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Small Farms Income – Keeping Bees

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Having bees around your vegetables and fruits will dramatically increase your yield. Bees, however, are not only vital pollinators. There are a variety of ways in which you could derive an income from raising bees.

Honey

Beehives produce honey which you can use in your own home as a sweetener and then you can sell any excess that you get. Selling farm fresh honey can be a great way to make money on a small farm.  Once you’ve established a healthy beehive, the bees will gather pollen and nectar from flowers and do their own thing for most of the year without much input. (They do need a bit of help to make sure that they survive over the winter in colder areas.)

Bees’ wax

When you harvest the honey, you will also get lots of beeswax, which you can use to make candles and soaps or sell to other people for these purposes.

Bee pollen, Propolis & Royal Jelly

Bee pollen, propolis and royal jelly are considered superfoods and are sold at a high price. They all ingredients derived from bees that contain a wide variety of essential compounds such as vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, and proteins. They are marketed for their medicinal properties. All three come from hives but they are produced and used in different ways by bees.

Bee pollen is the composition of different substances such as honey, flower pollen, wax, nectar, enzymes, and bee secretions. . Bee pollen is known as “Food of Life” because it contains eighteen different amino acids and essential vitamins. It also contains copper, calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorous, carbohydrates, fatty acids, and proteins. Foraging bees collect pollen from flowers and this substance, “bee pollen” collects on their bodies and is carried to the beehive, where it is put in storage to be used as food for the honeybee family or colony.  Bee pollen is said to improve athletic endurance. It is also used to treat a variety of conditions, including constipation, aging and wound healing.

Propolis is a resinous material manufactured by bees from buds of cone-bearing and poplar trees and is used by bees to construct their hives. It  is composed of around 50% resins, 30% waxes, 10% essential oils, 5% pollen, and 5% of various  other organic compounds.  Propolis is marketed as an anti-inflammatory and wound treatment with anti-tumor and anti-oxidant characteristics.

Royal Jelly is a jelly-like substance produced by honeybees. It is used to feed the queen bees. Royal jelly contains an internal membrane protein known as acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that enables the nervous system to transmit important messages from one nerve cell to another. Royal jelly is also considered capable of effecting lipid profiles and has neurological and estrogen effects. It is incorporated into dietary supplements to treat different chronic diseases and physical ailments.

Pollination services

Many farmers will rent beehives for the growing season to help pollinate their crops. (Fruits and vegetables pollinated by bees can have a 30 percent or higher value than those pollinated by wind or self-pollination.) You need to transport your hives to their new location for a few months and check on them periodically to make sure that they bees are happy and healthy. At the end of the season you can bring the hives back to your homestead and keep any honey that your bees have produced over the season.

Sale of bees

If a beehive gets too full, workers will start to raise a new queen. Eventually the hive will swarm and some of the bees will leave to start a new colony. To prevent this, beehives need to be split at least once per year. You can use this to expand your number of beehives. But past a certain point, it might not be practical to have any more bees on your homestead. And you can sell bees to other beginner beekeepers or as replacement stock to beekeepers who lost their colony to swarming or disease

If you’ve got eight beehives of your own and you split them off once per year, that’s eight beehives worth of new bees that you can sell off each year.

People will pay $100 for a small starter bee colony or $200+ for a fully-established hive. So you could be earning $1,000 per year from bees alone, even before the sale of honey and other products. (And all the time you will be benefitting from the bees’ pollination services.)

Removal of bees where they are not wanted

Once you have become expert at handling bees and have all the protective gear you might consider bee removals – moving swarms from where they are not wanted in attics, empty wall spaces, commercial buildings or hanging in trees. Bee removal is increasingly in demand, especially when the weather turns warm and wet. Most visits take an hour or two, and bee removers probably charge $100 to $150 per visit.

 

Note: dollar amounts mentioned are given at time of publishing and subject to change.

Please see the Earnings Disclaimer associated with these articles.

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