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beefree

The sustainability of making reasonable money off breeding bees.

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Hey @Over Worker are you suggesting that manuka 10+ honey out of a jar is of medicinal grade ?

 

And any better than supermarket non-active honey, as long as it is free of crumbs and bits of butter ?

 

Or disinfecting the wound and applying a non-stick dressing and changing it every few days ?

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Yes

Yes and Yes.. the price of 10+ or better is prohibitive to eat for the small amount you get (250g pot) however it should be a standard item in first aid kit.

The downside is it wouldn't take the blood off the kitchen floor :D

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And dont forget about drones they are very important, we have dedicated drone hives in every mating yard and all our mating yards can be covered by those drone hives.

eg The drones from mating yard #1 will be servicing the virgins from yard #3.

 

 

So ruffly how many drone hives would a breeder want per say 100 queens?

 

 

Be very careful about going into business with friends queen rearing and nuc production can be a roller coaster and We have had many a tanty on site when queen matings have been crap the weathers been crap and everything feels like crap.

 

I couldn't help but have a laugh at this, mostly because I can fully relate. An ex partner of mine we use to work a very tuff job on the port hills removing gorse, and definitely had some moments there.

 

 

I dont want to sound negative and i hope I dont, theres definitely a market out there especially for queens.

But be realistic and dont under estimate the amount of work involved.

 

 

I don't think you are being negative at all, more like "realistic", everyone here is doing a good job at explaining the vast variability of this industry, like milk prices $8 one year $4.70 the next, it's all about long term averages right?

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Anyways are you planning on breeding Italians or Carniolans or Random Mutts @beefree ? Where are you getting your foundation stock from? Any specific qualities you will be looking to breed for?

 

I would like to make what ever the customer wants, but I had in mind doing a Carniolan line breed for Canterbury's winters, an Italian line using various stock around the country and experiment with a controlled cross. I know crosses can end up being a bit defensive, however I would like to get some cross vigor going on if I can.

 

Also would love to get some European black bee genetics in the mix to experiment with that too and play around with the VSH trait and then eventually learn AI. Actually very interested in AI, it goes along with my skill set that I developed working labs at Uni.

 

So far I have local Italian commercial stock, Beeline stock and one Carni from Daykel (will get more when season kicks back in). I think I'm off to a good start, I'm definitely attempting to be fussy with my genetics while also achieving a good genetic diversity.

 

Hey I'm all ears though (or eyes in this case).

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my prediction is the manuka game will be running for a long time still and i'm really no optimist.

the future will be some guys producing nucs and hives wile others burn them in pollination and manuka battles.

queen breeding is not anyones cup of tea.

unless you have a talent for it you won't stick with it.

it is very stressfull at times.

when a season gets really bad you find yourself in the middle of failing production and stressed, pissed off customers.

 

That's that I want to hear, that manuka is sustainable, perhaps not at current prices? But as long as the industry remains better than it was pre manuka, we can't go too wrong right?

 

I can appreciate the level of skill and patience involved in queen rearing, but this is why I want to do it. I need a challenging career otherwise I get very bored very fast and I'm prepared to give it my 100%, including research and plenty of experimentation, it would be nice to put my deep interest in biology to some use.

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It's actually pretty hard to run several different strains & keep them pure. It requires a lot of resources, and some waste.

 

Even though the idea is no doubt to run one strain in one area, a different strain in a different area, by it's nature, queen breeding requires a lot of moving bees around and having 2 strains limits choices re making up nucs etc. IE, you need to make up nucs, you have a yard with spare bees, but you can't use them cos they the wrong strain you'll be putting wrong drones in a different area.

 

Most people buying bees want Italians. My suggestion would be see what existing bees are in the areas you will be doing mating and go with that. Where you are I suspect it will be primarily Italian. Otherwise you will almost certainly end up with mutts.

 

European black be genetics in the mix? Bad plan.

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Yes, it is all about long term averages - except you and your bees need to eat in the bad years too.

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I would like to make what ever the customer wants, but I had in mind doing a Carniolan line breed for Canterbury's winters, an Italian line using various stock around the country and experiment with a controlled cross. I know crosses can end up being a bit defensive, however I would like to get some cross vigor going on if I can.

 

Also would love to get some European black bee genetics in the mix to experiment with that too and play around with the VSH trait and then eventually learn AI. Actually very interested in AI, it goes along with my skill set that I developed working labs at Uni.

 

So far I have local Italian commercial stock, Beeline stock and one Carni from Daykel (will get more when season kicks back in). I think I'm off to a good start, I'm definitely attempting to be fussy with my genetics while also achieving a good genetic diversity.

 

Hey I'm all ears though (or eyes in this case).

 

Without reading back, I think I recall you mentioning going for local town fringe type sites? Keeping any line close to pure, let alone multiple lines, is absolutely incompatible with that sort of location here in the NI, and I would expect the same in the SI

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Without reading back, I think I recall you mentioning going for local town fringe type sites? Keeping any line close to pure, let alone multiple lines, is absolutely incompatible with that sort of location here in the NI, and I would expect the same in the SI

 

You are right, there is a real issue there. I figure sites around Christchurch will be ideal to build up my hive numbers until I find suitable isolated sites.

 

Another option could be is have sites close to chch for nucs/splits and isolated sites for breeding.

