One idea that you might consider is buying the operation over time, say 3 to 5 years. You agree with the owner to pay a certain amount in 3 or 5 yearly installments. You make the offer based on the expected price for the operation and the amount you conservatively think you will make from honey sales.
In other words, use the owner as a bank: You get started with the business, he defers payment for most of it based on his expectation that you will succeed and make good on your promise to pay $x each year.
You may think that this is asking a lot of the owner, and it is, but you may not have much competition for buying the operation. So, in effect, you may be his only buyer, or, if other potential buyers are located at a distance, you may be the one that the owner finds easiest to sell to. And, if the price you agree on is fair to him, it might be the best price he can get--better than from nearby commercial beekeepers.
This idea turns your hard work over the 3 to 5 years into full business ownership without getting a loan (i.e., without taking on debt).
Finally, I'm impressed with the insights provided above on this thread. They all add up to planning to set aside time and money to meet the unexpected.
Best to you! You've got the gumption and confidence that are needed. And the wisdom to ask for help and insight as you did here!