Beekeeper

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Apiarist, apiculturist

Beekeepers manage colonies of honeybees kept in hives to produce honey, beeswax and royal jelly.

Salary Range: Variable

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You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • starting as a hobby and learning on the job
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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.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), or equivalent, for a level 1 course
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Other routes

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.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a beekeeper through The British Beekeepers Association and the National Bee Unit.

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Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • 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
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Day-to-day tasks

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

Working environment

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.

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With experience, you could move into commercial beekeeping and develop more hives over a wider area. 

You could also train new beekeepers.