So let's take honey production:
- Required: Honey-producing beehives (a given), great timing sometimes, the extraction tools (found in your favorite catalog), bottling, a form of marketing or a customer base
- Typical revenue: Quart - $9.50, Gallon - $30 (for typical honey, more for specialty honey)
- Days? As long as hives have honey to take (Can someone give me your specifics with how many hives you have?)
- Return: $xxxx/year (notice this is not ROI, but rather gross profit from sales)
Utahbees....man I like the way you think . My dad says "if you gonna be a bear..........be a grizzly
". My thoughts exactly! If you're going to go to the trouble of raising bees, why not make it worth your while, and maximize your return?........strictly a business approach.
Now I understand the business vs. art discussions with beekeeping. I don't think you can keep bees, without getting into the non-monetary benefits of watching these amazing creatures, but I believe your question for this thread is for "most profitable", pertaining to the business aspects of beekeeping. As with any agriculture based product, I'm sure it would depend on the type of year you have. It would compare to farming for profit. Variables would effect it MUCH, like: weather, pests/disease, blooming/pollen season, etc...so it's not exactly a linear projection.
I personally lean more toward selling bees, simply because you cann't have the other products you listed, without the bees. A queen business is profitable if you've got the time, but timing is very important with queens, so large scale, you'd have to have help, or alot of time to work them. Looking at the bee nuc business, it's somewhat less regulated, especially if staying within your home State. Just doing the math, if you had 500 hives, and just did splits every year and let them make their own queens. Doing the labor yourself , you could guesstimate it'd take you 2-4 days to split them all, depending on how fast you went. You'd just have the cost of the frames and boxes. Using the wax cardboard nuc boxes would minimize your overhead, and you charge back the cost of the box (i.e. $5).
Average price here for 5 frame nucs $75 (with box exchange. Add $5 for the cardboard box)
$80 x 500 = $40,000 every year, and still have 500 splits for your on hand stock for next year. Oh yea.....and you get to keep your day job!
On the other, here's my two cents worth:Pollination business
: least amount of work, greatest amount of return. If you got the hives, put them on trailers, then just pull and unhitch. Miminum labor required. Not many State regulations, unless you cross State lines. Local business is easy! Honey production
: more State Health regulations with raising & preparing honey for retail sale (see other threads). More equipment needed, more labor needed to prepare. More labor needed to sale, if selling retail.Other Bee products (wax, propolis, royal jelly, pollen)
: still some regulations with retail sales. Much smaller market for these specialty products, however locally near me, pollen is in great demand. Homeopathic customers really like it for allergies. More labor required harvesting these.
"bein' a grizzly" :-D