Bee keeping- can you make a profit?

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CliffDale 

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I know that bees are the livelihood of some people here.

I'm just setting up and have spent a couple of thousand on bees and equipment with zero return.

What sort of number of hives do you need to make a sustainable profit?

I'm retiring this year and will soon have plenty of time on my hands to set up a small bee industry.

Any help and guidance appreciated. I would also be interested in visiting a small bee industry if anyone is willing to mentor me.

Cliff
 

Silly Bee 

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A couple of members here have signatures that offer a clue to the answer.

"I started with nothing, I have most of it left"

"If you want to make a small fortune from bees, start with a large one."

Good luck. :)
 

Blodwen Price 

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Are you married/in a long term relatioship? If so does your partner work - this is a key to keeping bees for a living :laughing-smiley-014

Do you have a decent pension? This is a key to living off bees!:smilielol5:

Have you paid for your equipment outright (ie no loan to service)? This is a key to making a living off bees.

etc etc etc
 

CliffDale 

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Yes you can.

What have you bought with your 2k?

PH
So far I have 8 nationals with bees. (costing me a mint in feeding them at the moment)!

8 national brood boxes, Im planning to use double brood boxes as swarm control.

4 empty commercial hives and supers

6 empty national hives and supers

enough frames and foundation for all hives


around 6 bait hives

I also have a workshop and intend to make my own hives and nucs.
 
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Silly Bee 

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You will probably make more money making and selling equipment
 

CliffDale 

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Selling equipment and nucs with bees is likely. There is a lot of competition for hives although Im planning to go down the plywood cheapo hive route. Low cost start up hives.

Cliff
 

Black Comb 

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An old saying

"There's no money in honey"

I'm sure you can make something though/
 

jezd 

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loving all the sayings, made my day!! nice stuff
 
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You bay make a go of it if you can market your produce "up~country"
not probably in deepest darkest Cornwall... look at Ginsters!! never seen in Penzance

and another saying

"copper wire was invented by two Cornishmen fighting over a farthing"
 
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Chris B 

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You can make money from bees and honey. But making enough for a living wage is the real challenge. If I had 12 colonies I reckon I could pretty much guarantee an average yield > 100lb, and my expenses would be minimal and I could sell all the honey at retail prices. Maybe £3k in my pocket.
The trouble is it doesn't scale up. Expenses per colony increase but income per colony decreases as you manage more bees.
But if just retiring and you don't need to make a packet I'm sure you can make it work. There are plenty of bee farmers who are ex-police/fire service on a good pension, and managing 50 to 100 hives.
 

victor meldrew 

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You bay make a go of it if you can market your produce "up~country"
not probably in deepest darkest Cornwall... look at Ginsters!! never seen in Penzance

and another saying

"copper wire was invented by two Cornishmen fighting over a farthing"
Dearest honey I've seen was in a tourists trap in darkest Cornwall:D:D

John Wilkinson
 

Poly Hive 

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Reality check here.

It's not the price folks it's the marketing. You can charge £30 a pound all you like but if no person puts their hand in their pocket you are no better off.

Present them with a bonny jar and label for £9-95... might be a different ball game.

PH
 

justme 

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You bay make a go of it if you can market your produce "up~country"
not probably in deepest darkest Cornwall... look at Ginsters!! never seen in Penzance

I]
That made me smile:.) I wouldn't touch G****ters pasties with a barge pole.
 

Bees-in-Art 

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There's other ways of making beekeeping work. Some beeks sell beekeeping equipment. Some are part time bee inspectors. Some 'manage' hives for others. Being a competent beekeeper would help to qualify you for the above.
 

Polyanwood 

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I really like your idea of setting up a small beekeeping business. I think being a competent beekeeper is the most important thing. If you lose your bees you have lost your workforce.

Then you need to think about your location, product, customers and marketing. What will be particualry attractive about your hive products? What are your strengths? If you are good with people there is probably money to be made on short courses and retreats. (Extracting, label design and bottling and taking some home, making your own cosmetics) Also if you have the gift of the gab , lots of houses and hotels seem to be willing to pay for beekeepers to manage their hives for them. At the moment you can make money from other things like selling bees and hives too. Are you willing to put your hvies on a truck to take them to the heather or where there is a good flow?
Are you near where people dive? I sometimes have divers asking to buy bees wax off me for their zips.

Just some ideas. I would love to know how you get on
 

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