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Beekeeping as a business is one of the few almost win-win pursuits in agriculture. There is always a demand for the products produced by bees. Of course, commercial beekeeping already requires certain skills and knowledge. You cannot go into beekeeping as a serious business without knowing anything about bees at all. But a similar situation exists in any area of agriculture: before engaging in livestock or crop production, you need to gain experience.
Breeding bees as a business: profitable or not
People will always pay for food. But growing food is an area of increased risk: crop failures, epizootics can cripple the farmer. For the treatment, people will give their last money. In the field of agriculture, such a business as beekeeping is one of the most profitable industries, since it combines both food and medicine.
With the right approach, keeping an apiary as a business is no more risky than a poultry farm. But investments are needed much less. Moreover, even less space for an apiary is needed than for any more or less serious farm.
It is also beneficial to keep bees because absolutely all beekeeping products are used. Warehouses for feed in beekeeping are not required. If the owners of livestock and poultry farms need to think about where to keep feed and where to dispose of waste products, then the beekeeper receives income from the sale of propolis and tinctures from it.
Profitability is not exactly what it means in everyday conversations. Profitability is a coefficient that is defined as profit divided by ...
But what the profit will be divided into, and whether this profit should be net, depends on what kind of profitability needs to be calculated.
Important! Profit = revenue - expenses.
To calculate the profitability of an apiary, you need to decide what exactly to calculate:
- the profitability of the enterprise after the initial investment has been recouped;
- the cost of consumables, including the possible purchase of new families;
- seasonal profit from the sale of beekeeping products.
The high profitability of bees as a type of business is primarily due to the fact that the initial investment in beekeeping is very low. If you have the tools, materials and skills learned in school labor lessons, you can make the hives yourself. A personal plot with a vegetable garden will fit under the apiary. The most risky spending is on the purchase of bee colonies. Equipment for pumping honey, even in case of failure, can be sold.
Bee earnings consist of many factors:
- royal jelly;
- drone homogenate;
- tinctures from podmore.
Oddly enough, but the usual honey is the cheapest product in beekeeping. It also has the largest price range. Therefore, the price of honey will depend on the region where the beekeeping business is planned and the type of plants from which the product is collected.
Apiary as a business: where to start
If there is no experience in beekeeping as a business, it is better to first get it with 2-3 hives in order to understand how to properly keep bees. There are often cases when, due to inexperience, beekeepers destroy families with their own hands. You can think about making money in a bee apiary a couple of years after the appearance of the first hives. Moreover, bees swarm in summer, and the number of families can be increased without financial costs.
If you already have experience, it makes sense to immediately start with the purchase of several dozen colonies. But an apiary with 10 colonies is already considered sufficient for a small profit. True, she also has a high risk of extinction of all families in the event of an unfavorable combination of circumstances.
In addition to bee colonies and hives, some equipment is also needed to organize a beekeeping business. The latter is profitable to buy if the apiary has at least 50 colonies.
The organization of a beekeeping business and the calculation of the number of hives begins with an inspection of the proposed site. Or they reconcile themselves in advance to the idea of a serious financial investment in the purchase of a large car trailer for organizing a nomadic apiary.
For their own needs, citizens can place hives on personal plots, subject to compliance with sanitary and veterinary requirements.
Attention! One of the conditions for placing hives in a personal backyard is at least 10 m from the outer border of the site.
There are already certain rules for a serious beekeeping business:
- one apiary cannot have more than 150 hives;
- a stationary apiary around the perimeter of the territory is fenced off and planted with fruit trees and bushes;
- free areas are plowed annually and sown with honey grasses;
- the distance between the hives should be 3-3.5 m, and between the rows - 10 m;
- a stationary apiary is placed no closer than half a kilometer from railways, power lines, sawmills, federal highways;
- hives should not be placed closer than 5 km of chemical enterprises. industry and confectionery, sources of microwave radiation.
First of all, when selecting a site, they pay attention to these requirements. Next, the number of honey plants in the selected place is estimated.
The bees can collect the maximum bribe if they do not have to fly further than 2 km. At the same time, there should be at least 2000 honey plants per hectare of area. This number includes:
- garden trees;
- meadow forbs;
- forest trees.
After evaluating the possibilities for collecting honey, they choose a place for the apiary itself. If there is no particular choice, and the apiary will be located in the garden on a personal plot, the hives are placed in the shade of trees. The territory for protection from the wind is surrounded by a 2-meter fence.
