Beekeeping is an age-old profession. But did you know that it is still viable, even in modern times? People still love honey… and all of that honey needs to come from somewhere! Can you really make money keeping bees?
Here's what this side hustle entails.
How To Make Money Keeping Bees
First things first, what exactly is beekeeping?
If you've done much research at all, you will undoubtedly know that beekeeping is basically a process where you set up, keep, maintain, and care-for a hive of bees… with the intention of harvesting their honey.
Honey has many uses. But it is also important to understand that beekeeping isn't for everyone.
Here's what you need to know about this side hustle before jumping head-first into it.
Beekeeping 101: What You Need To Know
The first thing to know is that beekeeping is actually kind of an expensive side hustle.
But… it is also important to know that you can make money with it as well!
In fact… you can even make money with it the first year, and you only need one or two hives to make it happen.
We've looked into the process to find out what it entails. Here's what you need to know.
(This article is not going to be a guide on how to set up a beehive. That is a very involved process that you should probably talk to a beekeeper about, or buy a book about.
But if you are interested in whether or not you should start a beehive from a financial standpoint, and whether or not it can be profitable enough to look into… this article is for you.)
First Off, Realize That You Are Not Going To Get A Lot Of Honey Your First Year
Most hives are not going to produce a ton of honey during the first year.
But that's ok, because honey is not the only product that beehives produce.
There are actually four potential sources of income that will come from a beehive.
- Bees wax
- Bee Pollen
Honey and bees wax are the two most viable, easiest ways to make a profit with bees, so we will focus more on those in this post.
But let it be known that, if you plan to get really serious about beekeeping, you can also harvest propolis and bee pollen to potentially earn money with as well.
How Much Money Can You Make Beekeeping Your First Year?
It is entirely possible to earn as much as $500, or even more, from your first beekeeping harvest.
And of course, that can scale upwards the longer you keep your hive, and it will also scale as you add more hives.
What Is The Key To Making Money Beekeeping Your First Year?
The key to actually turning a profit as a beekeeper in the first year lies in ‘diversifying your products.'
As a first-time beekeeper, your bees may only produce 20-30 pounds of honey… which isn't very much!
Even if you produce 50 to 60 pounds of honey, you're still not talking about a massive amount of money!
So you need to round out your potential income by adding additional products to the mix.
In other words, you can't rely on just sales from one type of honey product.
As with any business, you need to get creative when it comes to harvesting and selling your merchandise.
Here are some examples of products that can actually help you to really round out your product lineup to earn more money from your first year's harvest.
Different Sized Jars Of Honey
This is a pretty obvious product offering that can really sell well… but the key is to offer it in several different sizes.
You can offer one pound bottles of honey, half-pound bottles, and even smaller bottles… and can mark-up your prices a bit more for the smaller portions.
This makes the larger portions a better deal, but also gives people more options.
You might be surprised to learn how quickly you will sell out of different sizes.
This just gives you a huge advantage in trying to move your honey for a profit, and gives potential buyers more different products to choose from.
Here are some ideas for pricing that we've seen other beekeepers use on their own products.
- One-pound jars for $10
- Half-pound jars for $8
- Little jars for $3
Cut-Comb Honey is, according to honeybeesuite.com, produced by “cutting the honeycomb free from its frame or top bar and then subdividing the comb into smaller pieces.”
Cut-comb honey is super fun to make, and it is also inexpensive to harvest.
It is known as one of the best ways to share your beekeeping hobby with friends and family… but you can also sell the comb for a decent profit as well.
This type of product may tend to appeal to old-school buyers who love the idea of getting the honey right out of the comb.
Creamed honey is processed in such a way as to change its consistency.
Contrary to popular belief, there is actually no ‘cream' in creamed honey.
It is popular because the creamy consistency makes it super easy to spread on toast, biscuits, etc.
Beeswax is an incredible product… and you can make some very cool stuff with it!
One of the easiest things to do with beeswax is to make candles out of it.
You can easily make beeswax candles out of a mixture of beeswax and coconut oil… which is pretty cool, and you can make some pretty decent money this way.
You can also make candles out of 100% pure beeswax, but this requires a lot more beeswax to make… so you may not be able to make as many of these if you don't have several hive to pull wax from.
Lip balm is an awesome way to use small amounts of beeswax to make some extra money from your beehives.
People love all-natural lip balm, and beeswax makes an incredible moisturizer and skin protector!
You can mix ingredients like Shea butter and Almond oil in with your wax to make products like this… so even if you only have a very small amount of wax, you can still make these types of products and earn a pretty decent amount of money for your efforts.
You can even take this a step further to make moisturizer bars out of beeswax and all kinds of other natural ingredients.
There are a lot of recipes for making these types of things online, and you may need to experiment a little bit to get things lined out right.
But once you get your process figured out, you should definitely be able to make some side-hustle cash with such products.
Some Tips To Help Make Your Profits Better
One of the difficulties associated with making money beekeeping is the challenge of marketing the products.
Packaging, marketing, and selling beeswax and honey products isn't always so easy.
Sure, you can go to farmers markets, or sell them through local health food/whole food stores. But at the end of the day, these types of things all need to be done on top of the effort it takes to raise the bees and harvest the raw products anyway.
And this is enough work that there are many beekeepers who simply raise bees for their own personal honey, and for the simple joy of keeping the bees.
Having your own honey is pretty cool. And there are quite a few people out there who swear off attempting to make money beekeeping, mostly because all they really want out of the deal is to watch their bees fly around, and to enjoy the simple pleasures of home-grown honey.
But… with all of that being said, it is also absolutely possible to make money with honey bees… especially if you are dedicated to it.
One of the best ways to make your profits better is to work on your packaging.
If you can make your packaging super cute and professional looking, you can often score big points with the whole-foods demographic.
And the longer you keep your bees, the better you will get at harvesting… and the more yields you can expect.
It might not make you a fortune, but there is money in beekeeping.
You can even sell your honey to mead-makers, as some people enjoy making wine and mead… but mead itself requires honey.
You just have to stick with it, learn the trade, get to know the local community, and keep working on your bee hives.
Our Final Opinion Of Beekeeping
Can you really make money keeping bees and collecting honey?
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