Starting a beekeeping business to make honey is quite difficult, as you first know what to do to take care of bees and their hives, and you also need to have a budget to actually buy items and equipment required to start a hive. Luckily, if you are planning to start a honey-making business, we are here to provide you with the basics, as well as some tips on how to invest in starting a beehive. The first section of this guide will be about the costs of each item or product you need to start a beehive properly, while the second section will give you some tips on how to make a profit from the business and how to save more money.
Cost of Beekeeping
For those that are just starting to build their hive, most beekeeping shops would offer a beginner’s kit, which contains a beginner’s manual, an empty hive, a set of brood frames, a smoker, a veil, a pair of glove, and a handy hive tool, for only $250 (as of 2020). Of course, these beginner’s kits don’t come with bees, so you would have to buy them separately.
Beginners would need to buy a 3-lb package, a container that has bees that have a combined weight of 3 pounds. These bees are enough for a beginner to learn the basics of beekeeping, but if he or she intends to already start a business in honey-making, then the beginner must buy more bees and more hives.
A separate hive would cost approximately $235, but you won’t have to buy more smokers or hive tools since only one of each is sufficient unless they break. If ever you would need a replacement, a hive tool costs $10, while the smoker will cost you $35. A hive tool is primarily used to open up hives and pry out brood frames (a frame where the bee cells are located), while the smoker is utilized to calm down the bees whenever they get too aggressive or if they are blocking the brood frame whenever you are inspecting it. In addition to those tools, a beginner beekeeper must also have a beekeeping suit, an onesie that provides maximum protection against bee stings, and that costs $80.
You can learn the basics of beekeeping by just reading the manual that comes with the kit or by watching YouTube tutorial videos. However, some organizations offer beekeeping classes, and these classes have an average price of $300.
Making a Profit from Beekeeping
Almost all professional beekeepers would tell you that you wouldn’t make a profit immediately after one year of beekeeping, as it is during that year that you are just learning the life cycle of bees that could take one year to repeat.
To elaborate, beekeeping would take you approximately one year to fully learn since you would have to know how to take care of bees during the four seasons, namely spring, summer, fall, and winter.
During the spring, you would have to know how to make the bees comfortable in their new environment. The busiest season would be summer, as it is in that season that workers bees will start to collect more and more pollen and nectar for their food supply, and you would also be quite busy too because it is in this period that you will learn more about honey collecting and inspecting every brood frame in the hive.
The fall season would be the period where you would have to prepare for the winter, which will be the most challenging season for beginning beekeepers. However, the fall season would also be consideredas the “calm before the storm” because you don’t have to inspect the hive as frequently since the bees are not as active.
In the winter season, beginner beekeepers must learn how to provide ample food supply for the bees, as the honey that they have produced over the summer may not be enough for them to survive. You would also need to inspect the beehive every now and then during this season. If you are planning to start a beehive next year, then the right time to buy bees is during the last months of winter, as this will help the bees adjust to their environment when spring season comes.
Once spring season comes back, beginning beekeepers will already know what to do in every season, thus prompting most of them to buy more bees and hives, which would lead to producing more honey for their business. Because beekeeping is a year-long learning process, profiting from the activity would only come after one year.
Saving money from beekeeping is also essential, and the best thing you can do to save money from it is by catching bees from their natural habitat instead of buying bees from the shop. You can catch bees whenever a homeowner or landowner calls you to catch unwanted beehives on their property, although they will only be able to contact you by placing bee catching ads on bulletin boards or on social media, or by joining a local beekeeping group that keeps tabs of people in the town or city that may need a bee catcher.
Although most beekeeper profit from the business from producing honey, they would also sometimes make beeswax products, like candles and lubricants, that is also made naturally from the beehive. These beeswax products are typically profitable during seasons when bees are not making a lot of honey, such as during the fall or winter.
So, those are just some of the basics and tips that we can provide you if ever you are planning on starting a beekeeping business. As previously mentioned, beekeeping is a tough activity, but the rewards for doing a great job taking care of the bees are truly fruitful.