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How Much Do Beekeepers Make Yearly? (Profit Margin Per Hive)

Do you want to know how much money beekeeping businesses make yearly? If YES, here is an analysis of the income & profit margin for beekeepers per hive.

Beekeeping is a common homesteading practice for people who are looking to grow their income without using a lot of land. Bees do not require a ton of property or equipment to maintain, and they produce a valuable commodity that sells well worldwide, which makes urban beekeeping an actual possibility for many people with little or no experience.

Beekeepers are simply agricultural workers that breed bees for their honey. Between commercial honey operations, pollination programs for environmental support, bee research programs, and hobbyist beekeepers, beekeeping seems to be a booming industry.

Duties of a Beekeeper

The primary duties of beekeepers are to monitor hive health, feed bees, and collect honey. Some beekeepers also build or assemble beehives, use bee smokers to manage bee movements, inspect hives for damage or insects, cultivate bees to grow colonies and queens for sale, and prepare or package honey and other products for sale. This work sometimes includes wintering the bees depending on the apiary’s location and weather conditions.

People who keep bees as a hobby may harvest honey for personal use. Nonetheless, they may find that they have more bee honey than they can eat or use, depending on how many colonies they maintain. They can simply market or sell them to generate extra side income.

How Much It Cost to Start a Beekeeping Business

The startup cost of becoming a beekeeper will vary depending on where you live, how many colonies you want, and what type of hives you build.

Remember that when your bees arrive, they will need a new hive to call home. However, you can choose to buy raw materials and build your own hives or purchase pre – fabricated ones. A single hive with ten frames starts at around $70 while more elaborate hives can cost upwards of $250.

Also depending on how many bee colonies you want to start with, you may need multiple hives, meaning a higher startup cost.

You may also need to build or purchase beehive stands. These stands lift beehives off the ground and help protect your bees from predators and weather conditions. Note that raw materials may be cheaper than prefabricated hives and stands, but you should also consider the cost of your time.

Aside from sourcing building plans, prepping and cutting materials, and assembling the units, it may be worth the investment to buy ready-made hives in the end.

Estimated Profit Potential of Beekeepers and Their Profit Margin Per Hive

Indeed there are many ways to generate revenue in the beekeeping business, but it is advisable to begin with at least a ten-frame hive to be able to have a fighting chance. Although you can start with five frames, however they are smaller and won’t produce as much.

Packaged bees are also a choice, but they are fewer, and the fewer bees you have, the smaller the profits. Nonetheless, if you decide to start with 10 frame hives, with proper management, your hives can produce about 10 gallons of honey, per hive.

That translates to 100 gallons total, in the first year. Coupled with honey, you will also generate extra income from beeswax, pollen, and propolis if you can sell them right from your first year.

Have it in mind that some years are better than others, but if you have a good winter, you can make 10 splits, and that also means you will double your hives for the second year. Following the same rate of production, you will have 200 gallons in the second year, if things go hitch free.

In the United States, you can sell one quart of honey for $20 if it is a quality and natural one. With that, each gallon of honey will be worth around $80. Howbeit, the honey needs to be organic, unprocessed honey for it to value that much. It should be gathered from wildflowers.

It simply means that you can get $800 from each colony or hive. So for 10 hives, you will get $8,000 per year. At those rates, a beekeeper would need over 200 hives to equal a $30,000 per year salary.

But it is important to note that the above figures are too optimistic in the beekeeping business. Only excellent beekeepers can get these numbers constantly, or if they’re lucky they can get even better money. That is why you need to put so much effort into acquiring knowledge and ensuring you are up to date with everything needed by the bees.

Also note that you can be a beekeeper without owning the bees. In the United States, there are large apiaries that need the help of workers and this is where a person with some experience in caring for bees can become in demand. Note that if you have no experience, you will usually start on minimum wage. When you already have a season of working under your belt, the salary can rise to $37,000.

According to reports, beekeepers that have been employed for 4 or 5 years earn between $40,000 and $55,000. If you are good enough you can be promoted to a managing position and you will have more responsibilities and a salary that is between $65,000 and $95,000.


Depending on how much time and money you can invest in your beekeeping operation up – front, there is a huge opportunity to make a living from beekeeping alone. Nonetheless, producing enough honey to create a full – time income might prove unattainable.

With a good number of hives, around hundred or more, a beekeeper can expect to spend hours tending to the bees and harvesting honey, along with processing and bottling it for sale. But all in all, beekeeping attracts many homesteaders and naturalists who enjoy working with animals to produce something edible and valuable.