Beekeepers operate beehives to produce honey and related products such as beeswax, pollen, royal jelly, propolis (bee glue and bee antiseptic) and queen bees. Beekeepers also operate beehives to assist in the pollination of seed, fruit, nut and vegetable crops.
Beekeepers may perform the following tasks:
- build or put together parts of ready-made beehives
- treat and paint beehive parts to prevent wood rot
- negotiate with property owners and government agencies for sites on which to keep their bees
- transport hives to sites that have been assessed for honey and/or pollen production potential
- insert sheets of wax stamped with a honeycomb imprint into frames to be placed into hives
- remove honeycombs from the hive and extract honey
- look after and repair beehives and honey-extracting equipment
- control bee diseases, pests and parasites in working hives
- package and sell honey, pollen, propolis and beeswax
- re-queen colonies and raise queen bees for own use or sale
- negotiate with farmers to provide pollination services in the growing of nut, fruit, seed and vegetable crops
- process and clean beeswax.
After gaining adequate experience, beekeepers may choose to focus upon one of four main industry segments: apiary, queen bee production, marketing and packing, or pollination. Some may specialise as apiary inspectors or advisers, or laboratory diagnostic technicians.
Beekeepers travel a lot, examining honey and pollen flora and transporting beehives by truck from site to site as plants start flowering. Much of their time is spent outdoors and away from home. Many wear protective clothing such as overalls, gloves and hats with nets attached to protect their faces.
- enjoy botany (plants) and entomology (insects)
- free from allergies and able to work with bees
- able to work in isolated areas
- willing to work long and irregular hours
- able to lift heavy weights
- happy to work alone
- able to keep accurate records.
Education and Training, Employment Opportunities and Additional Information
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