Important! Even for a small apiary, they try to follow the layout of the hives.
A stationary apiary is also equipped with rooms for storing inventory, spare hives and honey equipment. Plumbing structures should also be provided.
In the absence of a suitable site for a "stationary" business, you can make a nomadic apiary, but the requirements for it are stricter:
- placement of nomadic apiaries in places of honey collection at a distance of at least 1.5 km from one another;
- at least 3 km from stationary apiaries;
- it is forbidden to place nomadic apiaries on the path of summer bees from another apiary to the main honey collection;
- when placing on someone else's plot, an agreement is required between the beekeeper and the owner of the land;
- the beekeeper must take measures to ensure the safety of people and animals. He is also charged with the responsibility of preventing the entry of strangers into the apiary.
Due to the global disappearance of bees and the spread of diseases among them, the owner of a nomadic business must notify the local authorities of his plans before moving to a new place. Further informing the veterinary service falls on local government bodies.
A nomadic apiary has an advantage over a stationary one: the owner can transport the bees to the best places.
Important! A nomadic apiary should be disease free.
In cold regions, for both types of beekeeping business, it is necessary to provide a ventilated winter road in which it will be possible to maintain a temperature of 0-6 ° C and a humidity of no more than 85%.
For both types of apiaries, a flat area overgrown with trees with a slight slope is chosen. Trees are needed to hide the hives from the heat in the shade.
Hives and necessary equipment
According to reviews in a bee business, the main expense item is hives. Even a colony is cheaper than a quality hive. The cost of a "house for bees" is about 4000 rubles. The hive must be made of quality wood.
Important! Do not use hives made from fresh coniferous planks.
The resin released in the heat will "stick" the bees to the walls. A good option is aspen, which does not lend itself well to decay.
Do not use plywood hives. This material will exfoliate and warp from water. Foreign attempts to use foam plastic instead of wood were also unsuccessful: such a material turned out to be too light and fragile, although from the point of view of thermal insulation it is ideal.
In addition to hives, you will need a lot of things that may not be taken into account when calculating business costs:
- beekeeper costume;
- swarm net;
- veterinary drugs for the treatment of families;
- honey extractor;
- equipment for the production of foundation;
- smoker material;
- special cages for queen bees;
- various carpentry tools.
The latter can be found in any subsidiary farm. Equipment for foundation can also be bought later, when it becomes clear that the business has come out of the unprofitable stage. But you can also get by by buying foundation in the store.
Purchase of bee families
When buying colonies, you need to take into account the species composition of honey plants near the apiary and climatic conditions. Today there are quite a few bee breeds that work better on certain plants:
- Central Russian bees: linden and buckwheat. Aggressive and swarming.
- The gray Caucasian ones are not aggressive, but they do not tolerate cold well. They work well on clover and meadow grasses. They don't steal honey, they don't let strangers near their hives. This breed is unproductive.
- Ukrainian steppe plants are preferred for linden, buckwheat, sunflowers, and other melliferous plants. They tolerate winter well and are resistant to nosematosis and European foulbrood.
These breeds are the most common in Russian beekeeping. In addition to them, you can buy local bees or their crosses with other breeds. For beekeeping, the advantage of local breeds is their good adaptation to a specific climate, but productivity can be low.
The cost of bee colonies is about 2000 rubles. But depending on the thoroughbredness of the colony, it may be higher.
At first glance, an apiary is a very calm and easy job. In fact, according to the reviews of people engaged in beekeeping as a business, except for work in the apiary, there is no time left for anything else. In this business, worries start in early spring, when the bees need to be transplanted into clean hives, and lasts until the fall.
During the season in the apiary, it is necessary to periodically mow the grass so that it does not cover the entrances. In front of the hives, they will equip grounds of 0.5x0.5 m, on which the bees throw out dead and other garbage. These sites must be cleared of debris. During the season, the drone brood is collected for homogenate and royal jelly.
In the fall, families are audited and decide how many colonies to leave for the winter. You also need to collect ripe honey, propolis and bee bread.
For the winter, hives must be placed in a winter house. If the climate permits, and the bees tolerate the cold well, the colonies can be left to winter in the open air. In winter, the beekeeper also has something to do:
- check and clean out backup hives;
- paint them all again;
- make frames;
- make foundation.
