Two beekeepers tending to hives next to a field of rapeseed.

Beekeeping is fun and rewarding, but when you’re starting out it can be information overload. That’s why we’ve created this guide to getting started in beekeeping. Whether you’re interested in learning more about bees or want to become a beekeeper, this is a top-notch place to start.

What are the advantages of beekeeping?

Most people get into keeping bees because it is fascinating. Getting a front row seat to watch bees at work beats any smartphone app or Netflix series. You’ll discover how bees make honey and get to puzzle over how those small wings allow them to fly. Do bees sleep? How does a bee’s anatomy work? Bee Professor gives you practical answers to everything honey bee-related.

Beekeeping isn’t just about observing and learning though. There are many benefits and these are a few of our favorites:

  • Encourage pollination: Honey bees play a huge role in helping crops around the world get pollinated. The FDA estimates that honey bee pollination in the United States alone adds $15 billion to the value of crops.
  • Produce honey: Harvesting jars of honey is a great feeling and it’s far superior to most supermarket brands. Of course, there is also bonuses like beeswax and propolis that you get from beekeeping.
  • Gain calm: Many beekeepers agree that the gently hum of a beehive is calming and has a meditational feel to it.
  • Make money: Not everyone invests in beehives to make money, but it’s definitely an option if you’re looking for a side hustle. Check out the costs associated with starting beekeeping here.
  • Help the bees: Since 2006, the honey bee population has experienced a dramatic decline. By creating a sanctuary for bees you’re helping their cause. You could also plant flowers for bonus points.

What do I need to get started in bee keeping?    

Like most hobbies, there are some inevitable costs involved in keeping bees. You’ll need to invest the basic equipment like a beekeeping suit, boots, gloves, and a smoker. You’ll also need a hive, which can vary significantly in size, shape, and price. Finally, bees are needed. You can buy them or try your luck at attracting a swarm if you’re in the right season for it.

Your initial investment in bee keeping won’t be too hard on the wallet, compared to some other pastimes. As a rough guide, you can get everything needed to get started in beekeeping for around $600. That includes a hive, protective clothing, and the bees. These costs could be reduced further if you’re handy with tools and can make your own hive. You can also check out our guide to attracting a bee swarm to save on the cost of bees. Although this is not always recommended for a newcomer to bee keeping.

Should I become a bee keeper?

It’s worth taking some time to decide if beekeeping is right for you before jumping in. We strongly advise keeping bees if you’re just after honey. It’d be cheaper and much easier to visit a local farmer’s market to get some there.

It’s not easy to make a living off bee keeping and it certainly won’t happen in the first year. If you’re just after a money-making idea, there are easier ways to do it. Sure, you can make some cash on the side, but don’t expect any kind of get rich quick opportunity.

  • If you have bee allergies then you’re taking some serious health risks and other hobbies would be better.
  • Consider the space available where you live; urban homes are much more restricted than someone living on the farm. Keep in mind, you can approach nearby farmers who are often open to beekeepers using their land for an apiary.
  • You’ll need to have time to look after your bees. About half an hour each week is what you’ll need to set aside. You’ll be more active in the warmer months.