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Basic cost of running a hive commercially


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2 hours ago, Rob Stockley said:

No, trying to evaluate one of those backyard beehive rental schemes.

 

The biggest negative is the inefficiency of all those ones and twos scattered about the place.

 

In a good year you'd make a bit of coin. In a bad year carry a significant loss. Meanwhile the scheme owner makes a good return on a modest investment without any exposure to the variability of beekeeping. 

 

On the figures I can't see why anyone would do it. 

 

Maybe also:

- Diversity of income,

- Learning about new locations with a view to considering putting other sites in the area,

- Larger than normal honey crop due to low hive numbers.  

- Getting rid of extra hives

- Wanting to talk to someone other than the dog.

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I definitely need to get out more, but it's too peopley out there.   I know that I could easily do more work and make more money, but I work to live I don't live to work. I used to do a

You'd also have to lie to clients to maintain their belief that bees are disappearing and that their monthly rental is helping to save bees from extinction.

I've had a number of friends in the suburbs who have asked me to put a hive or two on their property and I've done so for friendship. And these hives undoubtedly make a big honey crop.   But

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18 minutes ago, Shaun said:

Community service is the main reason I do it.

I charge $350 pre year (which is about what I miss out on for commercial pollination)

They get 12 jars of honey (about 8kg) and I keep the rest, in a good year that can be quite a bit

 

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oh .... I must be doing somethng wrong as I do it for nothing.   And er, we gonna start skiting about a tallest hive competition?

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I Think commercially we base costs around $340-$360 per colony that's labour and all associated costs.

fuel, sugar, replacement gear & queens fees, etc. and that's running hi ab trucks and all hives are quad set up (quick to shift & bulletproof with cattle.) so no solar fences. 

Large commercial. 

I would add that honey income and farmer share also go together. 

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Rob is this an activity you might consider branching out into? From what I have read you'd be well placed to do so.

I think the returns are very modest, it is no get rich quick scheme. But it might be better than the complete loss your bk may currently amount to.. :)

Try to avoid anyone more than 20km from your home!!

I don't see it as a big earner for ticket clippers in the longer run, so it will be interesting to see how that goes, but you can't fault the guy for trying it on.

There is a level of cost in terms of servicing customers including communication, invoices and some beekeepers want to avoid that, so it may provide a ticket clipping opportunity for someone who is organised. I'd say anyone who is organised enough to consider rental hives would be already organised enough to maintain their own customers.

I strongly agree with the sentiment above that lots of hives purchased become deadouts, but people who rent hives can more easily learn, get interested and eventually buy the hive a year or three later and become very competent hobby beekeepers. Some people do not want to be beekeepers also they're more than happy to pay someone to mow their lawn, clean the pool and paint their roof: nothing wrong with that.

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2 hours ago, Shaun said:

Community service is the main reason I do it.

I charge $350 pre year (which is about what I miss out on for commercial pollination)

They get 12 jars of honey (about 8kg) and I keep the rest, in a good year that can be quite a bit

 

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Are they all full ?

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I think hive rental is just fine when there is honesty and transparency.

 

But when a business is based on lies I have a huge problem with it.

 

The general public is terribly uneducated when it comes to bees, and it's partly because some of the people doing the educating are inventing facts so they can profit off people who don't know any better.

 

On one hand I am happy there are people renting hives, because one would hope they were at least being managed well and responsibly.

On the other hand, there are people who would have never even considered getting a beehive renting one because they have been sold a fabricated sob story that bee populations are in decline.

 

The fact is there are more managed colonies of bees in NZ then ever, that number is growing daily.

And actually we have a finite source of floral resources and by increasing the amount of colonies the only thing we will succeed in doing is declining their food sources and therefore their health.

 

Good on the people who are renting hives and truly educating people about bees.

I don't have anything nice to say about the others.

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We are getting so many phone calls about hive rental companies in our area leaving dead hives had one lady ring us the other week they paid for two hives and one was dead the other never had a bee in it took me a while to work out what was going on but she was not a happy camper no honey and no bees. Another one hive hive was dead and tossed over the paddock and nothing was done about it. It takes a lot of time to deal with hives in a town driving round talking to the home owner ect. We don't rent hives but I'll help them get started if that's what they want or put a hive there if it's close to our sites 

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My mums neighbour in an urban area got a hive in her front yard.

It was pretty vigorous and close to path to the front door.

I thought it would not be there for long. It was there for 3 months .

They knew nothing about the reality of keeping bees .

I think it was a rental.

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yes we are still running a " hire a hive" just around the Blenheim area, we don't charge a lot to people wanting a hive, it is more of a service, they get a little honey though out the year and a bit of pollination, but i think the biggest plus is they talk to there friends about having a bee hive and how wonder full it is to go out and watch there hive, as well as doing there bit to save the bees,

the down side to hive rental is the cost of running around for servicing only one to two hives in one spot

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4 hours ago, Philbee said:

I doubt that bees could cure all those boxes

That’s only 6 FD equivalent high. You know you end up with that many when the flow is really going for it and the bees aren’t capping it. That happened about 5 years ago when he had a real summer.

