Social Engagement: Medium
What’s What: The world is hard on bees and the population is dwindling. Some 40% of colonies are dying each year due to colony collapse disorder. Beekeeping is a great way to help boost the bee population and is a cool hobby that can even become a side hustle for selling honey and beeswax.
Amava Take: Bees and a select few other insects pollinate over 80% of the crops grown for human consumption, livestock feed, cotton and more. Bees also make an invaluable contribution to ecosystems around the world. As a beekeeper, you get to harvest the honey and other products made by the bees in the summer. In return, you keep the bees safe through the winter by providing them with room and board.
From the Front Lines:
What kinds of candidates are you looking for to fill these positions?
You should enjoy being outside and definitely not be afraid of bees and insects. You should also be able to safely lift about 20 pounds.
Any tips for first-timers to make it a productive and fulfilling experience?
Join a local beekeeping club and find a mentor before committing to buying equipment. Each colony costs about $200 to maintain and start-up costs can run $500.
What’s a typical daily schedule like?
The work is oriented around the bees’ year and is a constant cycle. Beekeeping is a time-consuming activity, especially in spring and summer.
From the Trenches:
What’s the most satisfying part of the job/experience?
Honey straight from the hive tastes amazing and I love that I’m helping the bee population and our food supply.
How would you describe the hard parts?
Getting past the fear of getting stung and forming a relationship with the bees.
What surprised you the most about the experience?
It’s a very zen experience. I consider myself a steward of the pollinators and I’ve come to respect their nature and habits.
Special Requirements: Before starting a backyard bee colony, you have to check your town, county and state’s ordinances. There is equipment you will need and if you are new to this, it’s worth seeing if there is a local beekeeper’s organization offering introductory classes and mentors. You also should make sure you’re not allergic to bee stings and have the time to tend to the hives all year around.
Finding a Position: The American Beekeeping Federation has information, workshops and conferences. You can also search the Bee Culture for information about local beekeepers and possible volunteer or intern opportunities so you can test the waters first. The American Bee Journal lists state beekeeping associations where you can get state-specific information. Keeping Backyard Bees goes over the details regarding equipment costs, the nuances of getting started and how to be a success.