:13:30 pm »
If no children then try 5 hives otherwise try 2 hives.   I also like to add that if you are a seasoned beekeeper then
your numbers might go up.  If you are new to beekeeping then keeping them alive over this winter might give you the
needed experience.   This will also give you an idea of how much time you can spare in the next season.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2018, 11:00:54 pm by beepro »

Offline rockink

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Re: Full time job + beekeeping/ how many hives?
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2018, 10:29:06 pm »
A guy I just met a few days ago has 85 hives that he tends to around his full time job.

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Offline Acebird

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Re: Full time job + beekeeping/ how many hives?
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2018, 08:40:35 am »
How many "full time" jobs are you capable of handling?  It is not a trick question.  If you are good at juggling and excel at time management the number of hives could be quite high.  If you have no one but yourself as a work staff and no other support then likely the number will be quite low.
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Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: Full time job + beekeeping/ how many hives?
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2018, 09:25:12 am »
My partner and I had full time jobs and managed to run 170 hives in 4 groups. The trailer we used could carry 44 hives and they were run as migratory hives. The next year we went to 200 hives and I stopped full time work.

Offline DeepCreek

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Re: Full time job + beekeeping/ how many hives?
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2018, 10:45:03 am »
I work a 40hr. work week and have 30+ bee hives spread across 3 yards.  They're both "full time" jobs, but only the bee's require something to be done every weekend.

Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: Full time job + beekeeping/ how many hives?
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2018, 05:39:10 pm »
By our second year we had 40 hives with a 16 hive trailer, thought we couldn't get any busier, moved up to 70 with the new 44 hive trailer, then 120 and to 170.
You seem to grow with the increases and look back and say how did we seem so busy with 40 hives.
Right or wrong with opinions we run queen excluders and single brood boxes, also clearer boards or bee escapes for honey harvesting.

Offline Sledin

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Re: Full time job + beekeeping/ how many hives?
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2018, 07:11:04 pm »
My question was just to feel out how much I should invest into bees. I would like to know how big I should aim to get and keep a full time job, I'd like to have a number of hives to aim for and buy accordingly.

I live on 80 acres and can keep my bees on my yard, some years will be better than others depending on what my neighbours plants in their fields. So some years I might be able to keep all my hives at home, some years I would have to run out yards.
But I don't want bee keeping to be my main income.

Right now I'm keeping four colonies for a friend, I'll pay him with excess honey I produce as he has a customer base to sell to.


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Offline beepro

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Re: Full time job + beekeeping/ how many hives?
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2018, 10:10:52 pm »
If you have 80 acres and water is not an issue.  Let's say you have a big pond or streams somewhere nearby then your hive number is limitless in expanding.

For manpower you can partner up with your friend(s) to make it big.  How big is up to the time, manpower and local floral (4 seasons) constraints.  If you want the bees to survive on your land then you must plant for them through out the 4 seasons unless you plan to feed them all.  Going through the yearly summer dearth is the hardest on the bees.

For starter I would say go with 10-20 hives.  If you can handle that then continue expanding the following season.  If you cannot handle that then sell some back to your friend(s) to scale down.  When you do it you will know! 

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Full time job + beekeeping/ how many hives?
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2018, 10:53:42 pm »
Sledin,
Being in Manitoba, you will have a very short season. You will have to have your hives at full strength at the beginning of the flow in order to get a good crop. Then you will have to make sure your hives are ready to survive a long, cold winter.
We used to have a member here, Finski, that was from Finland. He produced over 200 pounds of honey per hive per year with a similar season.
Jim
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Offline splitrock

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Re: Full time job + beekeeping/ how many hives?
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2018, 07:21:52 am »
I have run over a hundred hives and am also a concrete contractor.... It Helps to be self employed I must say, but two busy times at the same time make for some long hard days this time of year.... I Am down to about 50 hives now..

Offline Acebird

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Re: Full time job + beekeeping/ how many hives?
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2018, 08:50:42 am »
My question was just to feel out how much I should invest into bees.
If you don't want it to be your main income then I would say invest nothing into bees.  Use the profits from what you have to expand your numbers.  It will be a slower progression with almost 0 risk.  How it goes will determine the magic number you are looking for.
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Offline ed/La.

