Want to turn your hobby into a profitable beekeeping business? As it is your leisure pursuit, you should know how interesting and enjoyable it is to keep colonies in your backyard. You spent a lot of time in monitoring honey bees closely and also in handling hives with care, so you have acquired skills and experience in beekeeping. Now you can easily make it your livelihood. One thing you should keep in mind that passion and profession are two different areas. The first one fulfills the demand of your mind and makes you happy but with the second, you can earn a living and make your family happy too.
If you are really enthusiastic in staring a beekeeping business from home, then I am here to guide you with details on how to establish the business in urban areas with packaged bees and queens. Most of the people living in the rural area take it as a hobby or run a part-time business as there are variety of flowering plants and trees available in the surroundings. This is the ideal place for honeybee to collect nectar and produce honey. Are you living in metropolitan area? Don’t be upset, it is also possible to run the beekeeping business from a small garden adjacent to your house or from your backyard.
Here are few steps you need to follow in order to set up a commercial bee farm.
Do a Feasibility Study
It is easy to maintain as hobby but it is not as straight-forward as the other home based businesses. The idea is feasible enough to make some cash as there is a great demand of honey and wax all over the world. You need to be aware of certain information regarding the honey bees and their nature. You will get honey once a year for a certain period of time but you need to keep them under close observation rounds the year. If you want to get success in this business, you need to identify the specific timing of bee farming. If you start before the time, bees won’t get nectar and keep warm and if you are starting late, there will be not enough honey kept on hive for winter. Beekeeping is like the other farming business but the only difference is that bees are not domestic animals.
Determine the Business Scale
Now you have to decide whether you want to start it as side business at small scale or give it a big start with thousands of colonies. It will entirely depend on your need, time availability and chiefly on your expertise. If you are planning to start as part time business, then a few hundred colonies will help you to earn sufficient money by selling bee-related products.
Choose a Suitable Place
You should select such a place where adequate amount of food, water and proper shades are available. The bees will be in good health round the year if provided with sufficient food and water. Moreover, safety and security are the other important issues you need to take care of. Before starting the beekeeping business from your backyard, make sure it has all the facilities mentioned here. At the beginning of winter season, when honey production is done, bees continue living on the pollen and stored honey until the spring starts. Ensure hive components are weatherproof and can resist the chilly wind. In addition, you should locate some area of your yard for honey extraction and packaging purpose.
Make a Good Plan
To start a beekeeping business you need to create a good business plan. Do an analysis of your target market and the industry as well. The business doesn’t need you to invest a lot of money as capital but you should know the exact places where and how much you are going to spend in order to start your beekeeping business. If you are planning to fund your beekeeping operations, then you must include all the details of financial planning i.e. start-up expenses, capital requirements, revenue and earnings etc.
Complete the Legal Requirements
It is very important to start your business after fulfilling all legal requirements. At first, decide the business structure after consultation with an expert in agricultural businesses. He may be a Certified Public Accountant. Now you should go for your business registration with both of your local and state government authority. You also need to get the approvals from your local zonal office as well as homeowners association. It is better to visit the zoning office to know more about the norms. Only a few states do not demand any written permission to start a beekeeping business from home but majority of the states require a valid beeping business license prior to start. The state department of agriculture sends their officials at your location for regular inspection of your hives.
Be Familiar with Your Bees and Their Nature
You should first study on the caste system of honey bees and their activities and also get some knowledge about the different species available. Know more about how colonies are comprised of, how comb is formed, which section of comb is used to store honey; every minute details related with colony and hive. It is required to learn about how to manage bee hives practically.
As you are going to start bee farming commercially, you should learn and follow all the activities of a bee colony in different seasons. Your learning will help you in preparation of their feed chart, medicating hives and other operations during honey extraction.
Now comes your main task i.e. hive management. If you can do it efficiently, honey production will go on increasing as healthy and happy workers will collect more nectar and pollen and queen bee will be laying eggs continuously. Hives need constant monitoring during spring and in any case, if you notice any symptom of sickness or distress among the bees, you should give proper medication to hives.
Get Knowledge of the Risks and Challenges
You must have knowledge of the risks and challenges involved herewith and also how to tackle these situations. Various bee diseases, pests like wasps, wax moths, mites etc and some new disorder can be harmful for your beehives, so you should gather enough information from the commercial beekeepers to get rid of these.
Obtain the Necessary Tools and Equipment
In order to start your beekeeping business, you should obtain your bee hives first and then you will need to order the following tools
- Bee Smoker
- A light-Colored Protective Suit
- Hand Gloves
- Beekeeping Brushes
- SS Knives
- Queen Excluder
- Pollen Trap
Know your Market
Like any other business you must make a survey while your firm is producing the honey and wax. For an example the American people need around 400 million pounds honey per year. When you know the demand of a particular area it is easier to make a profitable business there. You may supply the honey at the local stores. Or you can also store honey and wax on the beekeeping firm using necessary equipment. It will be a better step if you make publicity among the customers. Although the advertisement is an important thing for any kind of business, in case of a risky business like beekeeping it is obvious.
How to Make Money from Beekeeping Business
- Selling Honey: You can sell honey in the local stores or the farmer’s market.
- Sell Bee-related Products: You can make money by selling pollen, propolis, wax and royal jelly.
- Rent your Bees: You may charge an amount for renting your bees to the farmers who use them for pollination of crop plants.
- Sell Queen Bees or Bee Colonies: You may earn money by selling queen bees or the bee colonies.