So how do beekeepers turn a profit...?

George_in_MA(z5/6 MA)April 20, 2005

We're brand new at this, and we just installed our two colonies in their hives.

We didn't get into this to make money, but just crunching the numbers, I don't see how anyone makes money at beekeeping. At this point, I figure we're into these bees for nearly $600, and we still haven't bought the shallow supers yet.

Assuming I could rent out each hive once during the season for $40 a rental (that's $80), and assuming each hive produced 100 pounds of surplus honey that I could retail for $3 per pound, it hardly seems worth it.

Am I overlooking something here? Anyone have any insight into this?

George

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pennsylvania_pete(1)

Looks like you have it figured about right. If money making is the primary concern, well.....

    Bookmark   April 20, 2005 at 12:45PM
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ccrb1(z5 IND)

a business plan makes more sense if you do it before you invest. Most beekeepers keep bees for multiple reasons. With my 11 hives, I've been profitable, but honestly, I never invested $600 for two hives with bees and no supers.

I do manage to retail all my honey at $5 a lb. That's based on the fact that I practice chemical free beekeeping. No miticides. No drugs. I could probably come close to selling all I produce at $6 but at $5, I sell out every year.

I don't know if 100 lbs per hive is optimistic for where you are or not. I've had years of 100, and years of 15.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2005 at 10:00PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Its doubtful that you'll turn a profit in only one season, but you won't be buying new hives and supers every year so when do it for more than one year you have a great opportunity to make back the money you put in, Also if you are a wood worker you can build a hive quite easily.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2005 at 12:59AM
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flathman(z9 SC)

i have heard that 300 hives will make you a living. 10-20 hives is a hobby and be glad if it repays you for the supplies. it strikes me that cut comb makes more sense.for the time and effort involved. i have recently picked up the ross rounds.and am optimistic
david

    Bookmark   April 23, 2005 at 10:38PM
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bambooo(6 CT USA)

The people in it to make a living spend the winter building equipment and doing maintainance setting up pollination contracts fixing their own trucks.
They take the larger portion of their income moving the bees onto crops for a fee, perhaps as many as 6.Tree fruits, small fruits, melons, cukes, pumpkins, seed crops up and down the coast or elevations. Might even make a few bucks selling nucs and queens, or at least producing some for their own.
The honey is a byproduct that can be sold. So is the cappings wax.
You paid full bust out retail for all of your supplies.
If you bought 500 or a 1000 of anything the price is a bit lower. Right now you are paying for an education in beekeeping. After a wile you might just build your own supers, make a few splits with swarm cells, trade honey for lumber,etc.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2005 at 8:24PM
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beewhisperer

I HAVE 2500 HIVES.
RENT THEM OUT FOR $100 EACH FOR 3 MONTHS IN CALIFONIA..EACH HIVE YELDS AVG 50LB OF HONEY OVER THIS TIME . SALEING FOR $2.50 PER LB..... AFTER PAYING FOR BEEKEEPERS, TRUCKING, LABORERS, NEW HIVES AND SWARMS.. IN THIS TIME FRAME OF 3 MONTHS....I BANK $500,000.00 I MAKE $1.6MILL GROSS EACH YEAR.....BEEKEEPING FOR ME OVER THE LAST 10 YEARS HAS BEEN GOOOOOOOOOOD!!!!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 6:27PM
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xmundt(6/7)

Greetings and Salutations...

reminds me of that old joke about the farmer who won a million bucks in the lottery some years back (when a million bucks was WORTH something). At the interview when they presented him with the giant check, the presentor asked what he would do with the money.

After a moment's consideration, he said "well, I will probably just keep farming until it's all gone...".

regards
dave mundt

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 1:35AM
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jrneumiller

I just ran beewhisperers numbers, and I only get $562,500.00
gross.

What am I missing?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 12:04PM
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softmentor(z9/sunset13 CA desert)

I was wondering that too, Jrneumiller, I came up with the same #. Even if the rental is per month, that's 750000 for rental for $1,062,500 and still comes up 538k short. maybe the cap wax is worth half a million???????? hmmmmm
If he is making that, then its an average of $200 per hive per year, which tells me the honey alone does not pay for the work of keeping them.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 4:03PM
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wilkypoo

Beewhisperer's numbers are correct, his post is incorrect. He grossed 1.06 million, not 1.6 million. Here's how: 2500 x 100 = 250000. For three months 250000 x 3 = 750,000.00. Plus his honey (2500 x 50 x 2.50 = $312,500.

$750,000 + $312,500 = 1062500.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 2:23PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

And this took you almost a year to figure it out?....LOL

I think only the larger one's are laughing all the way to the bank, [most
of the time] here we have them too, running around 3000 to 5000 hives,
it seems they are all well off. They hire seasonal workers from Mexico.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 8:03PM
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BeesWAKs

Anyone actually know BEEWHISPERER? I would very much like to get in contact with them.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 7:19AM
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charlieboring

My grandfather (many years ago) was a beekeeper and he made a living renting out his hives and selling his honey. His living wages were limited by the market for renting out his hives to growers. So your ability to make money is dependent on the number of commercial growers in your area of operation and the avaiability of hives for rent.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 1:13PM
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