Business on honeybees: we count earnings on our apiary.
When starting the business on honeybees, it is better to buy bees in April-May in the form of so-called bee packages. But before you buy them, you need to take care of the hives. Until a few years ago, when the industry was booming, ordering hives, especially in large quantities, was a real problem: almost all workshops had ordered a few months in advance.
Now the excitement is asleep, so there are no problems with it. You must first determine the design of the hive. There are many of them, but the most popular among industrialists are multi-hull hives Langstroth-Ruth. A 4-tier wooden hive will cost about UAH 1,300. Thus, the first investment will amount to UAH 130,000.
An alternative to traditional heavy wooden hives is modern hives made of synthetic materials: polystyrene foam and polyurethane foam. Such hives have many advantages, but they also have disadvantages. Not the main thing – a lot of price!
Each of the four hives must be equipped with 10 frames. In total, for 100 “homes” – 4 thousand pieces. Prices for frames are different. One set of wooden blanks for a high-quality modern Euro-frame for such volumes will cost about 7 UAH, i.e., we add about 30 thousand UAH to the total costs (then the frame will need to be assembled and wire, which also needs to be bought). And that’s not all.
For bees to rebuild the hive quickly, you need to equip it with artificial wax, which will have to be purchased again.
1 kg of beeswax costs on average about 180 UAH. 250 kg of wax will be needed for 4 thousand frames – that is, we add another 45 thousand UAH. Together, investments in the bee business will already exceed UAH 200,000. And this without bees.
The dynamics of prices for bees last season will delight buyers. Following honey, they have become much cheaper. A standard 4-frame bee package can be purchased for UAH 800-900. So, for bees, it is necessary to layout to 100 thousand UAH more. It is essential to buy the “right” bees: healthy and productive. Otherwise, the entire business plan will be threatened.
Good when a mobile apiary
Bees are purchased, settled in hives. Now the task is to “disperse” a small family so that it grows as much as possible and, mastering the hive, rebuilds the maximum number of frames. This requires a constant bribe – a supply of fresh nectar and pollen. Accordingly, the apiary should be located in an area with appropriate conditions.
Note that in practice, to find such a paradise, where all the time something blooms in sufficient quantities, is almost impossible. In addition, the oversaturation of “foreign” bees creates competition in search of food. The optimal location for a stationary apiary can be found only on some remote abandoned farm. In general, the honey apiary must be mobile to move quickly to the honeybees. That is, our goal is an apiary on wheels.
The problem of mobility can be solved in different ways. Starting from the banal transportation of hives on a truck with manual loading/unloading and ending with special nomadic modules or platforms on which the hives constantly stand (“apiary on wheels”). Note that in the world in industrial apiaries, hives are usually placed on Euro-pallets of four units. Loaded with special manipulators, which are equipped with a truck. This equipment costs thousands of dollars. In any case, it should be understood that nomadism is not a cheap pleasure, at least because of the cost of fuels and lubricants.
Honey collection: honey collection technology
If the business on bees went more or less well: the purchased bees turned out to be high-quality and hard-working, did not get sick, did not swarm, managed to avoid pesticides, then a bribe from a sunflower in the south-eastern regions of the country can expect up to 60 kg of honey per bee colony. . These are about three buildings in the hive, full of love.
Now this honey must be taken away – pumped out. Pumping honey is probably the most time-consuming process in beekeeping. Of course, it can be mechanized, but it will cost money and a lot. But no matter what, honey cannot be obtained without honey distillation. They come in different qualities and capacities. A modern unit for an apiary for 100 families will cost about 30 thousand UAH. Before pumping out, the honeycombs should be printed, i.e., open the wax caps. This can be done manually with a special knife or fork. And you can buy an automatic “printout” – a particular machine that will cost 40 thousand UAH.
For reference: complete cycle lines for pumping honey in industrial apiaries of foreign production, which provide maximum productivity, cost € 20-30 thousand!
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Business on bees: we count earnings on our apiary
The total honey yield from our conditional apiary can be 6 tons (60 kg x 100 hives). This amount of honey can now be delivered to harvesters for a maximum of 33 UAH / kg. Therefore, the total revenue will be about 200 thousand UAH. At the same time, the total investment in the business of bees plus costs amounted to about 400 thousand UAH. Of course, the lion’s share of this amount will be depreciated over decades, as these are fixed assets. If we spread their value only for 10 years, we will receive costs of 40 thousand UAH per year. There are also current costs for fuel, veterinary drugs, sugar for feeding bees in winter, etc. But the main cost item in beekeeping is the salary of the beekeeper.
If the apiary owner works alone, as is the case with typical family apiaries, it isn’t easy to separate the salary from the profit. The catchphrase: “Personnel who decide everything” is entirely proper for beekeeping. The apiary will have almost no value if an ignoramus manages it. The labor market of beekeepers in Ukraine is just emerging. Salaries of several thousand hryvnias, which are announced on it, do not meet the expectations of real professionals, who usually work for themselves, having their successful apiaries. Therefore, those who want to try themselves in the honey business have no choice but to learn the intricacies of beekeeping. In this challenging task, the theory is different from practice.
If we deduct UAH 40,000 from our UAH 200,000, we will get UAH 160,000. Salary/profit. This is only a little more than 13 thousand UAH per month. Yes, the beekeeping season lasts six months, but you have to live all year round.
If such earnings are not enough, it is necessary to scale the apiary at times, but you should prepare for new challenges and risks. The bee business requires the same attention and resource costs as any other business.
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