Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz
Beekeepers keep bees to collect their honey. They may also keep bees to aid the pollination of crops or to produce bees that they sell to other beekeepers. Beekeepers typically use boxes and other structures to store beehives and raise the bees.
Bees remain an essential part of the ecosystem, helping to pollinate plants and flowers. A single hive can pollinate an entire mid-sized garden. The hive produces a variety of substances that are used in various industries. Along with honey, hives produce bee pollen, royal jelly, propolis, flower pollen, and beeswax.
Table of contents
Beekeepers or Apiarists are responsible for maintaining beehives to produce more bees. They use a variety of tools to inspect and maintain the hive and the health of the bees.
What they do
Harvest Honey from Beehives
One of the most common responsibilities of a Beekeeper is to harvest honey and other substances from beehives. Harvesting occurs throughout the warmer months, depending on the amount of nectar that the bees collect and store in the hive.
A healthy colony of bees should yield about 50 pounds of honey each year. During the winter, the bees need nectar for food. After spring arrives, the excess honey is typically extracted by hand.
Some Beekeepers use an extra hive box called a “honey super”. The honey super contains a pre-formed honeycomb. After the bees fill the honeycomb, the Beekeeper simply removes the honey super.
Check the Beehive for Damage
After extracting honey and other substances, Beekeepers do not have many tasks to perform. However, they must periodically inspect the beehive for signs of damage. Beekeepers also need to protect the colony from disease, parasites, and pests.
Some of the most common threats to bees are other animals including mites, moths, skunks, lice, and mice. These pests may attack the honeycombs and frames. Mice may even build their own nests inside the bee frames.
Feed Sugar Water to the Bees
Bees do not require a lot of care but they do need a food source. Beekeepers typically mix sugar and water and place it near the colony. The sugar water is often used in the fall to ensure that the bees have enough food to last through the winter.
Construct or Purchase Hive Boxes
Beehives and honeycombs are often kept in frames or boxes constructed from wood. Beekeepers may construct these boxes themselves or purchase them.
Many boxes include separate trays. The lowest tray typically holds the queen and the upper boxes hold the honey. However, there are many different beehive designs, including horizontal beehives.
Prepare and Package Products
After extracting honey and other materials from a beehive, the Beekeeper may be responsible for preparing and packaging. For example, before selling honey to a food manufacturer, the Beekeeper may need to clean the honey by straining it to remove dirt, wax, and parts of bees.
After straining the honey, the Beekeeper may heat it to remove bacteria. The honey is then stored in airtight containers before being shipped to the food manufacturer.
What is the job like
Beekeeping Is an Interesting Career
When people ask what you do for a living, they are likely to be fascinated by your answer.
You Will Likely Have Lots of Free Honey
Beekeepers often maintain their own hives, collecting about 50 pounds of honey per colony. You are likely to have lots of surplus honey for your personal use.
You Get to Help Protect Bee Populations
Bees are important to ecosystems as they help pollinate plants. As a Beekeeper, you get to help ensure that bee populations continue to exist.
Working with Bees Can Be Relaxing
Tending to bees can be a relaxing experience. Many Beekeepers find that their job is soothing and calming.
You May Get Stung
You may occasionally get stung by a bee when extracting honey or inspecting the hive.
You May Not Find Employment
There is a limited need for Beekeepers, forcing many Beekeepers to work for themselves.
Where they work
Most of the work completed by a beekeeper occurs outdoors where they tend to the beehives. Beekeepers often work for companies that produce honey-containing products, such as food manufacturers.
Beekeepers may also work for farms and plant nurseries. For example, a plant nursery may employ a Beekeeper to ensure that plants and flowers are properly pollinated. Some Beekeepers are self-employed and sell the products produced by the hive to various companies.
Should you become one
People with this personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. You can read more about these career personality types here.
Beekeepers are often introverts and should enjoy spending time alone. Beekeeping is often a solitary task with most working hours spent on your own. You should also have patience as tending to bees and extracting honey is a slow, careful process. You need to remove bee boxes while trying not to disturb the bees.
Beekeepers should also be able to deal with stress and remain calm in difficult situations. Becoming stressed when dealing with bees may increase your risk of getting stung.