Where do you want to go with beekeeping?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by heinleinfan, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. heinleinfan

    heinleinfan New Member

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    I saw this in another thread, when Danny commented on where he wanted to go with beekeeping and Ef said:
    And I'm totally hijacking the idea, not because I think Danny or Ef won't, but because I really like the idea of a thread for it and I'm impatient! LOL


    So...where do you want to go with beekeeping? Are you already there? Why/how did you start beekeeping in the first place?

    And of course, these questions are equally for first year keepers, people who want to start keeping, and those of you who've been keeping for years.
     
  2. Noronajo

    Noronajo New Member

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    My goal was to find a hobby my husband and I could learn to do together after he retired a year ago May. I saw my neighbor had gotten a couple of hives the year before and the fact most of the bees in our vicinity were scarce troubled me so with a few conversations with him-we began. We started with 2 hives in 2011, increased to 6 when one of them swarmed again and again this spring, lost 2 to robbers from the aforementioned neighbor's hives, moved 3 hives (6 hives in our yard was too much) 14 miles north of us and the bees loved the rural area so well they've produced 4 supers of honey. Unfortunately, my husband isn't as crazy about bees as I am but he loves selling honey to family and friends-hoping to pay for all of our bee equipment! So he became a master gardener and believes 8-10 hives would be a good number to keep me busy!
     

  3. klpauba

    klpauba New Member

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    I was originally interested in only using the bees to pollinate our apple orchard. I set up a single Warre hive and joined both the local bee club and this forum. After reading, asking questions and learning (by doing), I've become much more interested. I plan on adding a second hive in the spring. I'm really looking forward to seeing how well the apple trees are pollinated next year (since I didn't get set up in time this year).
     
  4. CeeGee

    CeeGee New Member

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    My dad had hives, and it's something I can do with the kids, and my wife would NOT follow me to the hives, so I figured why not?
    I'm fascinated with the manipulation/management part of it. When we were kids, we'd go out once in the spring to make sure they were there, and once in the fall to pull the honey. Now, I have to consider parasites, brood sizes, queen patterns, etc. I love it.
    I have nine (or ten - depends) hives. I may get more or let a few go. I'm just tooloing along having fun.
    ....And able to trade honey for the neighbor's homebrew beer or jellies, and such.
     
  5. crazy8days

    crazy8days New Member

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    As a first year beekeeper I thought I only wanted to have 2 hives. Now almost a season in I want more. I have three now and I know I will be able to split one next spring. I'm starting to build more hives for next year. With the drought I only got 25 pounds of honey. The reward taste sooo good! I decided to keep 10 pounds and sell the rest. Really enjoying the selling part of it. Love hearing people say how good it is. Can't wait till next season.
     
  6. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Started with 2, quickly went to 5 for a few years. Moved and was unable to take hives with me. Four year hiatus when son was born, then back in with 3. Ran somewhere between 12 and 20 the last few years and am taking a jump this year. Near 30 now with intent to hit 50+ in the spring. I would like to actually try and make some money without turning it into a job. When I had 12 I could make enough to pay for stuff and top up my son's Education fund each year. Next year I can start drawing a small pension and if I can add to that with the bees I would be happy as a pig in poop. (is that word allowed?)
     
  7. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    I have wanted bees from way back in my teen years. Had a hive back then but never got bees in it. Moved away from home and didn't have a place to keep them. Finally in my 30's I started to make a hive of my own. no instructions no measurements just going off the top of my head. Was almost complete when I got stung by a hornet and had a very sever reaction. Had to promise my wife I would not keep bees.

    Eventually found out I am not allergic to bees or hornets and now have my own house. So finally got a hive this past spring just so I can say I have kept bees.

    It woudl be nice to think that somehow I could turn this into an income but past history indicates no such thing will happen. Lately I have been thinking that if all I do is produce honey for my family I will only need to keep a couple of hives every few years. Since my main focus recently is developing self reliance in as many ways as I can. just keeping bees to produce honey for myself is most likely where I will go.

    I do tend toward breeding of just about anything I get involved in. so it is likely that if i do get into anything for any length of time it will queen rearing. I woudl at least like to give a spin and see how it fits.

    For the moment I just want a few lbs of honey and will figure out tomorrow, tomorrow, or maybe the next day, who knows.
     
  8. Papakeith

    Papakeith New Member

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    I haven't set an upper limit yet. There's a point of diminishing returns somewhere. I'm looking for a point where the money made and enjoyment crosses the time and money spent. For me I'll know it when I get there.
    With horses our limit was found at four. Three horses are easy to keep. For some reason adding a fourth made it exponentially "more" in every aspect of their care. We dropped back down to three and all was well in the world.

    With chickens and bees we haven't found that point of balance. 3 dozen chickens are easy. cleaning 3 dozen eggs a day gets tiresome at times. If I get another three dozen or more I'd probably need to invest in an egg washing machine. Once I cross that mark and the money is spent. I can't see why keeping another 10 dozen would matter much.
    Bees will be another trial and error process. I have two hives this year. 5 next year should be doable. I can't see my schedule allowing much more than 15 or so. Time will tell. Time will also tell if I am as enamored with these insects in three years as I am now. I hope I am.
     
