Beekeeping: A Profitable Home Based Business

This article will discuss the potential for making income from beekeeping as a backyard beekeeper, the initial set-up costs, the different revenue streams available, and the tax savings available to a backyard beekeeper.

Is Backyard Beekeeping Profitable?

Backyard beekeeping is profitable in the first year of beekeeping, just from the sale of the honey from one hive. There are additional ways to generate profit with that same hive by producing additional non-honey products, as well as tax write-offs that can produce significant income.

Beekeeping is a fantastic home-based business to boost your income and is very beneficial to the environment.

Everyone who wants to pay less in taxes and stretch their money further needs a home business.

How Much Money Can I Make With A Backyard Beehive?

A single beehive will yield $300 to $600 a year, depending on the quantity of honey it produces. Additional revenue from non-honey products can increase revenue even further.
The tax savings from having a home business could be the most profitable aspect of backyard beekeeping.

This generated income amount is calculated with the expectation that at least 30 pounds of harvestable honey will be available for sale in the first year and the realization that achieving 100 pounds of salable honey in the first year would be the best-case scenario.

In subsequent years, the harvestable honey amount should grow.

This generated income amount is also based on the saleable retail price of $10 per pound, a price that has remained stable for several years.

Depending on the local economy, honey sells for anywhere from $5 to $15 per pound nationwide; but, in California, non-commercial honey can sell for $20 per pound.

Additionally, there is no problem selling whatever your bees can produce because there will always be more demand for local honey than there is supply.


  • Purchase both locally-made honey and brand-name honey from the grocery store and compare the two.
  • About 80% of all beehives are under the management of large commercial beekeepers, who frequently give their bees sugar water.
  • Plus, eating locally produced honey from native flowers may help reduce pollen allergies.
  • Please verify the guidelines in your area since there may be restrictions on selling honey to the general public.
Real vs Fake Honey
The honey on the right is from our hive.
Real honey does not have the clarity of fake honey!

For more information on fake vs. real honey, see my article:
Real vs Fake Honey: 17 DIY Home Tests

Higher prices can be achieved with specialized honey, such as blackberry honey., which can sell for about $1,000 per pound in the United States.

What Beekeeping Products Can I Make?

Beekeeping products, other than honey include pollen, lip balm, hand creams, candles, and pure beeswax bars.

In addition to selling honey, beekeeping goods can also be sold in many other ways.

Beekeeping Byproducts to Make:

  • Bee Pollen is expensive and commands a high price.
  • Lip Balm, a fantastic product.
  • Hand Cream, great for wintertime dry hands.
  • Candles, make your own special scent.
  • Pure Beeswax Bars are great for all those DIYers who want to make all the above products themselves.

Obscure Avenues Of Beekeepers Revenue:

  • Swarm removal from homes
  • Sell bee packages
  • Sell nuc colonies
  • Sell established beehives
  • Sell Queen Bees
Swarming bees
Swarm in a neighbor’s tree.
Free bees for the taking!

Swarm Removal: A great technique to expand your hive population without spending money on bees is to remove swarms from houses.
The nationwide average price to exterminate a swarm of bees is $450, with costs ranging from $150 to $1,170.

Sell bee packages: A bee package of one queen and 3 lbs of bees goes for about $175.

Sell nuc colonies: A 5-frame nuc with a Queen sells for $250.

Sell established beehives: Established beehives sell for about $350; something to consider when first getting started.

Sell Queen Bees: Queen bees are always in demand, and they sell individually for about $40 to $45 each, depending on the time of year.

How Will A Backyard Beekeeping Home-Based Business Save On Taxes?

Backyard beekeepers, as taxpayers attempting to earn income, are allowed to claim a home-based business and write off a portion of the housing costs such as mortgage, utilities, and maintenance costs.

The IRS views all small businesses, especially home-based firms, positively because they create the majority of jobs in America.

These home-based tax savings write-offs are usually enough by themselves to pay for any start-up costs such as beehives, protective clothing, and beekeeping tools.

The IRS allows a home-based business to write off any home expenses attributable to the home-based business, such as internet, electricity, and even a portion of your mortgage, simply because there is office space in the home designated for the beekeeping business.

There is no requirement to incorporate, set up an LLC, or even get a business license to claim business deductions from a backyard beekeeping business. All that is required is to file a Schedule C Form 1040 when filing the tax returns.

Read the rules for Home Business Tax Deduction from NOLO Press.

