How to make money from honey
Here’s how to profit from bees without becoming a beekeeper.
There is a honey rush on, mostly thanks to an explosion in the returns from manuka honey because of its remarkable antibacterial properties. The result is overseas markets are clamouring for our honey and we are struggling to keep up.
There is an explosion in the number of beekeepers too. In in the last year or so, beekeeper numbers grew by 70,000, many of them hobbyists and semi-commercial set-ups.
Should you be one too? Bees on your block would be lovely, right?
It’s important to understand that beekeeping is a complex undertaking. Looking after bees well is complicated, expensive and time-consuming. There is a lot to learn, including all the legal requirements that come with bees. There’s no guarantee of success either. Your bees may still die, or just not prosper.
There is an easier way to have bees than to become a beekeeper. Commercial beekeepers always need places for their hives, and there is considerable competition for good apiary sites. If you have a good site, you can make money from honey but you won’t need to do any of the work.
This is a basic guide on what to expect when you host the hives of a commercial beekeeper.
The other benefits of bees, besides honey
There’s nothing nicer on a hot summer’s day than the warm buzz of bees, and they are very helpful to a landowner. If you have pip or stone fruit trees, or a large vegetable garden full of cucurbits and other vegetables that produce flowers, then fruit, having hives of eager bees nearby will increase your yields.
Bees also pollinate clover, and clover is an excellent nitrogen-fixing plant. By pollinating clover you get the fertiliser effect of nitrogen, without having to pay for or spread the fertiliser. There’s an increase in the quality of your pasture, and an increase in the health of your grazing animals.
Do you have a patch of scrubby manuka bush? You can use bees to make some money off that too.