067 How to Become a Beekeeper and Sell Honey?

Here is a really nice activity that will allow you to earn money while working in the open air, but especially while contributing to the protection of nature. But be careful. Because becoming a beekeeper is not something you can improvise, there are things you must know and learn before you start. This is what we will see, as well as other important points, in this article.

What is a beekeeper?

You’ve probably already seen them in real life or on TV—those funny people who walk around in astronaut’s clothes with a coffee pot in their hands from which white smoke is escaping out (the bee smoker). More seriously, the beekeeper is a person who raises honey bees, either professionally or as an amateur. The main goal here is to collect honey, but the breeding of bees allows to collect other derived and very useful products like:

  • Wax: a substance secreted by the wax glands of the bees, located on their abdomen, which they use to build the cells of the hives. For us, this wax is used to create cosmetic products that protect the skin, to make candles and soaps, and is also used to polish wooden furniture, lubricate musical instruments, and waterproof fabrics.
  • Royal jelly: a milky substance that bees produce with their “pharyngeal” glands, which is used to feed the larvae and the queen bee. We use it as a dietary supplement because it is rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants, which help us to improve our energy, strengthen the immune system, stimulate memory, and fight against the signs of aging. Royal jelly is also used in cosmetics (for its moisturizing and nourishing properties) and in hair treatments (to strengthen and nourish the hair).
  • Pollen: a fine powder collected by bees on the stamens of flowers and which, when mixed with honey and saliva, forms a substance called “bee bread” used to feed the larvae. For us, pollen is rich in carbohydrates and proteins and is used mainly as a food supplement (note, however, that some people may be allergic to bee pollen).
  • Propolis: a mixture of resins harvested from trees, wax, and salivary secretions that bees use to repair and sanitize the hive. Propolis is notably used in pharmacology for the manufacture of antibiotics and antifungals.

But the work of beekeepers does not only consist in harvesting honey and other products derived from the hive. They are also responsible for managing bee colonies, including building and maintaining hives, feeding the bees during winter and other times when their food is scarce, and treating bee diseases. They must also be aware of environmental conditions and monitor fluctuations in bee populations to ensure the health and productivity of colonies.

Being a beekeeper is a very exciting and rewarding activity because by keeping bees, they play an indirect but important role in the pollination of crops. Nearly 90% of flowering plants depend, at least in part, on pollination by bees (and other insects), and it is therefore thanks to them that we can consume certain fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, oranges, cherries, lemons, strawberries, apples, carrots, onions, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, and even coffee. Their role is therefore both useful for the environment and for food production.

A beekeeper uses a smoker on a beehive The bee-smoker produces smoke that disturbs the bees’ senses and encourages them to feed on honey, making them less aggressive. This allows beekeepers to work on the hive safely and reduce the risk of stings.

What are the requirements to become a beekeeper?

First of all, you must not be afraid of insects, and bees in particular. They are in fact very sociable and docile creatures (well, not like a dog or a cow anyway), which only sting when they feel threatened or when their hive is disturbed. You could let them run on your hand or arm and watch them clean their bodies with their tiny front legs, without any danger (well, only if you know the difference between a bee, a wasp, and a hornet! 😬). Get to know them and you will be both fascinated and amazed.

This is actually another requirement for doing this activity. Because if you are indifferent to bees, deeply bored with nature, and just looking for a way to “make a quick buck”, I recommend you to abandon this idea and look for another one. And in case you missed it, that’s exactly what Sweekr is for, so feel free to start a new search for money here.

So, in summary, to be a beekeeper you must not be afraid of bees and love nature, but that’s not all. Because as I said in the introduction, beekeeping cannot be improvised. You will need to start by taking a training course to learn the basics of this activity, such as bee biology, learning how to care for them, managing the hive, honey harvesting techniques and safety practices.

Depending on where you live, you may also need to apply for a beekeeper’s license or meet certain local beekeeping regulations. So if you’re tempted to try this, you should start by reading up on this, in addition to training (I’ll come back to this later).

You should also be rather resourceful and handy, and be able, for example, not to make a beehive (you can buy them in stores) but rather to repair it. Note that this is more of an advantage than a requirement, and that it can be learned.

As for equipment, you will need to get the necessary gear to work safely, such as protective clothing, gloves, a smoker (the famous “coffee pot”), maintenance tools for the hive and a honey extractor. You will see all this up close during your training, so I will not go into detail on this particular subject.

