First Steps

For a few, bee farming is the family business, passed down through the generations.

For many, a hobby interest in beekeeping gradually develops into something more serious. This is often the case for those operating a part-time small business, supplying honey wholesale to local shops or retailing direct through farmers’ markets, etc.

For others, an opportunity for a career change, along with the availability of some capital funds, is the stimulus. These individuals may or may not have prior experience of managing bees. Redundancy or retiring from the armed forces, for example, may provide such an opportunity.

For those already in the farming sector, bee farming may offer the ideal diversification opportunity.

The Bee Farmers’ Association and Rowse Honey have developed a unique apprenticeship scheme for those wishing to develop a career in bee farming.

Starting a Business

It is possible to build a business from scratch. This can require significant capital investment in equipment and stocks of bees. It will also be necessary to find suitable apiary sites and to find customers for your products. It is sometimes possible to buy a business as a going concern from a retiring bee farmer, with an established reputation and a list of customers.


There are limited opportunities for employment within the sector in the UK. Jobs can and do become available but are not widely advertised. Overseas, there are opportunities in some countries in Europe and countries such as the USA, Australia and New Zealand. Some choose to gain experience in large commercial bee farming operations abroad and use this to help gain employment or start their own business here in the UK.

Help and Information

If you are wanting to start a bee farming business, or to  find a way in to the sector, the Bee Farmers’ Association can help. It provides a range of services, information, support and training to help businesses at all stages of maturity.