How to make money from honey

Here’s how to profit from bees with­out be­com­ing a bee­keeper.

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Contents - WORDS & IMAGES KAREN KNIGHT

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.