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16 hours ago, kaihoka said:

Are they all full ?

Top 3 are partials (not full frames) the first 6 are wall to wall full, got over 100kg from this one 3 seasons ago and less than 20kg last season.

On the topic of swarm control for a rental. I always split them early and take brood away almost every visit at this time of the year. My goal is to not have a garden rental hive swarm for any reason. 

I pick an easy to get to, but discreet spot for the hive and the client gets told in advance that I just turn up when it works with my schedule. I give them a small "facts sheet" which doubles as my contract to sign when I make the initial inspection. I have a spare jacket in the ute for the occasional "watch over my shoulder". Mostly they quickly just get used to the bees and settle in to watching them come and go.

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1 hour ago, dansar said:

That’s only 6 FD equivalent high. You know you end up with that many when the flow is really going for it and the bees aren’t capping it. That happened about 5 years ago when he had a real summer.

The risk is that the mites build up faster than the bees can cap it.

 

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My 2 cents on why some people enter the hive rental scheme, from the customer side and from the beekeeper (me) side.

The Customer wants what @kevin moore has explained, and very well so. I would add that in the same way we (as in the general population) prefer to eat our own produce (use of pesticides in commercial crops, don't trust what we are being sold, prefer to have a more realistic view on how hard it is to produce that jar of honey we don't want to buy as it is $25 at the shops for maybe less than 1/2 a kilo, or simply because we want our children to know where food comes from, and how we all need each other in the grand plan of the universe). A lot of people have always wanted to get into bees, but they are responsible and don't want to make mistakes, or can't find the time of doing it themselves, or have had a bad experience in the past so want to give it another go with someone holding their hand. 

From my side (the Top Bar Hive beekeeper): I get a kick when my customer is home and ready to jump in a suit to admire and work the bees together. Coming from a teaching background, I love the interaction with kids and people who are ready and willing to learn, and enjoy their faces of awe. Our Top Bar hive operation means that we harvest a comb and they get to process it at home, so they KNOW that THAT honey has come from their hive and their hive only, and what was used to treat their bees, or what they have foraged on (mostly their and their neighbour's gardens). You can see the progress on their gardening for bees, there is always more plants, more flowers, as well as water sources, etc.

Sometimes, there is no honey crop, and we discuss why and what can we do to improve that, we explain, they listen, and have the option to opt out. Sometimes we have a robbing event, and they get to experience it, we deal as best we can, but we always keep them informed on everything. I think they are all very happy with our way of doing things.

My visits are never 15 minutes, or maybe if no-one is home and is a super quick check in winter, but quite unlikely. I allow about 45 minutes per visit. If the weather is being predictable, I let them know the day before or a couple of days. If it's been raining non stop and there is a patch of sunshine, I email them before leaving the house. That's about it. You got to love it to do it, and I wouldn't do it if I didn't love it.

And I am always thinking of ways to make it more efficient and kinder on the planet (hate the plastic varroa strips that can't be recycled!!)

I don't even know what clipping tickets is referred to.

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I like your comment about the varroa strips that can't be recycled. We have wool fadges of them stacked away because i refuse to burn them or put them in the landfill. I sent some samples to the Ag recovery program six months ago and got no reply. I approached Stuart at Ecrotek and he told me to put them i the rubbish bin. OMG.

PLEASE .... we need a coordinated approach to finding a home for this "rubbish" ..... 1,000,000 bee hives X 6 strip PA = 6,000,000 pieces of plastic ..... make them into shopping bags for the Four Square ?:IMG_0380:

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53 minutes ago, Sil29er said:

I don't even know what clipping tickets is referred to.

Clipping the ticket in this case is a site finder taking a percentage of the monthly rental in return for making the site available to the beekeeper. A bad deal of you're trying to run a business. 

 

I've always had the impression that you and Chris were into bees for the love of bees and that other occupations put bread on the table. That's where this whole discussion breaks down.

 

Some beekeepers consider that enjoyment and sharing is payment enough. I question the ethics of any business that would try to profit off that generosity. Not you guys or the direct hive rental businesses, the clipping the ticket one. 

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a lot of our hive visits we time to make when people are not home, mainly for the fact it takes to long and they all want to talk,

the swarming is a biggey with in town hives and hives at schools people seem to get very upset when they see a swarm coming at them,, and so yes i agree as some one said on here the best control is to take a couple of frames each visit, this is also where you catch up on a little money making,

we dont hand out buckets of honey, they get a pot every 2nd visit, used to give out bucket fulls but alot of people didnt know what to do with alot of honey once it cystallized,

we don't deal with any ticket clippers  

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4 minutes ago, yesbut said:

Do these people actually exist ?

Yes, there are a number of them. Most the the 'nationwide' rental schemes are based on finding other beekeepers who will work under contract essentially. Some will take a minimal percentage, and give good support and marketing, others want a lot more, and give very little. I'd suggest a franchise type system might be a better option if it was done right...

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