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Hey everybody! So I'm sort of still in high school and exploring options right now, and I got a summer job (possibly longer but you know how the season goes for beekeepers) working for a friend of a friend. I have yet to learn many things, including the viability of beekeeping as a career. Last month I purchased the necessary constituents for two beehives along with carniolan bees, the stock with which I plan to stay. Last week already one hive (marginally stronger in number) shot off a swarm, and that hive seemed quite near in numbers to where it was before, there seemed to be little adverse effect in consequence of reproducing. This got me thinking, if my overwintered hives reproduce next year and in likeness thereafter, by the time I am ready to pursue a career I could, by my count, have a noticeably larger apiary (that was a joke:). ) It comes to me that with my upbringing, I most probably will maintain a separate job for monetary purposes, and with the help of relatives I am sure that money will not be a problem (though I know things get expensive in large number as they do with 300+ hives.) Given all the above, and as I have mentioned once already, my inquiry relates to the possibility of becoming a beekeeper, eventually as my only job. I know it's been done many a time, but for those who have successfully followed this path, would I do better to pursue police work or some marketing career? Do you need to become a high production manufacturer of hive components or a high volume marketer of hive products to make a decent amount of money? Thanks for reading through my heavy worded request, and be sure that all serious responses will be greatly appreciated!
 

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if my overwintered hives reproduce next year and in likeness thereafter, by the time I am ready to pursue a career I could, by my count, have a noticeably larger apiary (that was a joke. )
Not necessarily a joke...if you learn to manage them well. There is a book called "Increase Essentials" that you may find interesting to read.

would I do better to pursue police work or some marketing career?
Who can say? There are a lot of variables that come into play here, things like how much money you want/need to live in a manner that you find acceptable, whether you would actually like keeping bees for a living (at a level that will provide that income), etc.

would I do better to pursue police work or some marketing career?
Police work is very different from marketing, at at this point it would be impossible for any of us to say whether you would be suited to either.

Do you need to become a high production manufacturer of hive components or a high volume marketer of hive products to make a decent amount of money?
What, exactly, do you consider a "decent amount of money"? You must first determine the amount of income you would like to produce, in order to begin evaluating whether any particular endeavor is capable of providing it, and what level of effort/action it might take to produce that amount.

Some young folks make the mistake of choosing a particular career, without having the slightest idea whether that career is capable of generating the amount of income they want/need. This is bass-ackwards. One must first determine the amount of income desired, then investigate whether a particular career-path has the potential to achieve it, and balance that against the time and dollar costs that will need to be invested in education, training and start-up/ramp-up to reach a particular level. It is often the case that one may invest a significant amount of time and money in education, only to find that after completion he/she is saddled with debt but the field will not supply enough income to pay off the debt and provide a comfortable living for a long time, if ever.
 

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You only get one life, if you are interested in beekeeping then i say go for it. Take some college courses in entomology or biology and get atleast an associates from the community college. While you do that, build up a beekeeping business. Always have a plan B incase things dont plan out as you expected.
 

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look at 3 or 4 aspects of beekeeping you think might interest you. find people successfully doing those things and study what they are saying. see if there is an opportunity to work for them. there are people making a living lots of ways in this business. there are others who show up with lots of money and leave with less. i had lots of jobs, lots of plans, an apprenticeship and a family before i considered making a living with bees. the commercial beeks will tell you that there are easier ways to make more money. If you want to keep bees you find a way to make it pay.
 

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Get a degree in business, with a minor in science and agriculture, (or vice versa, an ag degree with a minor in business) while working as much as possible for commercial beekeepers to build your hands-on experience with beekeeping. Although it may not seem directly important at the outset those business courses are what will give you the tools to make a better living doing what you love. They will also increase your worth to prospective employers and business partners in the future.

There is a big need to get younger people into beekeeping. Aside from direct beekeeping careers, there are other ways: bee supply vendors, bee brokers, queen bee raising and selling, even bee inspectors. And with graduate degrees, there is research to be done on bee diseases and pests and bee biology.

If you can figure out how to keep your hives reliably alive from year to year (not a small challenge), then you will not lack for stock, just $$$ for more equipment. While still studying keep your hive numbers down to what you can handle and keep in extremely good condition.

Good luck to you!
 

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Beekeeping is agriculture - please remember that you can do everything "right" and still fail.

To me the important question is do you eventually want to work for yourself? If the answer if yes, and the ag bit doesn't scare you, find someone you can work for and learn from.

You'll find lots of places to provide you with taught information, but you'll want to augment that working for someone who is to your view a success. Learn from both.
 

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Who is this beekeeper you have a job with? How many hives do they run? Is it a full time job? If you have a job with a beekeeper, after a short while you will know whether you want to continue working for them, doing what beekeepers do. If you aren't able to make it through the Summer working for this beekeeper, you might want to pursue some other career path.

Whatever you do, get a credentialed education. Beekeeping will always be there as a career if you still want it in 6 or 10 years, but now is the time to get your higher education. I am a commercial beekeeper. I have children of my own. I would feel I did my children a disservice if I had not encouraged them to gain a higher education. After which, if they wish to work for me, eventually take over if they wish, that would be fine with me.

It's farming. It isn't for everyone. What are your other interests?
 

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Get a degree in business, with a minor in science and agriculture, (or vice versa, an ag degree with a minor in business) while working as much as possible for commercial beekeepers to build your hands-on experience with beekeeping.
:thumbsup:
 

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Get a degree in business, with a minor in science and agriculture, (or vice versa, an ag degree with a minor in business) while working as much as possible for commercial beekeepers to build your hands-on experience
....and a minor in Spanish would be helpful as well....seriously. Your young. Learn, explore, you are still "sort of in high school". Commercial beekeeping is a pretty unique occupation, you may love it, you may hate it but if you have a genuine interest don't let anyone discourage you.
 

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I agree with the people who say get more education.
Now is the easiest time to do it, and it isn't heavy or hard to carry around with you.
Whatever you take will enhance your life later, even if only to make you more interesting.

One think I didn't see mentioned is that you will never get younger, and beekeeping is necessarily physical.
Is that what you think you want for a full time job when you're 50, or 55 ?
I retired 4 1/2 years ago, and have no problem dealing with my few hives, but I'm not sure I could do it all day.
Good luck!!
 

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Personal opinion, the first question is not if you are going to college but where (and for what). As to beekeeping as a career, lets talk again at the end if summer and see if we need to draft a business plan that is manageable with your studies. Not meant to be a downer for you enthusiasm, consider it a long term plan with options.
 

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....and a minor in Spanish would be helpful as well....seriously. Your young. Learn, explore, you are still "sort of in high school". Commercial beekeeping is a pretty unique occupation, you may love it, you may hate it but if you have a genuine interest don't let anyone discourage you.
If you want a job with a commercial beekeeper, I can get you Jim's contact info. :) Then, at the end of the Summer you'll know whether you are really cut out for the life. Consider it "Beekeeper Boot Camp".
 

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And if you show up at Jim's wearing your favorite pair of hiking boots with gaiters on and a tulle veil tucked into your pocket, you'll be in like Flynn!
 
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