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Unfortunately long hours, night work and low rewards are the realities of commercial beekeeping and nothing has changed in the 35 years I've been involved. But there are some huge upsides for people who appreciate working outside in some pristine environments and have a genuine passion for bees. It's not all about the money - and incidentally the mega large commercials I know are paying about $3 more than minimum wage for mature trainees and significantly more for anyone with a couple of years experience.

 

 

 

I have been a beekeeper for 35 years so know exactly what back breaking work it is. For your information, pay rates for anyone with at least 2 years experience is well over $20 hour and trainees $17 -$18 depending on age. Compare those rates to other industries in NZ.

It may be time that the whole Honey and Bee industries caught up with the world.

A tradesman in Engineering and also learners and apprentices wouldnt get out of bed for a beeks wage.

What annoys me is hearing how over the top Manuka prices are and how overpriced nucs are when the industry wages are 15years behind the times.

Get real, the only way this industry is going to find good people is to extract much more money from its produce.

I can tell you right now that there is a part of the industry labor pool out there right now that belong behind bars.

Dont ask me to elaborate but the right people are watching them.

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Rumour has it .... we took honey off to that tune last summer !

 

We lost our bee keeper of six years to a corporate ..... they offered him more than 85k . We weren't prepared to match that so sold bees, stepped back and looked for a local man to train up again.

The hardest part is finding the local person.

We've had 11 replies in trade me .... from diverse places such as Egypt, Serbia, Russia, Vanuatu,.... and yes, the Phillipines.

The young Phillipino sounds nice and might make a top class queen raiser.

The Eastern Euro's are all quite hard on the gearboxes!

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Rumour has it .... we took honey off to that tune last summer !

 

We lost our bee keeper of six years to a corporate ..... they offered him more than 85k . We weren't prepared to match that so sold bees, stepped back and looked for a local man to train up again.

The hardest part is finding the local person.

We've had 11 replies in trade me .... from diverse places such as Egypt, Serbia, Russia, Vanuatu,.... and yes, the Phillipines.

The young Phillipino sounds nice and might make a top class queen raiser.

The Eastern Euro's are all quite hard on the gearboxes!

85k!! So what happened to the corporates paying slave labour rates @Pbee and where are all the locals applying for this role???? The reality is their are very few nz'ers looking for beekeeping jobs. They either can't be arsed or they start their own business.

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Enjoy your " young Phillipino " while you have him he will learn his trade and as soon as he's been Here 2 years on his work to residence visa he will apply for NZ residency and head to the North Island to work with a corporate.

You will probably still get to see him occasionally as he drives past your gate on the way to his new bosses South Island apiaries :)

 

There's a common perception out there @Ted that beekeeping is easy you just need hives and honey boxes. Why work for wages if all you need is a farm and some beehives. We see it all the time here people ringing up wanting 100+ hives or nucs and never done one days beekeeping.

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85k!! So what happened to the corporates paying slave labour rates @Pbee and where are all the locals applying for this role???? The reality is their are very few nz'ers looking for beekeeping jobs. They either can't be arsed or they start their own business.

Our industry is suffering because of tight arses like you @Ted

If larger outfits like you would pay beeks what they are worth we would have more young ones wanting to work for somebody else. But instead those that could have joined have bought their own gear, hence the huge increase of beekeepers numbers. I believe we now have over 6000.

I believe you should have a hard look at your own operation before you shoot those down that want this country to do well!

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Earlier this year in a talk with one dr.vet.med talked about beekeeping job in Australia.. In a moment I said why not, for a 6 months work in Australia with not so great money for Australian standard I would have to work here for that money 1,5 years here as Ms.Sc. of agriculture, sad but true. As time was passing I fear they will call me to go cause in the meantime I got occupied with my bees and haselnuts beside " pay job" and would be reluctant to go... SE Europe, if wondering..

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Our industry is suffering because of tight arses like you @Ted

If larger outfits like you would pay beeks what they are worth we would have more young ones wanting to work for somebody else. But instead those that could have joined have bought their own gear, hence the huge increase of beekeepers numbers. I believe we now have over 6000.

I believe you should have a hard look at your own operation before you shoot those down that want this country to do well!

What do you think they are worth - is $85k not enough??? As already mentioned I pay guys with a few years experience upto $30 per hour. I am definitely not a tight arse but I do expect a return on my investment, risk and the many years it's taken me to get where I am. The trouble with NZ now is that no one wants to start at the bottom and work their way up.

 

 

Enjoy your " young Phillipino " while you have him he will learn his trade and as soon as he's been Here 2 years on his work to residence visa he will apply for NZ residency and head to the North Island to work with a corporate.

