How to Start

How to Start a Beekeeping Business

Is your hobby beekeeping? A beekeeping business can be a small venture to supplement your income or a full-time operation. This is a relatively inexpensive hobby that has the potential to earn a sweet income.

Beekeeping is best done on small acreage, but even people who live in the suburbs or in the city have found ways to carry on a successful beekeeping business. Check with local authorities about ordinances or permits.

Pros

  • An existing hobbyist can generate sweet profits
  • Beekeeping can be done almost anywhere
  • One hive can produce 50 – 100 pounds of honey each year

Cons

  • Initial investment of new equipment
  • Must be proactive in the prevention of disease
  • Bee stings can be dangerous, and in some cases fatal

Customers

Americans consume 400 million pounds of honey each year. You can sell you honey at local farm markets, retail or wholesale markets, or start an online business. Local health food stores often get requests for local honey as an aid in reducing allergies.

Getting started:

If you are not already a beekeeping hobbyist, you may want to find a beekeeper to spend some time with before you start. If possible, contact an experienced beekeeper and offer to work for free in order to learn the necessary skills, and to see how hives are worked.

Beekeeping expenses will include the cost of personal equipment needed to protect you from bee stings. If you are just starting out, you will want to invest in new equipment. This will prevent any possible spread of disease. A protective suit, gloves, high top boots, hat, and a veil are necessary.

You will also need a smoker. A gentle puff of smoke will prevent the bees from becoming agitated while you work. A good hive tool will allow you to manipulate the frames while preventing unnecessary disturbances as well.

Harvesting the honey will require special equipment. Household substitutes may be used for some tasks, however you will probably want to invest in a good centrifugal extractor.

You can build the hives for your bees by following specific plans that are readily available. Ideally, a beginner will want to start with two colonies. You can add more colonies as you gain experience and confidence.

Living in the country is not necessary, but a good source of pollen, nectar, and fresh water must be available. If you live in an area that experiences cold winters, you will need to winterize your hives as well. But don’t let this discourage you;a few hives are not difficult to winterize

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