The very word ‘honey’ is integrated into our vocabulary to such an extent that it serves as an extension of our emotional affection, a word that invokes pleasant imagery and sweet sensation.
For thousands of years, honey, as a byproduct of bee hives, served as an invigorating golden liquid that has many nutritional and medicinal properties: It contains flavonoids and antioxidants – critical components in the prevention of heart conditions and some forms of cancer.
Due to its antibacterial properties facilitated by the bee’s enzyme, it can help treat ulcers and bacterial gastroenteritis. It can even improve digestion and act as a probiotic due to presence of friendly bacteria like lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.
Because honey helps in the maintenance of glycogen levels, it is also known as athletic enhancer due to improved recovery time – more so than any other sweetener. In fact, although honey is known for its high sugar content, it is quite different from other sugars because it contains just the right combination of glucose and fructose, one that has a beneficial effect in regulating blood sugar levels.
Its antibacterial properties also make honey function as an effective treatment for healing wounds. Surprisingly, it is as effective as applying silver sulfadiazine. This can be attributed to both the content of simple sugars and antibacterial properties. ‘Propolis’ is one of the most popular products focused on this aspect of the bee’s honey.
The Real Reason for Starting Your Own Bee Farm
There are other fantastic honey properties, such as helping to reduce cough and throat irritation symptoms, but what is more important to note is that you rarely find all of these wonderful properties in mass produced, excessively heated, processed, and ‘refined’ honey that you can find in your grocery store.
In fact, it is quite a common practice among large honey manufacturers to add white sugar and other additives in order to increase the bulk of the honey, which of course serves to increase their profit margin.
This is why it is important to seek out local honey manufacturers, or even better yet – start producing your own honey, both for your own needs and as a regular source of income. It is safe to say that honey will never go out of style, so you can always be sure that people will be willing to pay for it.
Furthermore, keep in mind that bees not only produce honey but wax as well, which is used in a variety of cosmetic products and candles. You can even make your own lipbalm from beeswax!
And if you gain a reputation for offering genuine honey, you will be able to expand that income even further.
One of the best things about bee farming is that your job as a bee farmer is not that work/time intensive once you have properly set up everything. Indeed, it is less tasking than any livestock care.
After all, it’s the bees who will do all the work and take care of themselves in self-sufficient colonies which can have up to 100,000 bees. Your job will be to provide them with a safe environment, and achieve the right balance in harvesting their honey.
The possibility of your bee farming venture becoming successful will entirely depend on your physical location – both legally and climate-wise.
Many municipalities have strict laws when it comes to keeping bee hives; they may restrict the number of hives you may have or restrict beekeeping entirely, so make sure you are on a solid ground with your local laws before you even begin to entertain the idea, let alone before buying supplies. The impact on your neighbors will also have to come into careful consideration.
As for climate conditions, bees thrive in moderate environments – not too cold and not too hot.
Good rule of thumb is to position the hives so they are exposed to sunlight, but not too much so they don’t warm up too quickly. This can be devastating because during the cold months they can be deceived by the warm weather, thus flying out into the cold and dying. In short, avoid direct southwards orientation.
In addition to being careful about the orientation of the hives, they should be under some kind of shelter in order to shield them from wind (avoid hilltops) and heavy rain. However, be mindful to not create spaces that trap cold air for long periods of time.
Once your location is settled, ensure that bees have easy access to water and flowers for nectar harvesting.
Best Flowers for Bees
The amount of flowers available during the season will determine the output of your bee farm. They can be dandelions, asters, white clover, asters, honeysuckle, lantana, dandelions, maple trees, joe-pye weeds, citrus trees, common yarrow, horsemint sunflowers, blue giant hyssop, goldenrods, lavender, lilacs…along with dozens of others.
However, if there is a whiff of pesticides on these flowers you may end up with a completely wiped out colony.
Meticulously explore the surrounding area of your location until you are sure that no commercial pesticides are being applied. If you are lucky, a bee worker may die from the poison on the spot, but if you are not, he will bring that poison back to the hive and may even kill the queen bee, thus wiping out the entire hive.
As a starter business, bee farming is among the cheapest ones you could possibly engage in. Your equipment can be divided into three basic categories:
Hives – you can find a huge variety of pre-made bee hives on Amazon, which can vary in style and size, depending on your expected output.
Clothing – light, protective and durable. Full beekeeping suits with accessories are also very cheap and widely available on Amazon. Bees produce a lot of waste though, so expect it to be stained frequently.
Supplies – Smoker, which is used to calm the bees before you harvest the honey. A hive tool used for manipulating the hives, and an uncapping knife used to uncap the wax pouches which contain the honey itself. Finally, the honey centrifuge for extracting the honey in order to create its final form that can be consumed or put up for sale.
All of the equipment should not cost you more than $500, or much less given the opportunities in your local area.
And speaking of your local area, it would be prudent to check if there are other beekeepers around, as they can help you with valuable tips and even sell you some of their equipment.