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How easy is it to get started in the industry?

I have my level 3 certificate in apiculture.

I am starting on level 4 apiculture, and level 4 queen raising in September.

Thanks for any advice.
 
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How easy is it to get started in the industry?

I have my level 3 certificate in apiculture.

I am starting on level 4 apiculture, and level 4 queen raising in September.

Thanks for any advice.
Easy way is to buy a business, tho there is a good reason there is so many up for sale at the moment.
Tho better idea is to work at an existing place first. Just be aware that many places are churning staff for good reasons and i have no doubt there is plenty of ex-beekeepers around.
Sorry but the industry is in a decline. But there is outfits that are expanding and staff retiring etc, so there is s few jobs out there for good beeks.
 

Alastair

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Only safe way to enter the industry at this time is to get a job with a beekeeper. Starting your own business at this time is extremely high risk and I mean extremely. There are guys who have been successful beekeepers for many years going broke right now. If you get a job with someone you learn a lot, and the most you can lose if they fold is a few weeks pay.

If someone offers you a partnership or some other form of financial investment, answer NOOOO
 
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Bay of Plenty
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Only safe way to enter the industry at this time is to get a job with a beekeeper. Starting your own business at this time is extremely high risk and I mean extremely. There are guys who have been successful beekeepers for many years going broke right now. If you get a job with someone you learn a lot, and the most you can lose if they fold is a few weeks pay.

If someone offers you a partnership or some other form of financial investment, answer NOOOO
The answer is not NOOO to an offer of a business, the answer is seek advice to see if it is a value proposition for you.
There is opportunity if you know how to put it together.
I can buy hives cheaper than brokering them in for pollination at the moment so an opportunity if I were wanting to take it.
But every decision comes with its own curses and rewards and you got to be prepared for it.
 
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The answer is not NOOO to an offer of a business, the answer is seek advice to see if it is a value proposition for you.
There is opportunity if you know how to put it together.
I can buy hives cheaper than brokering them in for pollination at the moment so an opportunity if I were wanting to take it.
But every decision comes with its own curses and rewards and you got to be prepared for it.
yeah i've heard that one a few times and seen it not work.
if there was $$ in it someone would already be doing it. if there is pollination that you can do, that means someone found it wasn't worth doing.
especially if your an unexperienced person who more than likely doesn't have the full array skills required.
 
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Alastair

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The answer is not NOOO to an offer of a business, the answer is seek advice to see if it is a value proposition for you.

Seek advice? Who would give it to him? Did a good deal of these new entrants succeed even in the good times?

I'd give him a 1% chance of success. Or less. People offering partnerships to rank strangers they just met, are normally on the brink of bankruptcy and clutching at straws. Showing books that indicate a profit over the last 3 years does not mean the next 3 years will be as good.

Why say that? Cos when 20+ year formerly successful beekeepers can't do it and are having nervous breakdowns and walking away leaving their hives to die, how does a nuub with no experience succeed.

I will never say never, but I will say it would be one of the worst risks in business a person may choose to take right now.

Anyhow that's my advice, the safest plan is get a job with a beekeeper, and that was also the safest plan even when times were easy. Pays to learn what you are doing before starting a business. While a paper qualification in beekeeping has some value, in my view it is not enough to ensure success right now, practical work is as much or more value.

Anyhow the guy can consider all advice and then make his decision.
 
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Alastair

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The falling price of honey over here. Most honey is being sold for the cost of producing it, or less. The more expensive honeys such as manuka just aren't selling at all, some people haven't sold any honey in 2 years, not enough buyers.

So you can be a good beekeeper, make a good honey crop or compete against other beekeepers for pollination rights or whatever, but still fail financially.

A few beekeepers are still doing OK, but they have been around a while and have a plan that not everybody else can jump onto.
 
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Bron

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@Anaru the advice to seek employment in the industry before starting your own business is good advice. if you can get someone who is a fair and honest employer who will teach you the stuff you don’t learn from books, you’ll find out if it’s really your passion. Ask around don’t just take the job, find out about their operation. There’s not too many beekeepers in it for the money at the moment! That’s if you get any.

Do your apprenticeship first and then build up without borrowing a little at a time. A word of advice is to buy new gear. If it looks like a bargain, it probably isn’t.

The bees will thank you later on, learn and make mistake so you’re ready when things are more stable. Right now it’s not the time.

We run a lean operation with no staff, just family and a couple of reliable old 4x4s. No shiny stuff, just graft and long hours, and we’re hanging in there for the passion & the bees.

Good luck
 
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What is the reason for the decline in the beekeeping industry?
as above.
typically boom and bust.
new standards were introduced to ensure manuka is manuka. that meant a lot of manuka failing the testing. also cheaper honeys where getting high prices because it was being blended with manuka, now the blending has stopped prices have crashed.
i'm not sure on the manuka side but manuka prices have also dropped a lot.
so low honey prices, the propolis market has disappeared, oversupply in wax. plus some good seasons means there is a lot of honey in storage that they have not being able to sell. people where also holding back manuka so got caught when prices crashed.
added wrinkle is buyers don't like dealing with small guys (much easier to deal with one company than 50 small ones), so they were the first to be dropped.

typically boom and bust.
 