You will probably still get to see him occasionally as he drives past your gate on the way to his new bosses South Island apiaries :)

 

There's a common perception out there @Ted that beekeeping is easy you just need hives and honey boxes. Why work for wages if all you need is a farm and some beehives. We see it all the time here people ringing up wanting 100+ hives or nucs and never done one days beekeeping.

You are absolutely right re the Phillipino. The trouble is if they are the only ones applying what are you supposed to do?? As you so rightly point out inexperienced kiwis go straight from zero experience to commercial.

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What do you think they are worth - is $85k not enough??? As already mentioned I pay guys with a few years experience upto $30 per hour. I am definitely not a tight #### but I do expect a return on my investment, risk and the many years it's taken me to get where I am. The trouble with NZ now is that no one wants to start at the bottom and work their way up.

Yes, I believe $85k is adequate, but you are only offering $62k for the same job. If that isn't tight arsed I don't know what is. :rofl: Sure you are expecting return for your 'investment' :sick: but in this scenario we are talking about a potential employee with several years of experience. Not a novice just for lifting boxes and cleaning frames. So when comparing, apples with apples, please!

And YES, I believe we would have a lot more young ones wanting to join the industry if future prospects weren't so meek. Sure it looks really attractive to go into your own business if you have the cash to buy 100 colonies, but what is the failure rate! How many give up after a season or two?

It all looks so good on paper, doesn't it?:rolleyes:

And then we wonder why we have to get beekeepers from overseas...:(

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I can't speak for anyone or any area of New Zealand but from the people I Know who are employees of beekeepers the starting rate for someone with no experience is quite a bit more than they would get in most other primary industries.

When I was running my bakery, I paid 50% more than the national average to my bakers and packers. I had zero staff turnover and on sick leave only when they were to I'll to crawl to work.

So, I have no idea what the average pay is for beekeeping novices, but I will sure find out when I have to find staff, one day....

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Yes, I believe $85k is adequate, but you are only offering $62k for the same job. If that isn't tight arsed I don't know what is. :rofl: Sure you are expecting return for your 'investment' :sick: but in this scenario we are talking about a potential employee with several years of experience. Not a novice just for lifting boxes and cleaning frames. So when comparing, apples with apples, please!

And YES, I believe we would have a lot more young ones wanting to join the industry if future prospects weren't so meek. Sure it looks really attractive to go into your own business if you have the cash to buy 100 colonies, but what is the failure rate! How many give up after a season or two?

It all looks so good on paper, doesn't it?:rolleyes:

And then we wonder why we have to get beekeepers from overseas...:(

Based on hours worked my top guys earn in excess of $80k plus they can run 50 hives of their own using my gear, sugar etc. Don't know any bee keepers who only do 40 hours per week per your calculation. Tell me where they will earn that anywhere else?? As for the young ones not joining the beekeeping industry - what industry do they join where they can earn more?? Or do they just enjoy a permanent holiday at the tax payers expense? As @frazzledfozzle points out starting wages in beekeeping are actually much higher than most other primary industries.

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Based on hours worked my top guys earn in excess of $80k plus they can run 50 hives of their own using my gear, sugar etc. Don't know any bee keepers who only do 40 hours per week per your calculation. Tell me where they will earn that anywhere else?? As for the young ones not joining the beekeeping industry - what industry do they join where they can earn more?? Or do they just enjoy a permanent holiday at the tax payers expense? As @frazzledfozzle points out starting wages in beekeeping are actually much higher than most other primary industries.

What is the starting wage for a novice beekeeper? Care to share?

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minimum $18 for a young fella/felless straight out of highschool. Increases quickly for every season of experience.

 

you wont earn that picking apples or filleting fish.

 

Alot of beekeepers are taking on employees as permanent workers just to keep hold of them. Winter is a quiet time so they get paid very well for doing not a whole lot.

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I think there is a massive lump of 'grass is greener over the fence' at play. The fact of the matter is most industries you enter on around 40k per year and top out at 65-100k per year depending on qualifications, experience and work ethic.

 

 

minimum $18 for a young fella/felless straight out of highschool. Increases quickly for every season of experience.

 

you wont earn that picking apples or filleting fish

You can picking/pruning kiwifruit....

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minimum $18 for a young fella/felless straight out of highschool. Increases quickly for every season of experience.

 

you wont earn that picking apples or filleting fish.

 

Alot of beekeepers are taking on employees as permanent workers just to keep hold of them. Winter is a quiet time so they get paid very well for doing not a whole lot.

Noted, but the learning curve of a beekeeping 'apprentice' is exponentially steeper than that of fruit picker or oyster shucker. And if you get a really good one they make/repair boxes, assemble/wire/wax frames, clean sites, move bees....you name it!

Good attitude @frazzledfozzle of hiring them on wages, rather than on an hourly rate @Ted , it makes for more 'secure' employees!

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