Beekeepers manage colonies of honeybees kept in hives to produce honey, beeswax and royal jelly.
Salary Range: Variable
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- starting as a hobby and learning on the job
You could 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.
You’ll usually need:
- 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), or equivalent, for a level 1 course
You can keep bees as a hobby and learn how to successfully set up and manage healthy colonies of honeybees.
You can also join a beekeeping group where you’ll learn from experienced beekeepers, and work towards qualifications offered by The British Beekeepers Association.
You can find out more about becoming a beekeeper through The British Beekeepers Association and the National Bee Unit.
Skills and knowledge
- the ability to work well with others
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
- excellent verbal communication skills
- thinking and reasoning skills
- the ability to work on your own
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to work well with your hands
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Your day-to-day duties may include:
- building, inspecting or repairing hives
- introducing a new colony or maintaining an existing one
- feeding or checking the health of your bees
- monitoring the size of your colony and amount of honey produced
- treating your hive and bees to fight disease and pests
- collecting honey from hives
- preparing and bottling honey
- marketing honey and products like beeswax
- mentoring or training new beekeepers, once experienced
- breeding queen bees and smaller, starter or ‘nucleus’ bee colonies
You could work on a farm or at a bee yard.
Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
With experience, you could move into commercial beekeeping and develop more hives over a wider area.
You could also train new beekeepers.