Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.
Beekeeping and Honey
Apiculture, the study and keeping of bees, often
begins as a hobby which can later be expanded
into a small business. A beekeeping enterprise
can provide marketable honey and serve as a
source of pollinators for nearby cultivated crops.
Market and Market Outlook
The honey market is currently very strong,
especially for locally-produced honey and
specialty honey. A beekeeper producing a quality
product can easily sell out before the next season’s
crop is ready. Honey produced from the nectar
of certain trees, such as tulip poplar, sourwood,
and basswood, often brings a premium price.
health food stores, roadside stands, agritourism
sites, and Kentucky-crafted stores or booths.
Beekeepers producing large crops may consider
selling honey in bulk to a honey packer.
Honey can be marketed in several forms. Comb
honey consists of chunks of honey-filled combs
taken directly from the hive. Because it is the
easiest to produce and the cheapest to package
and market, comb honey is often recommended
for beginning beekeepers. While the price is not
as high as for other types, there is usually a ready
market. extraCted honey, which is generally
preferred by most consumers,
is the liquid portion once it has
been separated from the comb.
Specialty products such as
honey butter and whipped honey are made from
extracted honey. Chunk honey is a combination of
comb honey and extracted honey bottled together.
The U.S. demand for beeswax, a secondary
product of bee activity, is greater than the domestic
market can produce. The beekeeping industry,
which uses beeswax to form wax foundation for
the frames in the hive, is one of the largest users
of this byproduct. There is also a high demand
for pure beeswax candles.
royal jelly, a substanc