Passive income can take on a sweet perspective as you venture into the beekeeping business. With just one hive, the amateur beekeeper can expect to make $1400 / year in honey sales. Bee wax harvested from each hive can be twice as profitable as the honey itself. This is high in demand because it can be incorporated into candles which don’t emit smoke. Carting bees around to orchards for pollination is another way to make the most of your buzzing back yard critters. In fact, during almond season, half of the bees in the US are brought to the California almond orchards during the spring months. And the prices that beekeepers charge for this can be astronomical.
A lot of people are drawn into bee keeping for obvious reasons… one being that bees make the honey and you simply harvest the fruits of their labor. Although this is true, there is maintenance that is required. But with experience, you can expect to make an extra $22,000 / year on top of your full time job. Your status as a beekeeper can even land you other jobs if your name is registered with the city pest control unit. When bees swarm and congregate in trees or attics, you will be called in to remedy the situation. After the successful removal of the bees, you can take them to your own hives or even sell them to other bee keepers.
Statistics smile on this sort of passive income because the number of bee keepers has consistently gone down in the last 70 years. And with the recent development of colony collapse disorder, the price of honey is at a premium. Health market niches are easy to find because “royal jelly” (harvested from the hive) is a treatment for the growing population of asthmatic patients here in the US.
So what things do you need to know before you start? Well, one of them is having a garden with many varieties of flowers. Bees are especially attracted to settings like this. And try to make your garden look wild by not isolating each type of plant into its own section; everything has to be mixed. Having weeds and dandelions also provides a good touch which will make your bees stay on your property. Most importantly, keep your garden pesticide free so your bees stay healthy.
There are outlets for inexperienced beekeepers that provide turnkey solutions for you to get started. For one price you can get the hives, smoker, suit, gloves etc. You can also do your research and buy each component piecemeal. A word of caution: never buy a used hive because there’s a probability it has parasites. Any local supply house can provide you with a new one which will probably be a langstroth hive. You most likely have seen this style before in the movies or on TV because it’s most popular. You will want to keep the hive supported by cinder blocks, over two feet above ground to protect it against pests.
After getting the hive, your next order of business is getting your bees. You can mail order them, buy them from a local beekeeper or catch them yourself. I like the last option because it kind of makes your new passive income stream feel like you’ve earned it. If you decide to do this you can buddy up with a local beekeeper who receives the city’s calls regarding bee swarms. Together you go to remove the bees as they congregate and vacuum them into a temporary holding bag. As long as you have gotten the queen bee too you are set. After a couple of months you will have noticed that your colony has gotten too big for its hive. Before this even happens you should already have ordered another hive to accommodate the growth. Waiting too long will force a portion of your colony to leave in order to swarm in another place. A missed opportunity to double your earning potential can really hurt.
Anyway you look at it, beekeeping is a winner for anyone with at least 2 acres of land. As long as you are vigilant about the condition of your bees, you can have a small cash cow even in troubled economic times.