Well most of you may remember honey bee only because once in your lifetime it may have bite you. But you may be surprised to know that a honey bee may prove to be quite profitable for you. Honey bee as the word says produces honey. It does it by collecting honey from flower nectars and accumulating it on its nest known as the beehive. These beehives when they grow mature are collected to accumulate honey and later after purification and processing it is manufactured and sold at a very high price.
Nearly every one of us would have definitely seen a beehive and would also feared from it. Bees live in groups and if a swarm of bees attack you then it may be quite dangerous for you. But the same beehives can give great returns. In this article I will share information on how to start profitable honey bee farm.
Honey Bee Farming
Many of the farmers in the village area collect honey from beehives and then they sell it in the market. Many of them do it by searching beehives but now this method of farming has been professionalized. There are many new entrants who are doing beehive farming in a more professional way. Here’s an introduction of beehive farming.
Things to Consider for a Honey Bee Farming Business
You need to consider few very important points before you proceed for the beehive farming. Once you proceed you need to be abiding by it and should take a lot of care. Apart from investment what is more important is the time frame that you need to give for a beehive to mature. This all required a preplanning so that you don’t get lost in the middle. Here are some points that you must look.
- Investment of capital in the beehive farming business
- Investment of time
- A decent place where you can farm
- Availability of resources like a beehive, water, structure, food, favorable conditions
- Proper equipment like smoker, beehive extractor, safety material, medication, dress and many more
- Honey extraction room or center where you can extract the honey
- A proper guide how to do the farming and types of honey, their uses, nutrition and benefits.
If anything goes wrong then you may feel the heat. Bees are dangerous as they may bite others who are living around you. So you need to ensure that everything works fine.
Honey Bee Farming Business Plan
The first step you need to take is to take a written legal permission from your nearby municipal corporation or any such authority for beehive farming. The second step should be to register yourself as a beehive farmer. This may benefit you because they may provide you guidance, assistance and help. Now if these problems are solved you can focus on the main plan. As stated above you need to focus on the points. Here it is.
Availability of Resources and Equipment:
What all do you need to do beehive farming? You need a decent place, you need to have a warm place where you can keep your hive. You need a beehive. Now beehives come of different types. Here are few of them mentioned.
- Langstroth Hives
- Commercial Hives
- Traditional hives
- WBC hives
- CDB hives
- Dartington long deep hives
- Long box hives
- Top bar hives
- Warre Hives
- Perone Hives
- Flow hives and many more
After the type of beehive is chosen you may go for other resources and equipment. What you require more are beginner’s kit, Apiary armor, bees, smoker, smoker fuel, food for bees, medication, hive tools, etc.
A Decent Place of Farming:
You require a decent place for keeping your beehives. It can be your garden, rooftop or a special designated place. Make sure you keep it away from your home to avoid any kind of disturbance caused by the bees.
Before you decide the investment you need to look what you require. Covering the above requirements, you need an investment of at least $300. Though the resources and equipment have different prices so it may vary. In India, a beehive cage will cost not more than Rs 1000-3000. You need to buy bees that may cost you around Rs 1000. A beginner’s kit will cost around Rs 300, apiary armor that consist of protective dress, helmet, gloves and shoes will cost not more than Rs 5000. Apart from this, smoker and smoker fuel will cost around Rs 500 maximum.
Food for bees depends whether you opt for some professional food or feed them normal nectars which can’t cost more that Rs 1500. Medication may cost you Rs 1000 while hive tools will cost you around Rs 5000 maximum.
So the total cost of investment will come around Rs 15000-20000 in India and it may vary on global standards.
Honey Extraction Room:
It is up to your choice whether you want to extract honey by yourself or you go to a honey extraction center and carry out your extraction. For nascent honey farmers it would be advisable to visit extraction centers as it will cost you less and will also help you in learning all the process. Later when you have good number of beehives and honey production then you can make a honey extraction room where you can install an extraction machine. You can learn the procedure from someone already doing it or you may follow the guide.
All the above mentioned points to constitute a bee farming plan.
How to Carry out Honey Bee Farming?
First decide a place where you will keep your hives. Take all needed permission so that you don’t land up in trouble. Maintain all required cautions if necessary. Now chose the hive you fee would be best for extraction. There are two types. One is where you can routinely extract honey while the other is where you have to extract annually or at the end of summer season.
Best Time for Bee Keeping: The best time for bee keeping is the spring season. Make the new home for them. Feed them food till they get familiar. Take care of them by ensuring that they get proper sun yet not much heating. Water should be kept near them. If possible, get a garden full of flowers so that your bees don’t have to work extra hard to extract honey.
Buy the Best Bees: Choose the best variety of bees. Ensure that the swarm of bees have the queen bee in it.
Seasons: The best season for harvesting is summer end. Therefore you should install the beehives in spring, can learn about the bee keeping in the winter time. Autumn can be dedicated for cleaning and reinstalling the hives.
Extraction: Extraction requires a proper procedure which you may learn from the guide. You need to cover yourself wearing the armor. You require the toolkit for extraction, a storage for storing the harvested honey.
Obtaining Honey from the Extracted Hives: You can do it by yourself or you can visit the nearest center. You need to put the honey hive in the harvesting machine. The machine revolves in a centrifugal force where the hive is rotated in a high speed thus separating honey from hives. You can heat the hives so that the honey leaves the hives at ease.
Later you can put the remaining hives at the place so that the bees can claim it or you can discard it.
Later Stages involving Production, Manufacturing and Sale:
Once the harvesting process is done. Refine the honey so that it gets clean from any kind of wax, greasy contents, comb leftovers and other such residue. Filter the honey and add the required preservatives if needed. Either you can sell them directly as raw honey in the market to other traders and company or you can manufacture them on your own.
Production of honey requires refining, filling it in a jar of different size, labeling it and branding the honey. After it is done you can sell it in local markets. For this you need to create network. Try to brand the honey as chemical free and original raw honey as people want original raw honey rather than some branded honey as they are easily available. The trend has shown that raw and original products from local farms are in demand rather than branded products.
Return on Investment:
The initial stage of honey bee farming isn’t profitable given the investment and time it requires. You will require at least a year to get the first production of honey that may give you profit. If you have only one colony or one hive then it is less profitable. One hive produces 50-60 Lb. of honey and each Lb. of honey is sold at $5-10. Therefore on year basis your return will be not more than $400-500. From second year your profit will grow given you increase the colonies and hives.
Within 2-3 years, you can earn a good sum live $2000-5000 every year and more. If you start manufacturing and branding honey on your own then the market price of the honey will be quite high thus increasing your profits.
At last, honey bee farming is a time taking process that required hard work and patience apart from investment. If things go fine then within few years you can earn 1000s of dollars a year. It would be advisable to manufacture your own honey within few years so that you can get the best price for your honey.