Fringe Box



Beekeeper’s Notes February 2016 – Is It Bees, Honey Or Money?

Published on: 1 Feb, 2016
Updated on: 5 Feb, 2016

By Hugh Coakley

The Lord made the bees
And the bees made honey
The Lord made man
And man made money

Did the English folk song get it right? Are we only in it for the money?

It’s not a simple one to answer.

Keep Out - Bees! Is this a warning not to keep bees?

Keep Out – Bees! Is this a warning not to keep bees?

Beekeeping generally starts with the sort of thought that spurs most people on. “That looks interesting” thinks the busy person. Then, after a bit of toe dipping to see if it would be practical, you start to meet other novice beekeepers who thought the same as you.

You meet the visionary apprentice. They aim to keep perfect bees, none of their bees will be interfered with or harmed in any way and the bees will keep all their own honey. You have the nervous starter. Will I manage to keep bees at all, they think?

Then there is the practical one; within a year, he (or she) intends to have 10 or 20 hives going. Or you have the scientist. His bees will be thoroughly studied all the way down to their tiny pollen bags.

Nobody’s perfect and beekeepers can be a combination of all of the above. One thing that they mostly have in common though is that they want to be involved in something positive and natural.

Fruits of our labour - the bee and the beekeeper.

Honey in jars is the fruit of our labour – the bee’s and the beekeeper’s.

At some point, most will think: “Is this a good way to make a bit of pin money?”

They are not wrong to think it. If they stick at it – and that is a big ‘if’ as the majority pack it in within three years of starting – the chances are that they will start to break even. After that, they may even make a small amount.

The above can be quantified in the simple equation:

(B + H2 x √(T x S) x E) / M = B x P x H.  This is translated as:

(B(ees) + H(ard work)2 x √(T(raining) x S(cience)) x E(xperience)) / M(oney) = B(ees) x P(leasure) x H(oney)

You will notice that I have only put money on one side of the equation. Instead of honey, I could have put Pr(oduce) or even M(oney) again.

But I don’t regard the honey that I harvest from my bees as just produce. I get huge satisfaction from eating and selling my honey.

So it isn’t just a product. After a while, it becomes a way of life.

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