Beekeeping Costs: 19 Things to Know (For Beginners)

Beekeeping is a rewarding hobby that can also be profitable. The cost of beekeeping varies depending on the type of hive you choose, where you live and how many bees are in your colony. If you’re just getting started with beekeeping, here are some things to know about what it costs to keep honeybees.

How Much Does it Cost to Keep Bees?

After you’ve got the equipment, you’re probably looking at around $125-175 seasonally for maintenance. You might end up considering this a per-hive cost, though the costs will start to drop dramatically once you have everything up and running.

How Much Money Can You Make Keeping Bees?

Some beekeepers rent out their bees for $50-75 a week per hive for pollination. Honey itself usually constitutes the biggest part of any keeper’s income.

Those who sell gourmet honey can make around $6 a pound. If you had 2,500 lbs. of honey at the end of the season you could sell that for around $15,000 assuming you could get that high of a markup for it.

How Much Do Bees Cost?

Some hive kits cost around $275, and they come with a colony of bees ready to occupy said area. Higher-end honeybees that are specifically bred for use in general purpose hives can cost up to $500 depending on their lineage.

How Much Does a Beehive Cost?

A good solid wooden artificial beehive will cost around $100-150, though those who are experienced with carpentry can make their own. Traditional skeps will also cost less, but should only be used by experienced beekeepers if at all.

These are now unlawful in most US states.

How Much is a Queen Bee Worth?

A majority of commercial beekeepers will get more than one queen and run multiple hives, so they save at least some money by buying batches. One queen bee can cost around $70, though the price might be closer to $100 for better quality bees.

Those who buy in bulk might be looking at prices around the following:

  • 10 queens: $39 per insect
  • 26 queens: $37 per insect
  • 53 queens: $34 per insect
  • 99 queens: $32 per insect
  • ≥100 queens: $29 per insect

Is Bee Keeping Profitable?

While beekeeping can be profitable, it’s largely because of the ancillary products that come with honey. Beeswax for candle and cosmetics makers can be sold at a premium, as can honey sticks and sugar.

Many local beekeepers have to aggressively market these products in order to have a good balance sheet at the end of the year.

How Much Money Can a Bee Hive Produce Per Year?

Each hive can produce 80 lbs. of honey in a northern area or possibly 200 lbs. in a southern one. That would be worth around $240-600 if you sold the honey at $3 per pound.

Technically, hives may produce much more than this, but removing too much honey can eventually cause a colony to completely collapse.

How Much Do Bee Farmers Make a Year?

Most bee farmers actually just about break even, but there are some with around 100 or so hives that will clear around $24,000 from their beekeeping activities. This is assuming that each of these 100 hives produces around 80 lbs. of honey in excess of what the bees need.

How Many Beehives Do You Need to Make a Living in the US?

Around 50-100 beehives are a good estimate for somewhat commercial beekeeping operations in the US. Individuals in warmer humid states might receive more honey per colony because they’ll have a longer season.

How Many Beehives Do You Need to Make a Living in the UK?

Commercial beekeepers that hire assistants manage on average 500-800 hives in order to stay profitable in the UK. However, according to the Bee Farmer’s Association, around 98 percent of beekeepers living in the UK are hobbyists who keep only 3-5 hives.

What Are the Expenses Involved in Producing and Selling Honey?

Equipment, bees and potentially flowers are needed to produce honey. You’ll need jars and a way to get your honey to and from markets in order to sell it.

How Much Does a Single Bee Cost?

Apiculture farmers seldom allow the sale of a single bee unless it happens to be a queen. In that case, you could be paying up to $70 for it.

How Much Do Farmers Pay for Bee Pollination?

A week of pollination can cost as little as $30, though some services rent out their hives at around $100 a week. The costs will depend on the amount of land that has to be covered as well as the types of crops that are being pollinated.

How Much Is a Pound of Honey Worth?

A pound of honey might sell for anywhere from $2-5, but some gourmet producers will actually sell theirs for much more.

How Much Do Almond Growers Pay for Beehives?

Assuming that they only want to rent the hives for pollination, they’ll usually pay around $350-400 for a month’s worth of usage. They might pay twice this in order to get more hives.

How Do I Get Into the Bee Business?

First, you’ll want to think about potentially starting out as a hobbyist so you can get some experience before trying these steps:

  1. Find out if there are any other hives in your area so you don’t over-saturate them
  2. Clear out debris from your beekeeping area
  3. Apply for any professional licenses required in your locale
  4. Invest in heavy duty bee boxes that aren’t too tall for you
  5. Clean and scrape the insides of them
  6. Figure out how many hives your plot of land can support
  7. Ensure that the hive area has ample supplies of water for the bees
  8. Do some landscaping to make your beekeeping area conducive to honey production
  9. Acquire gentle bees and a gentle queen for your hives
  10. Submit to any required inspections
  11. Gather all of the beekeeping equipment you might need
  12. Begin harvesting honey only when you’re sure that your bees have enough to survive
  13. Clean any honey you collect
  14. Jar the honey according to the rules of your local jurisdiction
  15. Market yourself both online and at local farmers’ markets

Why Is Honeycomb So Expensive?

Honeycomb is often marketed as a natural product that’s different from store-bought beekeeping goods. Local farmers produce it in terms of smaller scale than commercial operations, further adding to the cost.

How Much Can You Sell Homemade Honey For?

One pound jars of homemade honey usually sell for around $3-6, but some consumers might be willing to pay upwards of $14 if they feel that your honey exceeds the quality of commercial products.

Is it Legal to Sell Honey?

Independent growers may have to adhere to basic USDA guidelines in the United States, and some local jurisdictions require safety inspections when selling honey. While it’s otherwise legal to sell honey, you’ll need to adhere to these rules when doing so.