• T.R. Hutchinson-Owner Operator

Apiary Beginnings Update

How is the apiary going to begin? Well, since some of you have been asking, we'll tell you. We're doing what we call a soft startup. It won't be with our own physical on the ground apiary with the luscious gardens we plan on planting, that will come later. We are instead focusing in on starting our operation by placing hives on privately owned property from people who have signed up for our Sponsor-A-Hive program, they're not being mentored, they're just providing a space for us to place bees for their own reasons. But in managing those hives we will be working from them, not only for the honey but to produce our Queen cells. Once the Queens are ready we will have already purchased our instrumental insemination equipment to inseminate our Queens.

We will then bank the queens in our home hives on our physical property in Brigham City where they will wait to go from a sale. However, we can't keep them caged like this for long and we will be establishing as many nucleus hives as possible to house these Queens while they begin building out small colonies. Either we sell those Queens and wait to replace them in the hive with the next month's Queen or we start from scratch by selling the small nucleus colony.

We are still sharing our gofundme hoping that we will receive some more support from fans, supporters and people just interested in helping out with the bees. It means a lot to us and provides a huge relief from the staggering bill of buying equipment. The largest piece being our Apiary Truck which will take an Apiary Crane. Our projected cost for the truck and crane is $60,000. We will not be using a forklift at this time because of the crane, and we'll be much faster with the crane in moving hives around the places we are located since our hives will be spread out. The logo and signage on the truck identifies us and helps us advertise as we drive around.

Always hopeful, but planning on doing this alone we are preparing a budget to begin the purchases of equipment. The only piece that will allude us is the Apiary truck and we will have to find a way to make it work, I don't know what that is going to look like, it might be me transporting a netted hive while I'm in my bee suit in the car. I am prepared to do what is necessary, do I like it, certainly not, but I don't really have a choice as we don't qualify for loans or grants at this time. It's a bit distressing, but we are adamant to begin operations.

5-7 Hives will cost us between $1,420 and $1,990, not including paint to distinguish hives for foragers to identify. 5-7 bee packages in the spring will cost between $1,100 and $1,510. Other equipment necessary to operate our Queen Rearing totals around $6,000. We have other programs slatted for 2021 as well, but they won't come online until the harvest in the fall of 2021, if there is anything to harvest, most likely not, but sometimes you can be surprised if you have a really good year.

As you can see, that's a lot for someone to collect on their own from making a small hourly wage with about 35 hours a week and a deadline of the end of October. We were really hoping our community would rally behind us and help support our startup, but we also understand what is happening with covid-19 has everyone searching pockets with so many people out of work. We were hoping the gofundme platform took smaller donations, but the minimum is $5.00, which was $3.25 higher than what we ran a share campaign for, we were asking supporters for only $1.75 each. With enough people there was a chance to get the truck.

We're still hopeful that it will generate the amount we needed, and we dreamed of the larger amount to buy our physical property and honey house and begin all our other programs to assist new beekeepers and provide a space for them to harvest their own honey with the equipment we would purchase. But it looks like no dice.

We've begun planting various plants with future plans to move them to our own property once we have the chance to purchase it. When the property is purchased we'll have some of our plants established and ready to go.

Committed as ever I set up a plan on Excel for a purchasing plan that fits within our allowable budget. We may just be able to make it to the spring startup with 5-7 hives with purchases coming as they are needed. Dropping winter supplies and other materials not immediately needed reduces our cost load for investing into the business, the basics are the hives, bees, relevant equipment, feeds and medications with winterizing equipment to follow, IPM equipment to follow, reduced amounts of Queen Rearing Supplies. And no apiary truck or vehicle signage.

It will be as nitty gritty as all get up. But it establishes a working ability. A difficult one, but at least one that starts the process and puts us on the path to start generating revenue.

We're happy that more and more people like what we are doing and more people are coming onboard to assist with various matters of the Apiary, people have shown an interest in research and educational opportunities. While the Apiary is not yet fully operational, and does not have it's own Apiary grounds, we are striving for success more than ever. Every time we feel a little down we get back to work on the website and Facebook group and business page and we're heartened to see so many people coming together because of the bees and all that they do, from honey, to sheer joy, from hive products to pollination services of the hive.

Thank you for joining us on this journey, we hope that some of our supporters who have joined us in the mean time and regularly interact with us at some point become family. We're excited to have you with us and we thank everyone for subscribing to our group, business page and website blog. Our people mean just as much to us as our bees, without the people we interact with, we don't have a business. Thank you everyone! Excited to share more of the journey with you, we'll post pictures when our first equipment purchases begin to arrive, we plan on getting a temporary storage bay to store materials until next spring. We're excited to see it fill up with startup materials.

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