Last Updated on November 11, 2021 by Cristina
If the raised awareness of bee endangerment made you feel like beekeeping is your new calling, you probably wonder how much do bees cost. The beekeeper community is filled with enthusiasts just like you, willing to learn more about this majestic insect. With the population of bees declining by 60% in the last 60 years, a helping hand that will take great care is always encouraged. Plus, who would say no to homemade honey?
What You Need To Know About Keeping Bees
Before you jump on the idea, make sure to understand what you’re committing to. Beekeeping is a demanding hobby that will take a lot of your free time. Learning about beekeeping before buying the bees will save you time and money in the long run.
Why Do You Want To Try Beekeeping?
There are three reasons you’d want to start beekeeping: use them as pollinators, produce honey, or help preserve the bee population.
Each reason requires a different approach, so once you’ve decided on your ‘why,’ it’s easier to pick the best practice.
Where Are You Going To Keep The Bees?
Your spot needs to suit the bees’ needs, be easily approachable for you, and be away from the public. Look for a quiet spot with low foot traffic, no barking dogs, music, or children. Put the hives away from your neighbor’s yard and direct traffic.
If you live in the city, you can also place them on your roof. Beware that the boxes get really heavy when they’re full of honey. Getting them down will be laborsome. Leave enough space around the hives so you can approach one and work without bumping into the other.
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What’s The Law On Backyard Beekeeping
In the US, it’s legal to keep bees in almost all cities. However, you need to check your local laws and HOA for any updates before getting the bees. Abiding by the law and restriction is essential; you don’t want to rehome your bees a week after you’ve got them.
Bees Won’t Cost You Time
Beekeeping is not a high-maintenance hobby. On the contrary, beekeeping is will take up merely two hours a week. Take a look at your schedule before getting your bees. Consider that you’ll need to suit up, fix and replace things. When honey extraction time comes, this time will be double or even triple!
Picking Suitable Equipment
The best beekeeping equipment is the one that suits your needs. What works for you might not work for other beekeepers and vice versa. Professional beekeepers love the big boxes, but a tiny new beekeeper might find them overwhelming. Grand boxes can be cumbersome to handle and heavy when full. Smaller boxes work just as well and are more beginner-friendly.
You probably didn’t see this problem coming. Bees can produce so much honey that you’d need to find placement ahead. You can only give so much to family and friends. Maybe you can make something else with it or sell it at a farmers’ market? Explore all your options! And don’t forget the beeswax – you can try your talent in candle making!
The Health Cost Of Bees
Before getting honey bees, an essential thing to do is to check if you’re allergic to their sting. It’s rare, but you’ll need to make sure, especially if you’ve never been stung by a bee. If you aren’t allergic, learn how to handle the stings. They’re harmless but painful. Once you get the hand of properly handling the bees, stings will be less frequent.
How Much Do Beehives Cost
Beekeeping requires an initial investment of approximately $500 to $600. The cost includes wooden frames and foundation, protective clothing for the beekeeper, smoker, hive tool, and bees. You’ll also need a honey extractor later on.
The cost of a single worker honeybee is around $0.70. Queen bees are more expensive, ranging from $27 to $170, depending on the kind. A package of new bees will cost you anywhere from $125 to $165. A package is a screened box with a queen bee and around 3 pounds of worker bees. A single pound can have 3,000 to 5,000 bees!
You can buy bees online or in person, but make sure to double-check the source. They’re also selling out pretty fast, so you might want to reserve a package.
Beekeeping: Hobby or Full-Time Job?
Backyard beekeeping is a hobby that can bring you a small side income. It’s not as demanding and doesn’t require a huge upfront investment or putting in hours every day. If you’re looking to make it a full-time job, you’ll need more hives and probably another location to place them.
Bees Cost vs. Return
A single beehive can produce 20 to 60lb of honey per year. But there are also a handful of other products bees help make that you can sell. So if you’re looking for financial validation, we can for sure say that you’ll get your investment back in about a year. Here’s everything you can sell:
- Raw Honey – Industrial honey is often heated, leading to a lack of enzymes. Raw honey has added health benefits and a unique taste.
- Propolis – This is the hive’s disinfectant. It’s a secretion from trees and plants that bees do an excellent job collecting. It has immune-boosting properties and wide medicinal use.
- Pollen – The bees’ primary source of protein is a human supplement too. To gather some, you’ll need pollen traps at the hive’s entrance. Place them only for a few hours and remove them. Please don’t take all of their pollen!
- Beeswax – Although you get minimal quantities from a single hive, beeswax is in high demand. It’s used in the cosmetic industry, in candle making, and so much more.
So, How Much Do Bees Cost?
Depending on the kind, bees cost anywhere from $125 to $165. Before buying, you’ll have to consider your location and ability to provide proper care. It’s not a time-consuming hobby, but and it’s gratifying.
Backyard beekeeping is legal, but you still need to consider the comfort of your neighbors and family.
Have you thought about backyard beekeeping? How do you find the initial investment?
Mary is a passionate gardener who loves spending her days getting her hands dirty and nurturing her plants. She‘s an avid reader of gardening magazines and is always looking for new ways to make her garden thrive. When not outside tending to her plants, Mary can be found inside reading up on the latest gardening trends, comparing notes with fellow gardeners, and finding the perfect pottery planter for her next planting project.