8,649
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@Anaru the advice to seek employment in the industry before starting your own business is good advice. if you can get someone who is a fair and honest employer who will teach you the stuff you don’t learn from books, you’ll find out if it’s really your passion. Ask around don’t just take the job, find out about their operation. There’s not too many beekeepers in it for the money at the moment! That’s if you get any.

Do your apprenticeship first and then build up without borrowing a little at a time. A word of advice is to buy new gear. If it looks like a bargain, it probably isn’t.

The bees will thank you later on, learn and make mistake so you’re ready when things are more stable. Right now it’s not the time.

We run a lean operation with no staff, just family and a couple of reliable old 4x4s. No shiny stuff, just graft and long hours, and we’re hanging in there for the passion & the bees.

Good luck
+1
back to old school beekeeping.
 
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Sheezzz…. You fellahs need to go for a loooong bike ride.
Takes a crooked road to straighten the head and put the world into perspective.

My advice to young fellah is that if yer heart is set and you are keen … give her a go.
Rules of engagement for business has always been…’Buy low…. Work hard…. ‘And prepare to be surprised.
From what I hear , hive prices in NZ are at rock bottom.
When I read an email from Airborne talking oversupply and a price drop of 12% …. Some one is pulling someone’s chain.
Here in the middle of the Prairies the flow is over. One semi load of heavy honey drums has headed south, withmore to go. Sold, hot out of the extractor. And guess what, ‘Old Mate’ has recieved the highest price in years for his product.

Those beekeepers who had live bees in the spring have done alright.

So, my question is… why are NZ packers talking the price down…..
Therebis nobetter time to enter the industry…. So having said that, like the Snow goose, it’s probably time I headed south too!
 
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southbee

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Rules of engagement for business has always been…’Buy low…. Work hard…. ‘And prepare to be surprised.
Very true. While I also would recommend to work for a beekeeper first and find out if one can do it. That's the safer option. But it depends on the person, if you like risk, do the math and the work and sweat for it, the time to buy in is when the price is down.
 
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Tauranga
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What is the reason for the decline in the beekeeping industry?
The first reason was this govt meddling, putting in a Manuka definition that would take a ~$300m industry to $1bn, instead it's gone backwards.
Second reason is related to Covid, including China (main market) being in lockdown for a loooong time, and China's economic growth slowing down (going backwards?) and their housing market declining.
Sure there will be other factors, others can write about
 
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From what I hear , hive prices in NZ are at rock bottom.
When I read an email from Airborne talking oversupply and a price drop of 12% …. Some one is pulling someone’s chain.
manuka simply has not been selling. probably compounded by beeks who sat on it rather than sell for lower dollars and now can't get rid of it at all.
from what i hear there is a huge amount in storage.
hives prices have come back to "normal" imho. certainly not rock bottom. i suspect many that are selling have no idea what "normal" price was.

My advice to young fellah is that if yer heart is set and you are keen … give her a go.
no point if your just going to go broke straight away. you might as well just be a hobbyist and do some other job.
or simply find work with a bee company and learn all the other much needed skills.
 
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The first reason was this govt meddling, putting in a Manuka definition that would take a ~$300m industry to $1bn, instead it's gone backwards.
interesting way to look at it.
the manuka market was about to get it rear end kicked by other countries due to all the "fake" manuka. thats why the standard was done. quite possibly a little bit late in doing so. eg plenty of media attention about having more manuka going to UK than what NZ produces.
of course it wiped a lot of the honey off the market, and you can't keep a market if you have no product to sell. so people loose interest and move onto the next latest and greatest thing.
 

Alastair

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Agreed. A few days ago I was talking to a honey packer who has 5 shops in China. I asked him why the price of manuka has gone down, he said the Chinese just are not that interested in paying big bucks for it any more, they have had to drop their shop prices in China considerably.

I asked him why, he said he honestly could not fully answer that but he suspected a combination of the Chinese economy having some rough patches, and bad publicity from the fake manuka we were selling them. That of course prior to our government intervening to stop that, but the damage was done.

To get someone to pay a hundred bucks for a jar that is really only worth five bucks, there has to be a good story and the idea it is really something special. Word gets out most of the product is fake, that's going to kill the buzz. And the price and the volume.

Only thing our govt. did wrong was not act several years earlier, we might still be riding the wave. But of course the real blame lies with those selling manuka honey that was 90% something else.

I do recall back in the day out of curiosity, paying huge bucks in the supermarket for a tiny jar of manuka so I could give it the taste test. Tasted just like clover, funny that.
 
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Why?

Is there some problem with the advice that has been offered thus far? Seems very good advice to me, and with a number of solutions offered. (scratches head).
Nothing wrong with the the advuce Ali…
It’s just that old beekeepers get tired , physically and mentally, and end up just being negative in thought and word and deed.
Young fellahs are enthusiatic right…. Work a season in an established operation…. And perhaps work for an operation that has multiple income streams rather than relying on manuka….
100 kg of Rain Forest nectar may well outperform 20 kg of dubious manuka and all its associated costs.

So , with that… I better go polish the two wheeled stallion…. Its a looong ride home 😘
 


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