If you’ve ever found yourself wondering how to make money keeping bees, then you’re in luck. This article is all about beekeeping and everything that goes into it. If you think this might be something for you, read on to learn more!
Table of Contents
What is Beekeeping?
If you’re new to the world of beekeeping, here’s a quick definition: Beekeeping is the process of raising honeybees. Beekeepers tend to have different goals and objectives when it comes to beekeeping.
For example, a beekeeper can choose to be an “apiarist” or a “honey producer,” typically referring to how they make money off bees. An apiarist will primarily care for bees over time while producing very little honey themselves, while a honey producer would keep many hives full of bees to produce large quantities of the finished product all at once.
It’s essential to know what you want your focus on before getting started with keeping bees.
Why Would You Want to Become a Beekeeper?
Ah, the age-old question of why.
People have raised honeybees throughout history not only for their honey but also for pollination purposes. We rely heavily on flowering plants such as fruit trees and vegetables, which depend heavily on bees for pollination.
Honeybees are responsible for producing our sweet treats and a third of what we eat to survive!
These insects must thrive and continue their services, which means beekeepers worldwide must work hard to ensure this happens. Bee populations have been declining over the years; many factors are contributing to this decline.
While the science is still out on what’s causing these declines, there are a few things we know for sure:
There has been an increase in colony collapse disorder (CCD) from some form of pesticide exposure, and parasites such as mites have contributed to population losses. There may be additional issues with pests and diseases that contribute to CCD, but research is ongoing.
The availability of food sources has also played a role; climate change due to our environmental footprint could play a role too!
What all this boils down to, however, is how you can help. We’re happy you asked because beekeeping might be something worth considering if it’s not already your passion or hobby!
For some, becoming a beekeeper is a romantic idea that they would like to experience. Others are interested in the honey production aspect and want to make money off of it.
Many people who keep bees for personal use will say there is nothing better than fresh, raw honey from your hives right out of the comb! Some beekeepers also do this as a hobby or even just because they find it fascinating how these tiny creatures work together so well. For others, making some extra bucks on the side by keeping bees is an attractive option if you’re willing to put in time and effort into maintaining them.
Whatever your reason for getting started, beekeeping can be a fun and rewarding experience.
What Do You Need to Get Started Beekeeping?
To get started beekeeping, you’re going to need to spend some money on startup costs.
(If you don’t have ANY money to start a side hustle, I’d recommend starting your Dollars From Cents process by checking out the list of best gig economy jobs.)
In general, it costs anywhere between $300 – $1200 to get started beekeeping.
Here’s the breakdown of what you’ll need:
- a beehive (usually one each)
- a smoker
- bee veil
- extra gloves and hat for when working around bees
- beehive stands
- tools (extractors) for removing honey
- space for the bees
While you can buy much of this equipment brand new, you don’t have to. One way to cut down on costs is to buy used equipment. Other beekeepers in your area might have equipment that they don’t need anymore and might be willing to sell it to you.
In addition, get in contact with your local beekeeper association. Most areas have one. These associations can be significant, especially for new beekeepers, because they can offer you advice, tips for your first year of beekeeping, and other valuable information.
How Can You Make Money Keeping Bees?
There are two main ways you can make money keeping bees. You can either take a job as a beekeeper working for someone else or become a beekeeping entrepreneur. Let’s dive into each of these, so you know the difference.
While you don’t often hear of beekeeping jobs, they do exist. According to the American Beekeeping Federation, most beekeepers work for agricultural and residential customers, which contracts with farmers who rely on bees to ensure a good yield or fruit set during their growing seasons.
Some homeowners will also hire beekeepers when they are away from home so that there is someone professional looking after their beehives. There are about four to five jobs listed in any given week on the ABF’s job board which means it is possible to find employment if you have an interest and skill set in this field and connections within the industry.