Beware of allergies: Some people are allergic to pollen, but others are allergic to bee stings as well. When they are stung by a bee, they can trigger a reaction called “anaphylactic shock” more or less serious (redness, swelling of the skin, malaise…), and this, whatever the dose of venom injected. If you have this type of allergy, or if there is a family history, it is wiser to avoid working with bees.

Do I need a permit or training?

The legal requirements to become a beekeeper vary by country, but note that you may need to apply for a specific permit, register with local authorities, or complete a state-approved training program. Here, I will provide a summary of the main requirements for the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, and India, but feel free to inquire if you reside in a country other than those I just mentioned.

  • USA: there is no federal law that regulates beekeeping, but each state may have its own rules and regulations. Some of the common requirements include registering as a beekeeper with the state department of agriculture, obtaining a permit or license, reporting any bee diseases or pests, following best management practices and complying with local zoning ordinances.
  • UK: there is no mandatory qualification or license to become a beekeeper, but it is recommended to join a local beekeepers association and take a training course in beekeeping. The beekeeper must also register with the National Bee Unit (NBU) and notify them of any bee diseases or pests. The beekeeper must also follow the honey regulations and food labelling rules when selling honey.
  • Canada: the beekeeper must obtain a permit or license from the provincial ministry of agriculture and follow the provincial regulations on bee health, inspection, movement and registration. The beekeeper must also register their hives and report any bee diseases or pests to the provincial apiarist. The beekeeper must also comply with the honey regulations and food safety rules when selling honey.
  • Australia: the beekeeper must register as a beekeeper with the state department of primary industries and pay an annual fee. The beekeeper must also comply with the state biosecurity laws and report any bee diseases or pests. The beekeeper must also follow the honey standards and food labelling rules when selling honey.
  • India: there is no specific law that regulates beekeeping, but the beekeeper must follow the guidelines issued by the National Bee Board (NBB) and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). The beekeeper must also register with the NBB and obtain a certificate of quality assurance. The beekeeper must also comply with the food safety and standards regulations when selling honey.

However, if training or licensing is not mandatory in your country, it is strongly recommended to follow a training course to avoid making mistakes that could potentially endanger the lives of bees when you start. Consider joining a beekeeping association to learn good practices and exchange with other beekeepers.

Also note that in some countries, states, or provinces, even if a permit is not required, you may need to do a simple administrative registration with the ministry of agriculture or other. Again, be sure to ask around.

How to find a beekeeper training?

To find a training, you can start by launching a Google search with the keywords “beekeeping training” + the name of your region. This is a very good way to find a course that is not too far from your home. If you can’t find one, maybe there is a local beekeeping association or even a beekeeper near you who can help you? If not, search on Facebook groups or discussion forums.

And if you really can’t find one, there are courses that are done remotely, on the web. It’s probably not as good as a “classic” training with practical work done under the supervision of an instructor, but it’s better than nothing if you don’t have the choice. Again, a Google search will help you find this, but you can also find some great ones on Udemy.

The duration of a state-recognized training is quite variable according to each country but can range from a few weeks to a few months. The cost of such a training is between a few dozen to a few hundred dollars maximum.

Producing and selling different types of honey

There are different varieties of honey that you could produce, other than the “classic” honey that is found everywhere in the market. Each type of honey varies in color, flavor, and texture, depending on the flowers the bees have collected. You may want to select the flowers and surrounding plants to give a specific character to your production. Some of the most common types of honey include:

  • Wildflower honey, with varying flavors and colors.
  • Linden honey, known for its delicate, slightly minty taste.
  • Lavender honey, characterized by its golden color and its sweet and floral taste.
  • Acacia honey, with its light color and its sweet and delicate taste.
  • Chestnut honey, known for its dark color and strong, woody taste.
  • Manuka honey, produced from manuka flowers, which grow only in New Zealand, and is known for its antibacterial and antioxidant properties.

And other types of honey, such as thyme, rosemary, orange, fir, raspberry, buckwheat, etc. It may be best to taste each one and then decide which one you want to produce, depending on your preference but also on the local climate, of course (e.g. lavender honey in Alaska, that might be complicated).

Various kinds of honey in glass jars,honeycomb and pollen. Different types of honey made from different flowers.

How to start your beekeeping business?

The first thing to do is to find out what type of bee is best for you, depending on the environment where they will be foraging and your specific needs.

As for the land, you can do this at home if you have the space, but if not, it is not absolutely necessary to buy land for your hives. You can also make arrangements with a landowner or farmer who will allow you to place your hives in a corner of his land. Chances are, he will even do it for free, since in exchange your bees will pollinate the surrounding fields.

