4 things to expect when you host beehives
The days of being ‘paid’ with a jar of honey by a beekeeper are mostly over.
What to charge a beekeeper
The days of being ‘paid’ with a jar of honey by your beekeeper at the end of the season are mostly over.
If you are running a commercial proposition, you can expect proper compensation. This can be in a few forms, depending on what your site is like and what the beekeeper is using your site for.
Percentage of revenue from the honey yield from your site specifically
In a good year you do well, in a poor year less well. If you have manuka, you would expect between 5-30 per cent, depending on the quality of the manuka in the area and the quality of the honey (ie, the strength of the manuka honey)
Fixed $ per hive or fixed $ per site
These may be good options if the beekeeper is using your property as a nursery site for raising bees or as an over-wintering site, rather than for honey production.
The gate fee
There is another option sometimes offered by beekeepers, which is a one-off payment at the beginning called a gate fee. That’s fine if you get one of the other options as well, but on its own it benefits the beekeeper, not you.
The beekeeper will regularly visit, every two weeks or so in summer, less frequently in winter.
They will drive a 4WD vehicle, likely a ute or truck, and often bring in a big trailer that they will need to drive right up to the hives, so access is important.
You can expect a commercial operation to place a minimum of 20 hives, maybe up to 50 hives on one farm. Each hive will grow to up to 5-6 boxes by the end of the season. That’s quite a lot of bees: each one-box colony contains around 25,000 bees, so that’s 500,000 (20 hives) up to 1.25 million bees (50 hives).
At the end of the season, beekeepers often take away most of the boxes, perhaps leaving small 1-2 box hives. Some beekeepers put their hives on other sites for overwintering.
A commercial beekeeper moving hives onto a property.