Beekeepers operate beehives to produce honey and related products such as beeswax, pollen, royal jelly, propolis (bee glue and bee antiseptic) and queen bees, and to pollinate seed, fruit, nut and vegetable crops. Beekeepers also operate beehives to assist with the pollination of seed, fruit, nut and vegetable crops.
You can work as a beekeeper without formal qualifications, but employers usually require Year 10. You will probably get some informal training on the job. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications. You may like to consider a VET qualification in beekeeping. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at http://www.goodcareersguide.com.au or institution handbooks. Some previous beekeeping experience gained through hobby activities, as well as some knowledge of botany and skills in woodwork and metalwork, may also be an advantage. Work experience with a commercial operator is recommended.
Beekeepers may perform the following tasks:
Beekeepers travel a lot, examining honey and pollen flora and transporting beehives by truck from site to site as plants start flowering. Much of their time is spent outdoors and away from home. Many wear protective clothing such as overalls, gloves and hats with nets attached to protect their faces.
Commercial beekeepers require at least 500 beehives in order to make a living. These hives are moved many times throughout the year to take advantage of flowering times in different parts of the country. Work may be seasonal. The increasing local demand for queen bees and packaged bees may provide some additional part-time positions. The cost of a full commercial venture is high, covering hives, trucks and associated extracting equipment. Beekeepers usually purchase a small plot of land (about two hectares) in an area of low human population to accommodate building honey-extraction equipment and storage sheds, a workshop and living quarters.