Then, once you have all the necessary equipment (protective clothing, smoker, etc.), you will have to acquire your first swarm of bees, which you can buy from a breeder. Be careful because it is not like in the supermarket, where you arrive, put what you need in the cart, and then go to the cashier. This can take a long time, depending on whether or not there is much demand in your area.

You will also need to have hives to accommodate your new companions. You could build them yourself, but I advise you to buy them ready-made, as your lack of experience may well affect the quality and efficiency of your hives. But if you really want to, there are tutorials on YouTube and Google that will help you. And if you buy it, don’t hesitate to ask for professional advice first because it is an investment that can be expensive (depending on the number of hives you need), but it is the most important element of your breeding. It is better not to make a mistake, therefore.

On the practical side, note that you will need to follow the beekeeping calendar as each phase in honey production must be done within a specific period. These phases can vary by country (and especially by hemisphere), but generally colonies start between March and April, and the Spring Honeyflow, which marks the beginning of swarming, lasts until June. Then, summer, and more specifically the months of June and July, marks the abundance of pollen and nectar and thus the beginning of the collection. Between August and October, you will have to prepare the colony for wintering, which lasts from November to February. You can therefore take advantage of this period to breathe a little, but don’t forget that this is also the time to clean your hives thoroughly (without disturbing their little inhabitants too much).

During all these steps, you will have to visit your hives regularly, clean them, and watch out for possible swarm departures, but also arrange the surrounding environment by removing wild grasses and any other element that could disturb the bees in their work.

Finally, you will sometimes have to be patient. First of all, you must know that the first year will not give any harvest because all that will be produced by the bees will be used to feed themselves. It is only from the second year that you can hope to harvest honey. In addition, you will also have to deal with unforeseen circumstances, such as unfavorable weather conditions, a swarm that leaves you without notice, despite all the care you take… All these elements can happen and force you to start all over again. It is therefore important to be mentally prepared for any eventuality.

Organic honey?

Consumers, who are more and more aware of the deleterious effects of industrial food on their health and the environment, are turning more and more to healthier and natural alternatives. In this context, the production of organic honey has experienced a significant boom in recent years. People, especially those in the middle and upper classes, are looking for a natural product, free of pesticides and chemicals, and are even willing to pay more for it. With this in mind, you may want to consider producing organic honey, which will allow your customers to enjoy a high-quality, environmentally friendly product.

Organic honey is produced from hives where the bees are fed with nectar from organically grown flowers, thus without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers. To produce organic honey, it is therefore essential to choose a suitable location for the hives, preferably in an area where there is a wide variety of plants and wild flowers and where there is no use of pesticides. The hives should also be constructed from organic materials, and the methods of processing the hive should be environmentally friendly.

But be careful because in most western countries, but also in some others located in Asia, Africa, and South America, the rules to produce organic are very strict, and you will not be able to sell your production with an “organic” label without being certified by an independent certification agency that will guarantee that it has been produced according to the organic standards in place. So I suggest you check with your local government before you start.

Having said that, I really encourage you to go down this path as organic honey production is beneficial to both the environment and the health of the bees, as well as to the health of consumers, who can enjoy a high-quality product free of pesticide residues. Being a beekeeper is already a beneficial act for the planet, but producing organic honey is an even more responsible way to participate in its preservation.

Where and how to sell your honey?

Before selling, it might be a good idea to learn some marketing skills first, to give yourself the best chance of success. You don’t need to become an expert but just enough to know what techniques could help you optimize your sales.

Next, it will be a matter of taking care of the packaging of your honey. Make sure you label each jar of honey properly and package it in a way that is attractive to consumers as they are often sensitive to the appearance of the packaging and are more likely to buy a well-presented product. Choose nice colors, a nice font, and put your beautiful logo on it too. And if you don’t have the talent to make the labels yourself, you can find a graphic designer who can create your labels for a very reasonable price on Fiverr or UpWork.

Once the jars filled with the nectar produced by your dear little bees are properly labeled and packaged, all that’s left to do is sell them. You will have several options for selling your honey and reaching a wide audience of consumers. Direct sales are one of the best ways to sell your honey, as they allow you to make a direct connection with consumers, who often appreciate the opportunity to talk with the beekeeper and learn more about the honey production process.

You can sell your honey at the farm, at local farmers’ markets, village fairs, trade shows, or other similar events. You could also collaborate with other local producers to promote your honey, and for example, organize local events with local cheese or wine producers to introduce your honey to a wider audience.

Alternatively you can sell your honey online, via your own website, easily created with Shopify or Wix, or on marketplaces such as Facebook Marketplace or Amazon.

