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BeeBro

My attempt at becoming a commercial beekeeper: 18 months in

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Great post BeeBro, wishing you the best. :)

 

Agree with you about the wasps also. Never took them seriously before, and never lost more than a very occasional hive either. But this season was crazy. Wasps by the hundreds if not thousands attacking and killing hives, I lost a significant number of autumn made nucs, quite a lot of future earnings up in smoke. Felt like I'm having to learn stuff all over, I will have to redesign the way I make autumn splits from now.

 

Hate willow aphids!

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I thoroughly enjoyed reading that post @BeeBro. You haven't considered a career in literary comedy have you?

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F. Based on my initial research, I felt it would take me 3 years to master beekeeping. I was wrong. My current thinking is 10 years to get modestly competent, 20 to get reasonably good (just in time for retirement).

;)

B. You can’t do a professional career and build up that many hives at the same time, while maintaining a degree of sanity. In the last 18 months I’ve had about 3 weekends off and that’s not sustainable.

and thats with 54 hives.

now you under stand why i get a little dismayed at those who buy in a few hundred and think they will do them in the weekend.

D. Beekeeping is really complex. When I was doing my research I felt like you really needed a degree before you started. I was wrong. You need a PHd.

when you see old beeks who have been doing it 40+ years and they are learning new things every year.

 

Are you a really old beekeeper looking for slave labour?

what part of auckland are you in?

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About 4 years ago I started thinking about a career change. My motivations were quite varied and included:

 

1) Something I enjoyed

 

2) Outdoor physical work

 

3) A business I could pass on too my daughter

 

4) Something intellectually stimulating

 

5) A chance at financial independence

 

6) A complete change from my lucrative but unfulfilling professional career

 

I bounced around many different ideas and as I had kept bees in the past, started looking into this seriously. After a couple of years of research, endless business plans, more research, talking to people etc, decided beekeeping was the go.

 

So I purchased 11 hives, read lots, got into queen rearing, made nucs, researched, researched and researched, then tried many of the ideas out. I got to 54 hives by the end of summer.

 

I’m about 18 months in now and here’s the guts of what I’ve learned:

 

A. Wasps are bad mother F$&%@$s

 

B. You can’t do a professional career and build up that many hives at the same time, while maintaining a degree of sanity. In the last 18 months I’ve had about 3 weekends off and that’s not sustainable.

 

C. There are a bucket load of pathogens, viruses and predators we don’t have yet, but they are coming.

 

D. Beekeeping is really complex. When I was doing my research I felt like you really needed a degree before you started. I was wrong. You need a PHd.

 

E. Wasps are bad mother F$&%@$s. I did note this at A, but seriously……

 

F. Based on my initial research, I felt it would take me 3 years to master beekeeping. I was wrong. My current thinking is 10 years to get modestly competent, 20 to get reasonably good (just in time for retirement).

 

G. Apparently some people make money out of this. I reckon I will be breaking even in 3 years, making a profit in 6-8. I reserve the right to amend this comment because I’m pretty sure it’s going to take longer

 

So with all of the above in mind, my thinking for the next 3 years is,

 

i. Forget honey production for now. There’s no money in it until you have an awful lot of really strong hives

 

ii. Do more study

 

iii. Focus on queen rearing and Nuc production for now. Use income to reinvest in components

 

iv. Find and destroy all wasps. Bring hives back to save zones in autumn and spring

 

v. Spend the next 3 summers working for a really old bee keeper

 

vi. Quit the day job

 

I’ve quit the day job, did well with my queens and studying hard. I think if I can find an old beekeeper, stay on top of the wasps and keep learning, I’ll break a profit in 5 years or so

 

 

Really keen on your thoughts J. Am I on the right track? Are you a really old beekeeper looking for slave labour?

 

If you do the same you will get the same results, that's a law of the universe. If you want something different then you must do something different, but do it very slowly and prove it works for you before spending a lot of money. We dared to do something different and achieved some thing special. Check it out Home - Bees Knees Honey Company Pty Ltd

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;)

 

and thats with 54 hives.

now you under stand why i get a little dismayed at those who buy in a few hundred and think they will do them in the weekend.