But in winter, work is less stressful than during the season.
In a beekeeping business, the upfront costs are largely dependent on:
- apiary size;
- a plot of land for it;
- land owned or leased;
- stationary apiary or nomadic;
- the cost of processing all documents.
With the maximum possible size of 150 hives, the initial costs can reach 2 million rubles. If a business starts with 5-10 beehives on its own garden plot, then the costs are minimal (40-70 thousand rubles), but the income will also be small.
To transport the hives closer to the honey plants, you will need a trailer. These are the costs in beekeeping, which will not be in the case of a stationary apiary.
Is there a risk
There is no business without risk at all. Bee apiary as a business object is no exception. Bees can get sick or die from frost. The year can be cold and the colonies will not collect enough honey. But any farmer is in the same situation. Crop failures are common.
The peculiarity of Russia is in a cold climate, which makes it difficult for beekeeping as a business. In very cold winters, the colony can freeze out. But also bees can die if they block ventilation with insulation.
An untimely reduction in the varroa mite population leads to a weakening of the colony due to the proliferating parasites. Varroa suck the lymph out of the bees and the insects die.
It is also necessary to monitor the occurrence of diseases in bees. Contrary to popular belief, bees suffer from invasive diseases. These infections are caused by protozoa that live in the intestines of the bee.
The income from the beekeeping business, according to the reviews of the beekeepers themselves, is very unpredictable. Much depends on how strong the family is. You can only get income in this business from a strong colony. The weak will have to be fed, while the average will only be able to provide for itself.
The maximum income for the beekeeping business is brought by nomadic apiaries, which are taken out as close as possible to honey plants. From a strong colony with this method of beekeeping, you can get 40 kg of honey per season. The stationary yield of the product will depend on the number of honey plants in the district.
If we take the maximum yield and assume that all families are equally strong, then the amount of honey can simply be multiplied by the number of hives. In fact, this does not happen. Therefore, if the apiary consists of 10 hives, out of a total of 400 kg, you can safely take away about 50 kg. From 100 beehives of a nomadic apiary, not 4 tons of honey will be obtained. But more than 3500 kg will be released for sure.
To calculate the income, it is enough to multiply the average yield by the average price of a kilogram of honey. The cost of honey differs from region to region. Likewise, honey varieties also have different prices.
Sales of finished products
Marketing in this type of business entirely depends on the beekeeper's turnover. Honey can be sold:
- by ad;
- independently on the market;
- hand over to a reseller;
- organize your own company store with your comrades.
There is another option: the beekeepers' union publishes its own free newspaper, which is distributed in mailboxes. The newspaper published advertisements for the centralized sale of honey and announced discounts on products.
Prices for honey and bee products
The price of honey differs significantly depending on its type. Most appreciated:
The cost of honey ranges from 300 to 1200 rubles. Therefore, prices should be checked with the local market. Acacia honey will be cheaper in the south than in the north.
Attention! When choosing a place for business, it is a good idea to have a phyto-map of the area at hand.
With an apiary of 100 families and a honey yield of 3500 kg at a minimum cost per kilogram, you can get 3500x300 = 1050 thousand rubles. With a maximum cost of 1200 rubles. you can get 4200 thousand rubles.
An amateur apiary of 10 beehives will generate income after the sale of honey at a minimum price of 105 thousand rubles, at a maximum price of 420 thousand rubles.
The beehive leaves 10.5 thousand and 42 thousand, respectively. But the figures are approximate, the beekeeping business is one of the most unpredictable in terms of obtaining products.
In addition, in fact, even in the most favorable scenario, the real profit will be less. From the amount received, you must deduct the costs of maintaining the apiary and taxes.
Important! Honey has an unlimited shelf life.
This allows the beekeeper to hold on to the product until prices rise.
Is it profitable to engage in beekeeping: we calculate the profit
Beekeepers themselves traditionally complain about the lack of state support for beekeeping and the difficulties of business. Judging by the reviews of those who run the apiary as a business, everything is very bad. But they are not ready to give up beekeeping and switch to breeding chickens, rabbits or nutria.
There are other reviews, from which it follows that a beekeeper cannot become a millionaire, but it is possible to support a family with dignity by doing beekeeping. Of course, you have to work, and not sit with a cup of tea and a saucer of honey on the veranda.
Important! Income in beekeeping can be obtained not only from the sale of honey.
