Beekeepers manage colonies of honeybees kept in hives to produce honey, beeswax and royal jelly.Job Category:
What you will do:
As a beekeeper, you’ll:
- build, inspect or repair hives
- introduce a new colony or look after an existing one
- check the health of your bees
- treat your hive and bees to fight disease and pests
- breed queen bees and set up smaller, starter colonies
- collect honey from hives
- prepare and bottle honey
- market honey and products like beeswax
- mentor or train new beekeepers
- knowledge of biology
- the ability to operate and control equipment
- observation and recording skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
As well as:
- the ability to work on your own (drive)
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
- the ability to work well with your hands
- thinking and reasoning skills
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- practical skills: developing practical skills, such as woodworking (for building beehives), gardening (for bee-friendly gardens), and basic hand tools usage, can be helpful for beekeeping tasks.
- communication skills: strong communication skills are essential if you plan to engage in beekeeping education, advocacy, or honey sales.
- safety awareness: safety is crucial in beekeeping. Understanding safety protocols and equipment usage to protect yourself and the bees is important.
To become a beekeeper, there are no specific GCSE subjects that are mandatory. However, certain subjects and skills developed during your GCSE years can be advantageous for pursuing a career or hobby in beekeeping. Beekeepers are responsible for maintaining and caring for bee colonies and honey production. Here are some GCSE subjects and skills that can be valuable:
- Biology: GCSE Biology can provide you with a foundational understanding of the biology of bees, including their anatomy, life cycle, and behavior. It’s important to have a basic understanding of bee biology to care for bee colonies effectively.
- Mathematics: Basic math skills can be useful for tasks like measuring and mixing bee feed or medications and managing hive records and expenses.
- Environmental Science: Knowledge of environmental science can help you understand the impact of environmental factors on bee health and forage sources.
- Agriculture: GCSE courses related to agriculture or farming can introduce you to broader concepts of animal husbandry and land management, which can be relevant to beekeeping.
- Chemistry: While not mandatory, understanding the chemistry of beekeeping products and treatments can be beneficial for hive maintenance.
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 get into beekeeping.
There are short introductory courses for beginners as well as ones that lead to a qualification. There are no set entry requirements for this route.
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 further qualifications.
Working Hours and Environment:
A typical week consists of 37-42 hours of work. You could be required to work freelance/be self-employed managing your own hours.
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.
Career Path & Progression:
You could move into training or commercial bee farming and develop more hives over a wider area.
With qualifications in science, you could work in crop production and pollination research.