Tax Savings Example:

Let’s say you keep an office in your house where you can conduct internet research, write checks for business-related expenses, and perhaps even use QuickBooks or another accounting program to keep track of your business (also tax-deductible as a business expense).

Let’s say the entire square footage of your home is 10% office space.

You may deduct 10% of your mortgage, electricity, water, internet, and other monthly payments from your taxes (please consult your accountant for guidance on this).

That may result in several IRS write-offs.

Don’t forget about your automobile either; the IRS enables you to deduct $.55 per mile from your income for any business-related miles you drive (to get supplies, attend meetings, etc.).

Sometimes I really love the IRS!

How Will A Backyard Beekeeping Homebased Business Make My Money Go Further?

A home-based backyard beekeeping business allows the taxpayer to purchase equipment and pay other expenses with pre-tax dollars, effectively lowering the price of the item or expense by the combined percent of state and federal taxes the taxpayer is taxed on ordinary income.

A home-based backyard business is allowed to purchase business-related items with Pre-Tax Dollars, such as the initial start-up cost of bee hives, smokers, bee suits, and everything else needed to get started.

Makes My Money Go Further Example:

Purchases With Pre-Tax Dollars:
Let me give you an example of the value of spending pre-tax dollars.
Let’s use an iPad as an example (but it could just as easily be any beekeeping equipment).

Being an Employee Without a Business:

  • Assume that you don’t run a home-based business and that an iPad costs $1,000.
  • Let’s imagine your overall tax rate is 30% because of the IRS and State taxes.
  • In order to pay taxes on that $1,000, you would need to make an additional $300.
  • To buy the $1,000 iPad, you would need to earn $1,300.

As the proprietor of a home-based business:

  • You are permitted to deduct some costs from your W2 compensation, such as the costs associated with purchasing new equipment. You may actually deduct your home-based business expenses from your salary related to your employment with the IRS!
  • You can do this by using a simple one-page document called Schedule C on your tax return.

So let’s take another look at that $1,000 iPad:

  • Even though you still had to pay $1,000 for the iPad, you did so with pre-tax money since you may claim the expense on your Schedule C when you submit your taxes as a business expense.
  • You may write off the $1,000 you earned to buy the iPad as a business expense, so instead of paying $300 in taxes on the $1,000 wages, you pay no taxes at all.
  • You only need to make $1,000 in order to buy an iPad now, as opposed to $1,300.
  • A $300 saving!

That is the benefit of the IRS permitting you to use pre-tax money

For investors:
Beekeeping can be a successful business strategy that generates revenue much more quickly than most start-ups.

For environmentalists:
When compared to other environmentally friendly activities like installing solar panels and driving electric vehicles, beekeeping is a rewarding, affordable business that has a significant beneficial environmental impact. Furthermore, I believe it to be much more environmentally friendly than the bulk of the alternatives.
Your backyard and immediate environs are also affected!

For hobbyists:
When compared to other hobbies, beekeeping is, at best, inexpensive and can be very profitable.
Most hobbies, like golf, don’t pay you to engage. The initial cost of your equipment will be several hundred dollars, and each time you play golf, the green fees are expensive.

How Much Does It Cost To Get Started In Backyard Beekeeping?

A complete 10-frame hive, beekeeping suit, and beekeeping tools for a startup backyard hive will cost less than $275. The cost of the bees will be about $200.

Final Thoughts:

  • Large commercial beekeeping operations, which primarily rent their bee hives to farmers that require agricultural pollination, own and run 80% of all bee colonies.
  • Why not make it simpler to pollinate your flowers and vegetables by keeping your own bees, because 20% of bees in the wild typically assist you with this task?
  • According to estimates from backyard gardeners, having a beehive on your property will enhance the production of your flowers and vegetables by roughly 35%.
  • The consensus among beekeepers is that a person should start with a minimum of two hives just in case one hive has problems, but many newcomers start with just one hive.

Come on, let’s start keeping bees to save the environment and earn some money at the same time.

In addition, seeing the bees perform their magic and learning how a beehive functions are entertaining.

For more information on beekeeping, see my other articles on beekeeping.

Wishing You a Happy And Profitable Beekeeping!

Paying It Forward

Robert Donaldson

I am Elizabeth's father, a physical therapist, and someone who has completely landscaped our family home's nearly 1/2 acre lot after losing our home and landscape to the Thomas wildfire in 2017. All landscaping was done to accommodate our wildlife friends, especially the birds and bees.

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