If you produce enough honey, you can even consider selling it wholesale to retailers such as delicatessens, bakeries, restaurants, organic stores if that’s what you produce, but also supermarkets. You can also sell your honey to companies that produce honey-based products, such as cosmetics, medicines, or candles.

And don’t forget that there is not only honey, but that wax, royal jelly, pollen and propolis are also products that, packaged or in their raw state, can also have a market value.

Selling products other than honey

Honey is great and delicious, but it’s not the only thing of value in a hive. You could also sell various by-products such as skin care products, dietary supplements, candles, beauty products, alternative medicine, cleaning products, soaps, and more. All of these can be made from different products of the hive, such as royal jelly, beeswax, pollen, and propolis.

Selling these by-products would allow you to diversify your business and offer a wider range of high quality products to your customers. Note that their manufacture often requires additional training and specific knowledge, but this can be learned as well. You will also need to comply with certain regulations related to the types of products you are making, but this is usually nothing too restrictive.

Different kinds of honey in glass jars, honeycomb and pollen Bees produce not only different types of honey, but also royal jelly, beeswax, pollen (here in granules), and propolis.

9 Tips for a Successful Beekeeper

Let’s end this article with some tips that will help you along the way to becoming a successful beekeeper. These should help you succeed in beekeeping but also in producing good quality honey:

  • Choose a suitable location for your hives, avoiding areas that are overly exposed to pesticides and pollutants, and especially away from human activities (acts of vandalism are not uncommon).
  • Prefer (if possible) a place where the climate is drier and more temperate as bees do not like much cold weather. Display the hives in a sunny place, towards the equator.
  • Make sure they have all the flowers they need throughout the season, and provide supplementary food if necessary (especially during the winter).
  • Pay attention to the health of your bees and practice environmentally friendly beekeeping. In other words, avoid the use of certain “aggressive” chemical products.
  • Clean your hives regularly and get rid of any parasites and other pests. There is a lot to be said for this, but you will learn this during your training.
  • Harvest your honey at the right time, according to the seasons and the flowers available. There is a calendar to help you, so be sure to check it out.
  • Use good quality equipment and tools to harvest and jar your honey.
  • Store your honey in a cool, dry place to avoid premature crystallization.
  • Label your honey in a precise and transparent way to inform the consumers about its origin, its composition, and its production method (Be aware that there are legal obligations!). Think about the design too, and make sure that the package is aesthetically pleasing.


I have tried not to use too many technical terms in this article, but there are a few that deserve a little explanation:

  • Swarming: This is the natural process in which some of the bees and the queen leave the hive to form a new colony. This phenomenon occurs when the hive becomes overcrowded and the bees look for a new place to build their nest, thus allowing them to regenerate and multiply their population. During swarming, the bees leave the hive with some of the honey and pollen, as well as the queen. The remaining bees in the hive then raise a new queen to maintain the existing colony.
  • Honeyflow: This is the period when the bees gather nectar from flowers and produce honey, which they then store in the cells of the hive. This period is often linked to the flowering of the plants and varies according to the regions and the floral species present. The quality and quantity of honey produced therefore depend closely on the honey flow.
  • Honeycombs: These are small hexagonal cavities built by bees to store honey, pollen and royal jelly, and to raise larvae. They are made from beeswax, a substance produced by the wax glands of worker bees. The cells have a precise size and shape that are optimized for the storage and organization of the colony’s reserves.
  • Overwintering: This is the period during which the bees remain in the hive to overwinter. During this period, the bees gather, not to play cards (although they deserve it, these tireless little workers) but to form a cluster to maintain a constant temperature in the hive. Reserves of honey and pollen are also stored in the hive to feed the bees during the winter.


So that’s it for this article on beekeeping. To summarize, we have seen that if you want to become a beekeeper, you must have a real interest for bees (and not run away as soon as you see one) and more generally for nature, that you will have to follow a training (mandatory in some countries) which will last from a few weeks to a few months and will cost you between $100 and several hundreds of dollars, to respect the regulations in place in your country, and to have the appropriate safety equipment.

You should also be aware that being a beekeeper is a demanding job that requires continuous commitment as bees need regular care to stay healthy and productive. But above all, it is a fulfilling and exciting job, which actively participates in the conservation of local biodiversity.

As a reward, you will produce (well, the bees will) a quality honey that you can sell in several ways. Whether it’s selling directly to consumers at markets or online, selling wholesale to distributors, or organizing local collaborations.

