Bees, Livelihood From

From A Thousand Answers to Beekeeping Questions by Dr. C.C. Miller, published 1931:

Bees, Livelihood from.—I have been trying to decide on a move for several years; that is, in the keeping of bees. I had a slight experience of two years with bees, but just became greatly interested in them when I left the country to accept a position in the Postal Department in New York City. I still hold such a position, but my desire and love for bees have increased so much that I am contemplating a change to the country. My hesitation comes from the doubt whether I could make a good living from them alone should I devote my entire time to them. What is your opinion? Would it be wise and profitable to give up my position of $100 a month to lurch into beekeeping? I would not go in extensively at the start, but try and feel my way as I advance. Will you kindly give me advice I seek as to whether there is a profitable field in the keeping of bees as a business proposition?

A. Your question is one that is exceedingly difficult to answer. If it be a mere matter of dollars and cents, I should say that beekeeping is a good business to let alone, for the same amount of brains and energy that will make you a living at beekeeping will make more than a living at almost any other business. But if you have the great love for beekeeping that some men have, then it may be the part of wisdom for you to choose beekeeping in preference to any other business that would net you ten times as much money. For your true beekeeper doesn’t have to wait until he has made his pile before he begins to enjoy life, but every day is a vacation day, and a day of enjoyment.

But you must make a living. Can you make a living at beekeeping? I don’t know. There are a few who make a living at beekeeping alone. There are probably a few more of them who can. You may be one of them, and you may not.

It would not be advisable for you to cut loose from everything else and start in at beekeeping with the idea of making a living at it from the very start. If you have enough ahead so that you can afford to do nothing for a year or two, with a fair assurance that you could take up your old line of work at the end of the year or two, if you should so elect, then all right. For you must count it among the possibilities that the next two years may be years of failure in the honey harvest.

If you can take such a risk, perhaps you can grow into quite a business with bees, while still continuing at your present business. Indeed, that might be the best way. In a suburban home you could probably care for 25 or 50 colonies mornings and evenings. Or, you might have a roof apiary in the city. The profit from them would be all the while bringing you nearer the point when you could cut loose from everything else. After a year or two you could judge better than anyone else whether it would be feasible and advisable to try beekeeping alone.

1 comment:

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