Of course, you would need to have the right experience to take on jobs like this. These jobs aren’t usually suited for beginning beekeepers who are still learning all about the beekeeping industry.
Another thing to remember is that beekeeping is popular in China, Argentina, Turkey, and the U.S. You can travel and work overseas as a beekeeper if you want to.
Beekeepers have different incomes based on experience, education, and the type of beekeeping they do (commercial or hobbyist). The average salary of a beekeeper is around $25,000. However, you can also make money by being a part-time beekeeper who only looks after their bees at night and on weekends while you have another job.
If the thought of working for someone else doesn’t appeal to you, I’d recommend going the beekeeping entrepreneur route.
As an entrepreneur beekeeper, you’ll be your own boss. You can set your hours and do what you want when you want. Being an entrepreneur is indeed hard work, but the reward of learning a new skill and building something from nothing makes it well worth the effort.
If this sounds like an appealing idea for you to make money as a beekeeper, there are some things you should consider before getting started:
Be mindful of where bees will thrive in the summer months (warmer) and winter months (colder). Consider how close or far away hives need to be located from each other depending on land availability (especially if vacant). If space is limited near your home or business location, think about finding another site with more room to grow at a later date.
You should consider the type of bee species best suited for your area before buying hives. A great idea would be to start by asking around at beekeeping events in your area to pick the brains of those already doing what you want to do.
A new beekeeper doesn’t have as much experience as a more experienced one would. It’s important not to be afraid or intimidated by working with these creatures because they are very gentle creatures in general. Knowing how to do it right can make all the difference when it comes down to how successful your apiary will be over time, which means that getting some help at first might be worth it (if possible).
Knowledge of how to manage beehives
Making money from keeping bees is more than just buying a couple of hives and letting the bees do their thing. You have to know how to manage them, so they are healthy and productive. You need to understand how to protect the bees from threats as well.
In general, keeping bees isn’t a huge time commitment; however, you have to be willing to sacrifice some of your time to keep them healthy. It will take more time when you start, but you’ll have to spend less time managing your hives as you get better and gain more experience.
Regulations and legal ramifications
There are many regulations and legal ramifications that you’ll have to abide by when it comes to beekeeping. There are some states where it’s limited or severely restricted. Before getting started beekeeping or investing any money, you need to understand your area’s apiary ordinances and regulations. Here’s a great link to each state’s laws.
Choose the right products to sell
Finally, you need to know what kind of products or services you want to sell to make money keeping bees. Most people just getting into beekeeping don’t realize that apiaries can make money doing more than just selling their bees’ honey. There are many different types of products and services, so it’s best to know the direction you want to go before getting started. Understanding that will help guide you in the right direction, saving you lots of time.
19 Ways to Make Money Keeping Bees
There are lots of ways you can make money keeping bees. Here is a list of 16 different ideas for making money as a beekeeper. Some of these ideas can start producing income right away, while others might take you a few years of beekeeping experience before you can reap the rewards.
- honey – the most common and well-known way to make money from beekeeping. It’s also a good idea for beginners, as you can start making honey right away with your first colony of bees
- propolis – the sap that creates tree resin is combined with wax by worker bees before it becomes propolis. Propolis can be used in medicine (as an antiseptic) or food preservation, and people have even sold it as chewing gum!
- honeycomb frames – these specially designed metal frames are made just for extracting honey from honeycombs found within a hive; if you have extras, you can make money by reselling them to beginner beekeepers
- beeswax (candles, cosmetics, polish) – this is another product that you can make money with. Beeswax has a lot of industrial purposes, but it’s also used in products like candles and lip balms
- bee pollen – another way to make money is by selling bee pollen, a food supplement that can help people be healthier.