  9. bee stung

    bee stung New Member

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    got the first hive because I wanted bees from 5 years old ,, a year in I was told from then on I will have hives ,, its been 6 years now,,, because when I talk about ,, open a hive , work a hive ,, any thing to do with bees ,, they say they can see all the tension just drain out of me ,, and I'm relaxed about every thing ,, so its my blood presser med ,, relaxer med , and they said if that takes the place of all the meds ,, then BEES IT IS ,, 8 hives and will raise queens and sell nucs ,, and will have more hive next year ,,, were will it end ,, who knows
     
  10. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    The year of the Hebrew calendar that coincides with 1972-1973 was a sabbatical year. I did not want to grow vegetables and do agricultural work that year, in keeping with the Biblical injunction regarding leaving the land unattended during the sabbatical year. I mentioned to a good friend that I would have a lot of spare time on my hands and he suggested looking into bees. He gave me a magazine article he had seen (about 4 pages long) "Everything about bees". I figured I'd give it a try.
    Since then a lot of water has flown through the Jordan... I started with one then two hives. I studied beekeeping in the Hebrew University's faculty of agriculture. My hive numbers went up to about twenty and then in 1987 I entered into a partnership with a neighbor. We bought 50 hives. But things weren't so clearly spelled out in our partnership---he thought I would work the bees and he would "work" selling the honey. That didn't work out too well. The honey always managed to sell itself. For that I didn't need a partnership. During the school year 1989-90 my wife and I, with 4 of our children, went to spend the year in England. I taught while my wife studied for her masters degree---so, left "alone" with just a honey salesman, the hives bit the dust. When we returned home, I bought out his share but never went back to 50 hives. Till I retired from teaching i usually maintained between ten to twenty hives. Since then, I've been on a slow burner, keeping just a few hives, enough to keep my family and close friends adequately supplied with honey.
    Today I have three hives.
    What's the moral of my story? As a hobbiest, bees are something you can do with as you want. You can be "big", you can be "small", there are no requirements you must keep to. Do as you please, when you please. Honey has a way of "selling itself" with minimal efforts. If you've got a good product and let people know about it, they'll come knocking at your door. Only if you are a professional and bees are your primary source of income do you have to push yourself. Otherwise, enjoy bees for all the interesting things they do, teach and provide. (Of course, that doesn't mean that professionals can't enjoy themselves)
    Their challenge will always be with you so long as you keep even just one hive. If the enjoyment wears off, take a break--you'll probably come back to them.
    There's a lot more to say, but enough from me for now. Lets keep hearing from the whole forum.
     
  11. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    I keep bees to feed my comb honey addiction...

    I keep bees to satisfy the "biology geek" in me
    (aquarium fish, reptiles, birds, tropical biogeography, macro photography, mushrooms (mycology), plants and gardening, whatever...)
    I keep bees to help my garden.
    I keep bees because I've always been fascinated by them.
    I keep bees because now finally in my life I can...


    After a recent combine, I now have 4 hives and it is a hobby. If in the spring they build to more hives, then so be it. If it becomes work, I'll pare down.
     
  12. Zookeep

    Zookeep Active Member

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    I didnt even plan to start, I had a customer that I took care of her main house and she wanted to have the cottage on the same property totally repaired and she said theres a few bees, so I went to look and there all over the outside of the wall, she didnt want them dead so I did a trap-out and she planned on keeping them, well got them in the box and she changed her mind, so they went in my back yard, week later I did a removal that was my 2nd hive, now just over a year later I have 28 hives spread out in 3 yards, all the removals and trap-outs have paid for all the gear, nothing out of pocket yet, by this time next year I hope to have between 50 and 60 hives, I have been offered the use of 2 more large propertys and plan to spread into them, as for my wife she loves selling all the honey, candles, soaps, and other good we have started making from the hives (good thing too I have enough to do)
     
  13. kebee

    kebee Active Member

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    My dad had bees back in the 40's, 32 hives if I remember correct. He went into it in kind of big way for he loved bees, had an extracter and the works. All went along petty good for about 3 years and I learned a lot with him, but we had a very cold winter and he took to much honey for them to make it through and he lost all but one, being short temper as he was he got mad and sold everything. So here 65 years later I though of the bees he had and said I can do that good are better so here I am getting freshen up on the care of bees from the froum and started with 2 hives. I lost one to the queen dieing or something and being rob out, I did take the bees that were left and shook the bees out in front of the good hive, going to get another supper of honey from it. They will be enough left for them to made it through the winter. They have a full 8 frame hive and 8 frome super full of honey beside the one I am getting honey from.
    I will be spilting this hive next year, I hope and ordering 2 more, I only want around 5 hives because I don't think I can take care of more than that. I really enjoy the bees seeing them doing their thing and no one else has any bees around here within 5 miles, so I said lets get the pollinate going around here.

    Kebee
     
  14. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    good thread..

    I arrived at my own self imposed 'physical beekeeping goals' several years back. my original intentions being something to keep me active in my retirement years. My initial objectives were rather simple.... to produce a small quantity of raw honey for the local market and to eventually begin rearing a few queens and nucs primarily for hobby beekeepers (perhaps not all local but most pretty close).

