A beekeeper earns money based on the number of hives on the farm. Honey and wax products are the crops that provide a bee farmer's income. The more hives a bee farmer keeps, the more honey he collects to create revenue. Beekeeper salaries vary by location and depend largely upon the size of the farm.
Average Beekeeper Salaries
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) groups beekeepers with farmers, ranchers and agricultural managers. The bureau collects data by polling groups and reporting the results from those who respond. The BLS reports median weekly beekeepers' income, along with all other farmers, ranchers and farm managers, at $775 as of 2008. That puts average annual beekeeper salaries at $40,300. This average varies in different parts of the country, due to variables that influence the market.
Each hive only takes up four square feet of agricultural or ranching land. That means it takes less than one eighth of an acre to hold over 100 hives. A hive puts out about $220 worth of bee wax and honey per year. A rancher can set up a hundred hives to keep bees handy for pollinating crops, and collect the honey and wax to sell for over $20,000 each year.
During the fall and winter months, the hives need little attention. The warmer months bring the bees to collect pollen and make honey and wax. Every hive needs around 15 minutes of work per week. One worker can perform the necessary tasks to maintain 100 hives and collect the products in less than 30 hours a week, for six months out of the year. At that rate, a beekeeper earns over $40 per hour.
According to Simply Hired.com, a New York beekeeper earns an average of $61,000 per year, but annual beekeeper salaries in Alabama are an average of 45,000. A California bee farmer's income averages $59,000 a year, while a beekeeper in Colorado earns $56,000 per year. Local market demand for bee products dictates a beekeeper's earnings.