- bees – if you have an excellent hive, you can sell your bees to other beekeepers
- commercial pollination – if you have strong hives (say over 60), you can make money by providing pollination services to commercial farms; you probably shouldn’t think about offering this kind of service if you have a small number of bees
- bee swag – if you start a following of beekeeping enthusiasts on Facebook or Instagram, you can sell bee-related merchandise like clothes, mugs, and other stuff
- beekeeping classes – if you have an interest in teaching people about beekeeping, there’s a good chance that you can teach lessons to your community and charge for them
- beekeeping (for other clients like hotels or restaurants) – there are several companies like hotels or restaurants that want to provide fresh honey to their customers and patrons but don’t want to do the actual beekeeping; instead, they’ll pay you to keep the bees for them
- bee removals – if you live in an area where bees are a problem, people will often come to you for bee removal services; for some, this might not be that fun, but it can be a way to earn extra money with your knowledge of bees
- bee breeding – if your goal is to make money keeping bees as well as honey and other products from them, then one way of doing that is by raising queens or drones (the male insects) to sell at market prices
- beekeeping starter kits – another way to make money is to sell beekeeping starter kits to other enthusiasts looking to get started
- local tours of your beehives – if you’ve got an exciting beekeeping setup, you can also make money is by offering local tours of your beehives
- beekeeping equipment – it’s not just bees you can sell; there are also other beekeeping equipment that people might be interested in, such as honey extractors
- pollinator seeds – another option is to sell pollinator seeds, which you can use to grow plants that attract bees
- manage other people’s beehives – another way to make money is by minding other people’s beehives
- rent out your beehive – another option for making money as a beekeeper is to rent out space in and around your hive, either short- or long-term
- commission as an expert witness – if you’re working with bees on behalf of a law firm, you could make some money by becoming an expert witness in bee-related cases
There are many benefits to beekeeping, including the fact that it is a hobby anyone can enjoy. If you want to start your hive and have no clue where to begin, or if you’re just curious about this fascinating topic in general, then we hope our article has been of some help! Now go out there and make money with bees!
FAQ – Make Money Keeping Bees
Is beekeeping a profitable business?
Yes, beekeeping can be a very profitable business. However, you need to have a good knowledge of beekeeping before turning a profit, which could often take at least a year or more.
How time-consuming is beekeeping?
Beekeeping does require time, but the amount of time you’ll be required to spend will depend on how many hives you have. It could range anywhere from a few hours a week to a few hours a month.
What do I need for my first hive?
For your first hive, we recommend that you purchase a complete set of bee equipment and protective gear before getting started with honeybees.
How much money should I expect to make per month from keeping bees?
You can earn up to $300-$400 in income each month, depending on where you’re located. The average monthly earnings are around $100-$200, which could vary significantly based on the area where they are being kept or sold.
Is beekeeping very difficult?
Beekeeping is not too difficult. There’s a lot to think about, but it’s easier than most people imagine, and the rewards make up for any of that lost time.
How much does beekeeping cost?
Beekeeping costs can vary depending on what you need or buy before starting your first hive. When getting started, the essential equipment required will set you back around $150-250 at the very least. It could be more if you want extra protection clothing like gloves, suits, etc., which are also necessary to keep yourself safe from being stung by bees while tending them at their hives.
How fun is beekeeping?
Beekeeping is a lot of fun. It’s fascinating to learn how honeybees work and what they need to be healthy.
What exactly is commercial beekeeping?
Commercial beekeeping is a type of beekeeping where the person raises bees for profit, not pollinating their own crops. Commercial beekeepers can also be larger organizations and companies that provide beekeeping services for other corporations or institutions.
What are some other benefits to keeping bees?
There are many reasons people choose this hobby or profession. For example, you can sell your honey at a local farmer’s market and make extra money on weekends in addition to an income from your day job if needed. You may also enjoy seeing how different species work together as they build hives and sustain life within them by taking care of everything from worker maintenance issues like feeding larvae to tending the queen who lays all the eggs.
How many beehives do you need to make money keeping bees?
There is no set number of hives that someone needs to make money, but the more hives you have, the more profit you will make.