 

when you see old beeks who have been doing it 40+ years and they are learning new things every year.

 

 

what part of auckland are you in?

I live in the mean streets of Bayswater. Can travel though :-)

 

I have Apiaries in Kumeu and Bombay. I did have a few in the waikato and Tauranga, but have centralised everything to Kumeu Tauranga and Bombay. Have hives scattered across regions was great for learning, but was also a really inefficient use of time. I couldn't look after the bees properly so they suffered. I think my biggest learning is check your hives all the time, record EVERYTHING.

 

Thanks for your post :-)

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I live in the mean streets of Bayswater. Can travel though :)

 

I have Apiaries in Kumeu and Bombay. I did have a few in the waikato and Tauranga, but have centralised everything to Kumeu Tauranga and Bombay. Have hives scattered across regions was great for learning, but was also a really inefficient use of time. I couldn't look after the bees properly so they suffered. I think my biggest learning is check your hives all the time, record EVERYTHING.

 

Thanks for your post :)

BTW, totally agree about hive numbers. I grew too fast. Hives were weak for autumn , lost lots to wasps, one to AFB, 2 just dissapeared. I learned a huge amount, but don't believe there is any way you can look after 200 hives in the weekends (unless you are some sort of trans species beesexual and have lost the need for human company). It's only going to get harder as new diseases arrive.

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If you do the same you will get the same results, that's a law of the universe. If you want something different then you must do something different, but do it very slowly and prove it works for you before spending a lot of money. We dared to do something different and achieved some thing special. Check it out Home - Bees Knees Honey Company Pty Ltd

Wicked. I love seeing people try new things. Success doesn't come from doing the same thing over and over again :-)

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I thoroughly enjoyed reading that post @BeeBro. You haven't considered a career in literary comedy have you?

I'll keep posting :-)

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Bee Bro what you are writing is the reality of a sustainable beekeeping operation

There is no quick fix other than winning lotto

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Bee Bro what you are writing is the reality of a sustainable beekeeping operation

There is no quick fix other than winning lotto

 

One of my favorite quotes on this topic came from my early research:

 

"The best way to make a million dollars in beekeeping is to start with two million dollars" .

 

Thankfully I went into this with my eyes wide open and with a very long term plan. I don't believe you can make a quick buck with bees, beekeeping appears to be (at least to me) immensely complex and financially challenging. I love it though. The first frame of queen cells I produced was right up there in life highs. Seeing a full hive full of brood and honey this week....Awesome

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One of my favorite quotes on this topic came from my early research:

 

"The best way to make a million dollars in beekeeping is to start with two million dollars" .

 

Thankfully I went into this with my eyes wide open and with a very long term plan. I don't believe you can make a quick buck with bees, beekeeping appears to be (at least to me) immensely complex and financially challenging. I love it though. The first frame of queen cells I produced was right up there in life highs. Seeing a full hive full of brood and honey this week....Awesome

(urban, sheltered and in a really good spot)

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Hey @BeeBro hang in there, we know your pain, but ain't bees great!

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Oh and btw, hate waspies too!

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is it just me or is there an impending sense of doom over the MPI not having any back up methods proven for wasp control,nice to eliminate carbamates but to deny beeks is tantamount to negligence,i killed 3 huge wasp nests in 2014 all within 10 metres of each other deep in the Waitakere ranges...carbaryl was my weapon of choice and now i look at my meager supply and think fearfully of the future

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there is others. pyrethrin works and i'm sure you can find others.

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There's always petrol.

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As for the t-shirt, I skipped that one and got the hoody instead

[ATTACH=full]10123[/ATTACH]

Where do you get those T-shirts?

 

Admin edit: referenced content added to aid continuity

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Just adding mine might have "If all else fails or its too hot to think I just wing it" on the back

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Like your post beebro. You have just told my exact story.

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hi you started with11 hives how many do you have now ,,are you working for a beekeeper or your self ,,

how long did you give yourself and how long do you think it will take to get to where you want to bee

and what is the max number of hives do you want to run ????

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