Beekeepers keep bees to produce honey, beeswax, pollen, royal jelly, propolis, bee glue, antiseptic, queen bees, and pollinate seed, fruit, nut, and vegetable crops. They keep beehives to help pollinate crops and harvest honey.
To be a certified beekeeper, you need a year’s worth of experience keeping bees and pass a written and practical exam as well. There are careers as self-employed beekeepers, hobbyists, in schools, institutions, and at the national level. There are specializations and certifications as well.
If you are interested in becoming one, and a professional one at that. This is the article for you.
What are the duties of a professional beekeeper?
Honeybees are raised and cared for by beekeepers for agricultural and commercial uses, including crop pollination and harvest. Professional beekeepers build and maintain hives, recruit and retain wild swarms, separate colonies, harvest honey, and monitor the hive’s general health. They are also known as apiarists and have the following duties:
1. Analyze the hive’s health
A beekeeper’s responsibilities include analyzing the hive’s health and checking for infestations. Observing and treating the hive whenever health issues emerge, keeping accurate records of the hive’s health, and administering medicine. They also keep track of the honey output.
2. Taking care of the colony
A beekeeper is also responsible for feeding bees and cleaning and constructing hives. They rear and replace queen bees and separate colonies as needed, not forgetting to replace combs. Some beekeepers may also have direct access to honey processing and bottling machinery allowing them to produce and package it.
3. Long working hours
During the summer, beekeepers must labor long hours and spend most of their time outside in inclement weather. Nights, weekends, and holidays may be necessary.
Beekeepers are also supposed to wear veils, gloves, suits, and other protective gear at all times when in close contact. They must also appropriately utilize bee smokers and other hive gear to securely approach the hive.
You need to have a love for beekeeping, the capacity to stay calm under pressure, and a desire to work outside to be successful as a beekeeper. Finally, a top-notch beekeeper keeps his hives healthy and creates high-quality honeybee goods.
Beekeeper education and training
Before setting out on their own, new beekeepers can receive vital experience by apprenticing with experienced beekeepers. Large-scale commercial bee farms may also provide general beekeeping lessons in the evenings or on weekends.
There are other beekeeping events held around the country. The North American Beekeeping Federation Conference & Tradeshow, hosted by the American Beekeeping Federation, is still one of the major educational events (ABF).
This famous national event happens every January, attracting over 600 beekeeping aficionados. The American Honey Fair, a trade show with a range of instructional seminars for beginners and experts is all part of the conference.
Most colleges offer short beekeeping courses for beginners and master programs for experts. Cornell University and the University of Florida both have similar programs. Cornell University provides apprentice, artisan, and master beekeeping workshops.
As part of its Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab, the University of Florida provides a two-day “Bee College” program and the Florida Master Beekeeper Program (MBP). The MBP has four levels, with Master Craftsman Beekeeper being the highest, with several internships available in the field of insects.
While an undergraduate degree in animal science or any biological subject is not necessary to work in this sector, many beekeepers do. It’s also possible to get a graduate degree related to beekeeping.
Beekeeping career options
There are several careers for beekeepers, such as the following:
Beekeepers can be part of smaller hobbyist operations or huge commercial production farms. You can specialize in honey production and harvesting, pollinating services for fruit and vegetable producers, or bee breeding.
Beekeepers also find work in certain primary schools or 4-H programs, in which students may learn about beekeeping. Additional educational options exist at the college level, with veterinary science departments and tertiary-level organizations offering jobs.
3. National Level
According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, the bee business is particularly significant in nations like Turkey, China, Argentina, and the United States (FAO). If a beekeeper desires to travel and work abroad, several international prospects have significant commercial operations.
Beekeeping job demand trends
Over the next decade, the number of beekeepers will likely increase as more backyard beekeepers enter the profession or expand their operations. While challenges such as Africanized bees, mites, and Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) must continue to be addressed, interest in beekeeping and byproducts like honey and wax should stay robust.
A beekeeper’s earnings might vary greatly depending on their experience, degree, and type of work, for example, a hobbyist or commercial producer. The average pay is $52,000-68,000 per year.
Part-time or hobbyist beekeepers can also generate money by caring for their hives on nights and weekends while still working in their respective fields.
A beekeeper who makes or sells honey and beeswax products might earn extra money. You can also get extra cash from selling replacement or starter bees to other beekeeping companies.
Generally, a beekeeper makes money from many different sources, and the total income depends on the number and level of earnings.
Professional organizations and societies for beekeepers
People worldwide attempt to provide a favorable habitat for bees and their farmers. The groups and initiatives below strive to protect bees, the ecology, and the global food supply and help our ecosystem.
1. Bees for Development, United Kingdom
Bees for Development is a non-profit organization that uses beekeeping to alleviate poverty and conserve biodiversity worldwide. They collaborate with local communities in over 50 countries to establish sustainable beekeeping practices that only employ local bees and resources.
They provide an open-access information site with information about bees and beekeeping worldwide. The World Bank, the United Nations, and other international agencies get information and counsel from Bees for Development.
2. The Bee Girl Organization, United States
Sarah “Bee Girl” Red-Laird formed the Bee Girl Organization to encourage communities to protect bees, flowers, and food. The Bee Girl team works with communities worldwide to provide regenerative beekeeping education and supplies.
Bee Girl teamed up with a local winery to launch the Bee Friendly Vineyards pilot program in 2019. They planted 1800 square feet of sunflowers on the vacant ground to attract bees to the region. They’re teaming up with another vineyard this year (2022) to start a comprehensive study and habitat initiative.
3. The Honeybee Conservancy, United States
The Honeybee Conservancy is devoted to safeguarding bees and ensuring food justice via education, research, habitat building, and activism. Sponsor-A-Hive, their flagship initiative, provides native bee houses in modern gardens, schools, and groups that raise vegetables to help local ecosystems thrive.
Last year, the Empire State Building debuted an eight-foot rooftop beehive to host over 70,000 honey bees. Its mission is to deploy one million bees in disadvantaged areas across the United States.
4. Federation of Nepal Beekeepers, Nepal
The Federation of Nepal Beekeepers was established in 1999 to support and empower local beekeepers throughout Nepal. This umbrella organization advocates for national policies that benefit beekeepers, bees, and livelihoods.
The organization also works to increase the capacity of beekeepers by training and educating farmers on the importance of bees in pollination and pasture management.
5. World Bee Project, England
The World Bee Project created the world’s first coordinated global honeybee hive monitoring initiative using cloud computing technology. This network will collect information that may be used to guide international attempts to enhance pollinator ecosystems, food production, and nutrition. The architects of this initiative intended to provide findings to small farmers worldwide.
6. Pollinator Partnership Canada, Canada
Pollinator Partnership Canada has been a pioneer in pollinator research and habitat development for over 20 years, and it conducts and supports various programs that aid pollinators.
Land managers, communities, and organizations provide a Pollinator Steward Certification program. Pollinator Partnership has successfully lobbied for Pollinator Week in Canada, which will be held from June 22 to 28, 2020, to increase awareness of pollinators.
Beekeeping is a great and satisfying hobby that may help you stay active and fit while improving pollination in your yard and community. It’s a popular hobby these days since it allows people to help local pollinator populations while also producing honey, beeswax, and other hive products. You are now well-informed and more daring with the information above. Good luck!