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Re: Full time job + beekeeping/ how many hives?
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2018, 10:31:25 am »
20 to 30 hives would be  a reasonable start.  If you have down time in winter you could make your own boxes.  You might enjoy this YouTube channel  A Canadian beekeeper blog. He runs something like 1800 hives and  explains how he does it. makes a good video. When you have the time check out some of his videos. There is something there for all to learn.   

Offline ed/La.

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Re: Full time job + beekeeping/ how many hives?
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2018, 11:11:52 am »
Here is a better video of his than the one I  posted above

Offline Dallasbeek

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Re: Full time job + beekeeping/ how many hives?
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2018, 11:35:17 am »
I'm unable to view those videos as posted.  Can you give a namebor link to help?
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Offline GSF

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Re: Full time job + beekeeping/ how many hives?
« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2018, 02:14:09 pm »
I work full time and run 30 - 45 hives. I have found the secret to a sure success in growing your apiary. Every year I sincerely attempt to reduce the number of my hives. When you have more hives that you can keep up with you learn a valuable lesson - you don't have to work them as much. My losses are higher because of queen less issues. I feed them vitamins and electrolytes plus in their feed and they really crank out the babies, thus multiple swarms, thus more hives, more chances of a hive not re-queening. 
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Offline ed/La.

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Re: Full time job + beekeeping/ how many hives?
« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2018, 07:23:01 pm »
Dallasbeek  Go to you tube and search A Canadian beekeeper blog. You should find it.  He had a lot of videos. The single hive management explained  is a good place to start. Do

Offline Troutdog

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Re: Full time job + beekeeping/ how many hives?
« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2018, 11:56:25 pm »
I look at how long it took me to really know all the pitfalls of disease, forage and type of bee then my management technique.
If I dont do something stupid my total hours per hive for the season is probably about 3-4.
Then add in queen rearing and nucs and honey you can easily throw about 50 hrs in on top.
Add equipment maintenance like painting and making frames there's another 30 plus.
Dont forget 2 to 1 syrup making and distribution another 20 hrs.
Requeening swarms all extra on top.
Self employed I try to take may off as that is your season
I run about 180 hives.
I do occasionally have a helper but they seem to quit by july.
To get to where you can read a hive in under a few (3) minutes...disease, mites, stores, demeanor, vigor is the challenge. After that its factory work.
Luck

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Offline Acebird

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Re: Full time job + beekeeping/ how many hives?
« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2018, 08:29:33 am »
When you have more hives that you can keep up with you learn a valuable lesson - you don't have to work them as much.
I started with that premise and got a lot of people mad at me.  The only real thing you need to keep bees is equipment.  Focus your time on getting equipment.  Let the bees do the rest over time.
As a sideliner you don't have payroll so productivity is less important.
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Online Ben Framed

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Re: Full time job + beekeeping/ how many hives?
« Reply #20 on: August 18, 2018, 07:56:38 am »
By our second year we had 40 hives with a 16 hive trailer, thought we couldn't get any busier, moved up to 70 with the new 44 hive trailer, then 120 and to 170.
You seem to grow with the increases and look back and say how did we seem so busy with 40 hives.
Right or wrong with opinions we run queen excluders and single brood boxes, also clearer boards or bee escapes for honey harvesting.

Very interesting, thanks for sharing your experience. With that kind of progress it's no wonder you're comments seem to always make scene, Experience is invaluable! Along with others here. Thanks, Phillip Hall

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Full time job + beekeeping/ how many hives?
« Reply #21 on: August 23, 2018, 09:16:57 am »
I have a full time job.  I had 70 hives and 150 mating nucs about a month ago.  When I wasn't trying to raise so many queens I was running 200 hives and a full time job.  But it's like having two full time jobs... 40 hours a week of job and 40 hours a week of bees...
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Offline hilltophermit

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Re: Full time job + beekeeping/ how many hives?
« Reply #22 on: August 23, 2018, 12:59:54 pm »
I think a lot of it depends on how flexible your "real' job is.  Can you take time off when the bees need you? Can you leave on short notice? If you can work nights, That might be an advantage working the bees in the day time. Sometimes when you wait for the weekend to do something you find the weather doesn't cooperate. Just keep building up your stock until you scream "uncle!" lol It helps if you love what you do.