One of the most unique substances on this planet is honey. It comes from one of the most unique creatures on this planet, the bee. Knowing how to start a beekeeping business means more than just finding a way to provide your household and local community with fresh honey. It’s a way to improve the overall health of your local environment.
This is because bees have an essential job every year. They help to pollinate the flowers that get turned into fruits and vegetables that we consume. Bees help plants be able to enter the reproductive cycle so that seeds can be created. If you’re thinking about beekeeping as an entrepreneurial venture, then here is the information that you’re going to need to know.
1. Get your paperwork in order.
Even if you’re living in a very rural location, there’s a good chance that your property is not properly zoned for beekeeping. You may need to get written permission from your local clerk or zoning official to be able to keep bees on your property. Some homeowners associations may also require explicit permission before the installation of bees on your private property.
Confirm all of the zoning and documentation issues that you may face. Get any paperwork that may be necessary to satisfy these issues put together and file them with the appropriate officials. Document all approvals for your beekeeping venture as well in case someone decides to change their mind later on down the road.
You may need local licensing, sales tax collection authorization, and other community specific permits for your beekeeping business. This is especially true if you plan on selling honey or other products that are produced by the bees over the course of a year.
2. Build up your base of knowledge.
The key to a successful beekeeping experience rests with your knowledge about overall hive health. When bees are properly cared for, then they can survive in a hive all year long. Most bees just need food and water throughout the colder months in order to be ready for Spring. This usually means living on stored honey and pollen until the weather turns warm. This is called the “dormant period.”Dormant periods in cold climates can last as long as 6 months. This means an entrepreneur who is focused on beekeeping will need to make sure their bees have the food and water they need while they live in a hive that has been reasonably protected from the elements.
3. Choose which business structure works for you.
Many beekeepers will chose to be a sole proprietor because their bees will be kept in a rural location. If you have a neighborhood with several close neighbors, however, an LLC is probably a better choice because it will protect your personal income and assets in case someone has a negative encounter with your bees. Certain jurisdictions may outline other specific statutes and regulations that you may be required to follow and some are business structure specific.
4. Secure the insurance that you’re going to need.
Commercial liability insurance is something you must have if you’re starting a beekeeping business. Those bees can travel pretty far and if someone who is allergic to bees would happen to be stung by one of your bees, then you could be held responsible for their personal outcome. A comprehensive insurance plan, with any specific riders that you may need to have for your preferred business model, must be in place before you attempt to establish a colony of bees on your property.
5. Be prepared.
Different regions have different challenges that beekeepers must face in order to maintain the health of their hive. There may be specific diseases that bees catch, pests that could affect the bees in a negative way, and even weather conditions that may affect the integrity of the hive. Speak with other beekeepers in your region to discuss these issues, find ways to keep your bee populations separate, and how successful bee-related products happen to be in your area.
6. Make sure you have beekeeping equipment on hand.
Beekeepers must wear protective equipment in order to protect themselves from the sting of bees. A light colored bee suit is essential because the lighter colors help to discourage bees from stinging. Face guards, smokers, and blowers can help to keep the hive under control when it is time to harvest the honey and other bee products as well.
Once you have all of your equipment, licenses, permits, and insurance in place, you’ll be ready to begin the installation of your hive for your new beekeeping business.
7. Obtain your bee colony.
Most regions have a beekeeping association that will help to put you into contact with local suppliers. If you don’t have an association or don’t want to deal with one right now, then there are some online suppliers who can offer you the chance to purchase a hive. The best online businesses have a few things in common with each other.
- They will offer overnight shipping of a hive so that insect losses during transit are minimized.
- They will offer at least one queen bee so that the hive can become self-sustainable over time.
- They will make sure that you have access to any additional supplies that you may have overlooked from the previous steps.
Local beekeepers may have excess bees that they’d like to pass along as well, which can help a new beekeeping business get started for a lower price. Select the best option for your area and then get your order placed.
You will get a lot of honey and a lot of beeswax from your hives. These can all be turned into amazing products that can help to enhance your revenues from this type of business. Make sure that you are regularly inspecting your hive, replace bees as necessary, and market your wares whenever you have some free time. In doing so, you may just find that knowing how to start a beekeeping business is a very profitable venture indeed.