    Number wise I am about where I want to be (somewhere around 250 hives) and my intermediate future plans/goals involves some small improvements in my honey house and honing my own skills and instincts in queen rearing. marketing of product is another topics of interest so I am just now starting to explore 1) honey sales thru a few local stores and 2) dramatically altering my method/mechanism for selling nucs.
     
  15. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    I just want to enjoy the journey and not worry about a finish line.
    If it takes me to 1 or 1000 hives that will be fine.

    It has been a great journey so far.
    Each day I get to see around that next bend in the road, but once I get around that bend there is another off in the distance that I must see.


    All I really wanted was some honey to put on my corn flakes....that's how the journey started.....
     
  16. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    I started beekeeping for two reasons: 1) self sufficiency..I have solar panels, go figure. 2) I wanted to do my part to reverse the decline of bees. I have one hive and hope to do a three-way split next spring. Then after next year...well, we'll see how I do with three hives. The bees are a comforting stability for me and I've found that there are many life lessons that can be taught to my children and grandchildren by observing the hard work and unselfish nature of the colony. My wife and I figure we'll get about 30 lb of honey when we extract (another adventure I'm yet to experience). So after totaling up my first year package, gear, woodware and extractor, we will have paid about $25-30/lb for that golden goodness. LOL! Well, it's been worth it. Can't wait to see what next year brings.
     
  17. DonMcJr

    DonMcJr New Member

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    I was born in 1972! Just had to rib ya efmesch!

    I started one hive this year for something to do to fill the void of the short Maple Syrup Season which I just go into this year also. I had small hopes of selling some honey but mostly keeping it for us.

    Well in my 1st year I am up to 3 hives...and I am probally gonna end up with about 10 and do some selling. Seems everyone who tries my honey loves it and then has friends that wanna buy some...

    So not sure how big I am gonna get but I'm gonna grow more I know that!
     
  18. heinleinfan

    heinleinfan New Member

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    My husband and I eventually want to have a large apiary...how large, we don't know. We've always planned to one day have a farm and small goat ranch, and sell products from the garden and cheese and not try to make a living out of that, but to have it as something we did for extra income, for fun and because we believe in sustainability. It was easy for us to add in "Oh, and honey and products from our large apiary" in our eventual life plan once we started keeping.

    My husband finished his masters in Environmental Sciences this past year, so the plan was for me to go back to school next fall and finish my degree in education. Teaching is something I've always wanted to do. I've had various jobs that have involved the teaching of things, and I've taken courses and certifications in instructional design and how people learn; I love sharing knowledge and I'm fascinated on how the mind works in regards to learning.

    Then this year I had the opportunity to teach people beekeeping. Not just offering advice here and there, and answering questions from people I know, but actively being paid specifically to teach someone. And a lightbulb went off in my brain that...wow, I could combine the two things I love most. So, now I am planning now to doing a 180 from Education to Biology and specializing in entomology when I go back to school next fall.

    In the meantime...I'm going to be teaching classes for a group of folks this winter/spring and to hire myself out more to individuals as a keeping instructor for next year. I already have my second "client" as a paid beekeeping instructor. I may also self-publish a basic beekeeping chapbook to go along with the class.

    And who knows, maybe part of my apiary in a few years will include a research project for a doctoral thesis. Maybe I'll write more than just a self-published chapbook on beekeeping. Maybe our apiary will be set up as a teaching beeyard, where people can come and learn, and I'll have a regular ongoing public bee school. Maybe one day I'll work part time as a state bee inspector. It's not that I can't decide, it's that...I feel right now that I could do anything and I want to leave myself open to possibilities. But whatever I do, it's going to involve bees. I can no longer picture myself *not* keeping bees for the rest of my life.


    My husband and I started almost on a whim; we wanted to brew mead, saw the price of honey and he said "Hey, we should just keep bees and have free honey." My initial response was "Keep bees? Who DOES that?!?"

    I didn't realize then how much I would fall in love with bees, and how much my life plans would change once I started keeping.
     
  19. Marbees

    Marbees Member

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    Third year, 30 hives. Plan to go to 200 - 300. Gave myself another 5-6 years to get there.
    Getting tired of Toronto, want to move to the country. Tend my bees and orchard.
    Some fishing/hunting in between.:grin:
     
  20. bamabww

    bamabww Active Member

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    My grandfather had 3 bee hives, one of which I turned over when I was 3 to 4 years old, and my father in law kept bees for almost 30 years. My wife and I bought a 35 acre farm in 1976 and have enjoyed raising cattle, hay and a small catfish pond for family use. After I got the kids through college, I sold the cattle and still had almost 10 acres of Crimson Clover that we had cut for hay each year. I never seen any honey bees around our farm and had the opportunity to get a hive from a friend who had gotten allergic to the stings. I have now grown to 4 hives and would like to have 6. I will retire in 9 months and 23 days and look forward to tending my farm / bees in a more productive manner.

    My daughter with just a little persuasion would join me in the bee business and I may do that more as retirement nears.