While Honey Holding of Baytown, Texas, imports millions of pounds of honey annually from overseas, the company also operates several thousand hives in more than 70 locations throughout Texas and Louisiana. With the steady decline in domestic beekeeping in the United States since World War II, Honey Holding is making a concerted effort to renew interest through employment at its facilities and training programs for local high school students.
Whether a hobby or a serious career choice, beekeeping can be a rewarding experience. Despite the falling numbers, there are still nearly 100,000 private beekeepers in the United States, both hobbyist and professional.
Maintaining a single colony is roughly as challenging as common gardening. The two hobbies go well together since the bees’ activity directly aids the growth and spreading of flowering plants.
Bees themselves do most of the work, leaving the keeper to monitor the hive and extract the honey. The primary challenge of beekeeping is making sure the bees are safe, secure, and under control.
Proper materials for sheltering bees are essential, as hives will need to be shielded from wind and cold weather. Bees also need to swarm in the springtime to gather nectar, which may be disruptive or even dangerous to neighbors.
A starting investment for a hobbyist can cost roughly $500 for a pair of hives, which together can produce as much as 100 pounds of honey per year. A business will need to invest at least 10 times that to properly set up 50 or more hives along with equipment to manage the hives. A business can expect to earn substantial profits after the second year, thanks to the low maintenance and labor costs of beekeeping.