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Beekeeping for pleasure and profit is carried on by many thousands of people in all parts of the United States. As a rule, it is not the sole occupation. There are, however, many places where an experienced beekeeper can make a good living by devoting their entire time and attention to this line of work.
It is usually unwise to undertake extensive beekeeping without considerable previous experience on a small scale. There are so many minor details which go to make up success in the work. It is a good plan to begin on a small scale, make the bees pay for themselves, and for all additional apparatus. Then some profit, and gradually to increase as far as the local conditions or the desires of the individual permit.
Bee culture is the means of obtaining for human use a natural product which is abundant in almost all parts of the country, and which would be lost to us were it not for the honey bee. The annual production of honey and wax in the United States makes apiculture a profitable minor industry of the country. From its very nature, it can never become one of the leading agricultural pursuits. However, there is abundant opportunity for its growth. Not only is the honey bee valuable as a producer, but it is also one of the most beneficial insects in cross-pollinating the flowers of various economic plants.
Beekeeping is also extremely fascinating to the majority of people as a pastime. Furnishing outdoor exercise as well as intimacy with an insect whose activity has been a subject of absorbing study from the earliest times. It has the advantage of being a recreation that pays its own way and often produces no mean profit.
Not all Beekeeping For Pleasure is good
It is a mistake, however, to paint only the bright side of the picture and leave it to the new beekeeper to discover that there is often another side. Where any financial profit is derived, beekeeping requires hard work.
This work is needed at just the proper time, otherwise, the surplus of honey may be diminished or lost. Few lines of work require more study to ensure success.
In years when the available nectar is limited, surplus honey is secured only by judicious manipulations. It is only through considerable experience and often by expensive reverses that the beekeeper is able to manipulate properly to save his crop. Anyone can produce honey in seasons of plenty. However, these do not come every year in most locations. It takes a good beekeeper to make the most of poor years.
When, even with the best of manipulations, the crop is a failure through a lack of nectar. The bees must be fed to keep them from starvation.
Honey yield from Beekeeping For Pleasure
The average annual yield per colony, under good management, will be 25 to 30 pounds of comb honey or 40 to 50 pounds of extracted honey. The money obtained from the crop depends entirely on the market and the method of sale.
Sold direct to the consumer, extracted honey brings from 10 to 20 cents per pound, and comb honey from 15 to 25 cents. Sold to dealers, the price varies from 6 to 10 cents for extracted honey, and from 10 to 15 cents for comb honey.
All of these estimates depend largely on the quality and neatness of the product. From the gross return deducted from 50 cents to $1 per colony for expenses, other than labor. This including foundation, sections, occasional new frames and hives, and other incidentals.
This estimate of expense does not include the cost of new hives and other apparatus. Or anything else you will need for an increase in the size of the apiary.
It should be emphasized that the only way to make beekeeping profitable is to produce only a first-class article. You cannot control what the bees bring to the hive to any great extent. By proper manipulations, we can get them to produce fancy comb honey. Moreso extracted honey can be carefully cared for and neatly packed to appeal to the fancy trade.
Too many beekeepers, in fact, the majority, pay too little attention to making their goods attractive. You should recognize that of two jars of honey; One in an ordinary fruit jar or tin can with a poorly printed label. Or the other in a neat glass jar of artistic design with a pleasing, attractive label. It will be the latter that brings double or more the extra cost of the better package. You should account for this if you wish to make even a small profit.
It is perhaps unfortunate, but nevertheless a fact, that honey sells largely on appearance. A progressive beekeeper will appeal as strongly as possible to the eye of his customer. If you are planning on developing this as a potential income stream. You must spend time on the development of the visual appeal of your product. Therefore, the type of jar and label design must be high on your considerations once you have your first hive up and running.
Our article on What You Should Think About When Moving To The Countryside looked at income as one of the things to think about. Beekeeping offers a potential income source, potential food source, and benefits the environment. This makes it a great choice for rural living.
Helpful Beekeeping Books From Amazon
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