- Rewarding work taking care of colonies of honeybees and harvesting their honey
- Opportunities to work for yourself or to manage colonies for others
- You'll need a love for the environment, no fear of insects, and a calm, methodical approach
- Build, inspect or repair hives
- Introduce a new colony or maintain an existing one
- Feed or check the health of your bees
- Monitor the size of your colony and amount of honey produced
- Treat your hive and bees to fight disease and pests
- Collect honey from hives
- Prepare and bottle honey
- Market honey and products like beeswax
- Mentor or train new beekeepers
- Breed queen bees and smaller, starter or 'nucleus' bee colonies
Your income could vary widely and depend on the number of hives you keep and the amount of honey or related products you produce. Many beekeepers keep bees as a hobby while doing another job. Your working hours will vary depending on the time of year and the number of hives you have.
You'll spend more time inspecting your hives during the spring and summer when the bees are active and producing honey.
Most of your work will take place outdoors. Bees don't react well to being handled in wet and cold weather so you may use this time to maintain your equipment or process your honey and other products like royal jelly. You'll usually wear special clothes to protect you from bee stings. This can include a bee suit and veil, boots and bee gloves.
There are no set requirements, but many beekeepers start out by taking up keeping bees as a hobby. You'll need the right skills and knowledge to successfully set up healthy colonies of honeybees.
You could join a local branch of the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) where you'll receive advice and guidance on starting out from experienced beekeepers.
You could also do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills you need to do this job. Relevant subjects include a Level 1 Award in Introduction to Beekeeping.
With experience, you could move into commercial beekeeping and develop more hives over a wider area. You could also train new beekeepers.