 

I think that will be one of the greatest challenges is finding the right spots that tick all the boxes.

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Without reading back, I think I recall you mentioning going for local town fringe type sites? Keeping any line close to pure, let alone multiple lines, is absolutely incompatible with that sort of location here in the NI, and I would expect the same in the SI

I agree. From reading other post in other threads, beekeepers have both italian and carni bees around Christchurch and even with breeders specially saturating an area with drones the area will still have both lots of bees.

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I agree. From reading other post in other threads, beekeepers have both italian and carni bees around Christchurch and even with breeders specially saturating an area with drones the area will still have both lots of bees.

 

What sort of distance is required from other hives to be considered "closed population?"

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you might achieve it on the Chathams...

:D

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What sort of distance is required from other hives to be considered "closed population?"

Not sure. But at least 5 to 10 km. Bees can easily travel 5 km so double that for bees from another hive.

Remeber that bees can also fly over hills, So a fully isolated area needs to be a long way from other beehives.

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you might achieve it on the Chathams...

:D

 

That did cross my mind, but transport costs would be insane. :) Are there probably already hives on there too.

 

Perhaps my best bet is a remote valley up the foot hills of high country Canterbury, or a quiet bay on Banks Peninsula.

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Are there probably already hives on there too

Yes. I have sold beehives to the Chatham Islands so they certainly have bees there.

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if you are keen on AI then by all means, go for it.

i believe you could make a good living here just by AI.

if you focus on ai then you will need a lot less risky investment. (bees)

 

i don't know the prices of the last decade, but in germany you wouldn't pay more than $120 for an artificial inseminated queen and you get a pedigree(or what ever that's called) with it.

so look at what you pay here for an artificial inseminated breeder and you got your career.

 

have to admit though, i wouldn't buy a breeder of a newbee.

they always have funny ideas they are trying to prove.:whistle:

i would suggest to find an established queen breeder to take you under his wing.

they might be keen on someone doing ai.

most beeks shy away from ai. i watched a few times and decided it's not me.

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Perhaps my best bet is a remote valley

Correct. It is not all about distance, geographical isolation works too. Nor is it about getting absolutely pure matings (especially if you use AI). What is important is selection of the product. In the old days this was tricky and cost money/took time. Being a 'modern' breeder (I hope you will be ;) ) you should be satisfied with, say, 80% 'pure' matings, and look to Marker Assisted Selection. That way you can worry less about locale.

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Get ready for the onslaught.......

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i think there is two ways you can do this sort of businesses.

either do the breeding, selection process, possibly AI, do all the genetics stuff and make your own line of queens,

or buy in breeder queens from someone thats done all the above and stick to the making of queens/nucs.

 

playing with European black bee genetics etc could damage your reputation severely. while it may be of interest to the odd hobbyist, the big players will probably shy away and as those big players is your market that could spell the end.

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What sort of distance is required from other hives to be considered "closed population?"

Drones are known to fly 25km to meet a queen. To me somewhere like Stewart Island would be considered a close population but down there you would have to pick your weather to get good matings.

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Lord Howe island.

 

I love hearing a big drone bank in over my shoulder to land at the hive.

Reminds me of a 4000hp radial engine Sea Fury fighter.

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or a quiet bay on Banks Peninsula.

I know that at least "some" of the Banks Peninsula has bee hives. (Airborne Honey started on the Peninsula) I saw a swarm near Akaroa last Christmas.

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Yes there's plenty of hives there.

 

Also those remote valleys in the high country may get bees moved in seasonally, I have moved bees into those myself when I worked for Airborne, and that was many years ago when beekeeping was much less migratory than now.

 

Also running a queen breeding business up there is not going to be practical unless you live there.

 

On a slightly different tack, back at the start of the thread you mentioned 1,000 hives. Not sure how many people will be working but if it's just one, a thousand hives is too many for a purely queen breeding business. Although you would need a lot of nucs.

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1000 hives between three of you, one of whom is already experienced in managing large numbers of hives = sounds like you've got a headstart over those who are simply dreaming. The fact that you are going into it with a mindset that the current sometimes crazy nuc prices shouldn't be considered indicative of future returns also bodes well. Some questions that you need to consider relate to upfront capital outlay and cash reserves. Debt servicing obviously has a big impact on profits, so does being so close to the wire that you can't afford to do things like feed when necessary. Put together a decent plan including all expenses (high estimates) and all incomings (low estimates) and see if it looks plausible. I wonder if there would be merit in talking to a bank with the plan you put together, even if you don't want to use debt facilities, it would be a positive sign if the bank read through your plan and were prepared to get involved - at that point you don't have to go ahead and borrow from them ;)

 

as an aside, and related to the post re the shortage of nucs/entry gear for aspiring auckland beekeepers - it would be really interesting to find out the survival rate through to November the following year for nucs or hives bought by people new to beekeeping.

 

I was fascinated to hear Russell Berry speak. He suggested that a beekeeper should have the resources to go 2 seasons with no income.

This is really solid old school advice.

How many Beeks could do that?

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I was fascinated to hear Russell Berry speak. He suggested that a beekeeper should have the resources to go 2 seasons with no income.

This is really solid old school advice.

How many Beeks could do that?

thats why these old guys are still around, they know how to survive the tough times and make honey when the sun shines.

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