Due to the frequent rejection of families, other queens are in demand in significant quantities. In addition, a colony of bees is more expensive than a single queen. If you need to breed purebred bees, you can buy a fertilized queen, and plant it in a "mongrel" family. A thoroughbred uterus bought in spring will “replace” the outbred livestock of a family in one season. Thanks to this, if the beekeeper has pedigree bees, he can sell to others who wish both queens and new young swarms.
The sale of queens as a separate type of business in beekeeping is quite profitable, since the workers wear out quickly in the summer. Their lifespan is about 30 days.
The cost of queens ranges from 600 to 950 rubles. regardless of breed. Pricing in this area rather depends on the wishes of the owner of the bees than on objective factors.
Normally, bees need only one queen. When the old queen is old, the colony will feed itself another, and the old one will be killed. There are usually no many queens in the hive. Therefore, if the business is aimed at obtaining honey, it will not be possible to earn much on the queens. From strength to 10 thousand per year.
The same applies to the sale of bee colonies at a price of 2 thousand. You can earn even less on them, since fewer new swarms are “born” than queens. In order not to weaken families, it is better to prevent swarming. Usually the beekeeper keeps the new swarm for himself.
Specialized nurseries are engaged in the business of selling bees, for which honey is already a low-profit by-product. Bees can be forced to raise many queens per season, but then they will not have time to fully collect honey.
Important! You can also rent bees to work in greenhouses.
How else to make money on bees
Beekeeping products as medicines continue to gain popularity today. A business can be built not only on the sale of honey, but also on the sale of other beekeeping products:
- bee bread - 4000 rubles / kg;
- propolis - 2200-4000 rubles / kg;
- royal jelly - 200,000 rubles / kg;
Important! Freshly collected for 2 hours is placed in the refrigerator, otherwise it deteriorates. Processed at room temperature can be stored for no more than 3 days, in the freezer - up to 2 years.
- drone homogenate - 30,000 rubles / kg;
Important! Drone milk can only be stored in the freezer, frozen immediately upon receipt. It is impossible to freeze again. The shelf life of the thawed homogenate is 3 hours.
- wax - 300-450 rubles / kg.
The main beekeeping product is honey. The rest are by-products in business, and they are obtained from the hive in small quantities, except for bee bread, which is not inferior in quantity to honey:
- wax - 1.5 kg;
- bee bread - 10-20 kg;
- propolis - no more than 80 g per season from a family of gray Caucasian bees;
Attention! Other breeds produce 2 times less propolis.
- royal jelly - 450 g.
The exact amount of drone homogenate from the hive is unknown. But this product allows the beekeeper to "kill two birds with one stone": to generate additional income in the business and reduce the number of varroa mites in the bee colony.
You should not rejoice in a large amount of podmore. This is an indicator of a sick family. Dead bees. At best, "worn out" workers, at worst - dead from the disease. Since in the second option, the entire colony usually dies out, you can reduce business losses by making a tincture from podmore on vodka or alcohol. 100 ml of tincture costs 400 rubles.
Beekeeping as a business is a profitable investment. But, like any serious business, it requires complete dedication. Also, beekeeping is a good option for a family business in the village.
Andrey Lisovich, 43 years old, pos. Further
I can't say that beekeeping is an easy job that pays off in the very first year. To make an apiary a profitable business, you need to plow day and night. And you can't start a business without experience. There are too many nuances in beekeeping for a beginner to be successful immediately. In general, this business brings good profit if you do it yourself. But in this case, it is usually not taken into account that the time spent must be paid. That is, it turns out that all year long you work for free "for workdays", and in the profit received is hidden the salary that you could have received elsewhere. In general, to raise a business in beekeeping, you need not only initial capital, but also money to live for a couple of years.
Konstantin Balykin, 34 years old, Solodkovsky farm
I tried to do beekeeping back in the city, placing bees in the country. Thought not touched. They stole it along with the hives. But in the city, in any case, there was no work. The whole family decided to move to the village. And beekeeping is a type of business that does not require a lot of space. You can do it right next to the house. We sold the dacha and the apartment, bought a house in the village. Just like in an advertisement. The first year my beekeeping did not give any profit. On the second day, I already received the result. Little by little, the business got better. People found out and began to go for honey. Now I'm thinking of expanding my business. I worked illegally, they say, "for myself." Now I want to formalize the activity and take up beekeeping seriously.