And then there is also the sale of by-products which can be an excellent opportunity for beekeepers to diversify their business and offer a range of high quality natural products. However, remember to inform yourself about the legal requirements and the quality standards imposed.

In any case, if you put your heart and soul into this venture, do things by the book, and with a minimum of rigor, you should achieve the success you so richly deserve.


Environmental and climate change issues are more than ever at the heart of the concerns of this 21st century, which is why I am proposing a few ideas that will enable you to limit the negative impact that the implementation of this idea could have.

These solutions that I suggest are sometimes largely insufficient to compensate for these negative impacts, such as carbon offsetting. Unfortunately, there is not always an ideal and 100% efficient solution, far from it. And if you have others, please do not hesitate to share them in the comments below.

The bee world is not doing well. Yes, sorry to be so blunt, but it is unfortunately the sad truth. For several years we have been witnessing a decline in bee populations worldwide. It is a complex phenomenon, and its cause is multifactorial. Among the most important elements responsible for this dramatic decline, we can mention:

  • Loss of natural habitat: The destruction of bees’ natural habitats, such as grasslands, wildflower fields, and forests, which in most cases are replaced by fields where intensive agriculture is practiced, reduces their ability to feed and reproduce.
  • Pesticide use: The use of pesticides in agriculture and domestic gardens kills bees or affects their nervous system and their ability to feed properly. Neonicotinoids are the family of insecticides that have probably caused the most damage. They are used in agriculture to control crop pests. Scientists have found that these toxic substances impair their ability to navigate and find their way to the hive, weaken their immune systems and make them more vulnerable to disease and parasites, reduce their reproductive capacity, and shorten their lifespan. These neonicotinoids are now banned in some countries, especially in the EU, but manufacturers are trying everything they can to continue selling them.
  • Diseases and pests: Bees are vulnerable to various diseases and parasites, such as “Varroa Destructor” (a mite), which weaken their immune system and can lead to the death of the entire colony, within just a few weeks.
  • Climate change: It can disrupt plant flowering cycles and alter weather conditions, which can reduce the bees’ food supply and make them more vulnerable.
  • Intensive beekeeping: The industrialization of honey production has led to a decrease in genetic diversity and made colonies more vulnerable to diseases and parasites. Several associations are fighting to reintroduce other species before they disappear completely, such as the black bee.

These factors all have a negative impact on the health and survival of bees, which has led to an alarming decline in bee populations worldwide. Yet, without them and their pollination work, our food production would be severely affected, and this would have a significant negative impact on the entire food chain. In addition, bees contribute to the pollination of wild plants and thus to the conservation of biodiversity.

Economists have estimated that pollinators such as bees provide more than $235 billion in ecological services on the planet each year. In spite of this, the necessary measures to stop this decline are still not taken (or only a few) and the industrialists are fighting with advertising campaigns and lobbying to keep this status quo.

Today the situation is really catastrophic, and bees have already almost totally disappeared in some regions of the world. Like in China, for example, where farmers are now forced to pollinate fruit trees… by hand!

You may have heard Einstein’s dire prediction that “If the bee disappeared, mankind would only have 4 years to live”? Well, it’s not true, Einstein didn’t say it and humanity wouldn’t disappear either (but our menus would be much less varied). But it is clear that this would sound the death knell of many other plant and animal species.

In short, all this to tell you that producing organic is not just a commercial argument, but can have a real positive impact on the current situation. Rather than being part of the problem, choose to be part of the solution, if you can.

And last but not least, which may seem a bit more trivial than what I’ve just explained, pay attention to the other aspects of this activity as well, and always try to opt for an eco-friendly solution for your travels, the products you use, the type of energy you consume, etc.


  • Life in the great outdoors
  • An exciting and rewarding activity
  • You will learn a lot of exciting things about bees and nature
  • You contribute to the maintenance of biodiversity


  • You will have to start by taking a training course
  • The starting cost can be a bit high for some

Disclaimer, please read this Legal and administrative aspects of the ideas you'll find on Sweekr are rarely discussed because they vary greatly depending on the country you live in. I would advise you to check with your local government before starting any business. Keep in mind that if you make money, the state will ask for "its share" in order to guarantee the proper functioning of schools, hospitals and other public services. Therefore, you will probably have to acquire a micro-entrepreneur status, or any other similar.
Also, be aware that this post may contain affiliate links, and I may get compensated a commission at no extra cost to you if you click on the affiliate links and subsequently make a purchase. This will help maintain the site, so thank you.

This article could be completed or improved with your help. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any question, a relevant remark, a feedback, additional information or spotted any error.Go to comments


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