Whether you’re a beginner beekeeper, intermediate, or very experienced, at some point you will explore the option of selling bees for profit. But what is a realistic amount of money I can sell my bees for?
You can earn between $175 to $220 per Nucleus Colony (NUC), $140 to $185 per Package of Bees, and $34 to $45 per Queen bee. The prices will vary depending on the breed of the bees, overwintering, the size of the colony, and your local region.
You may simply be interested in recouping some of your costs or maybe selling bees as another complimentary income stream for your beekeeping business. I’ll explore the different options you should consider as you plan to sell your bees.
Can You Make Money Selling Bees
The majority of beekeepers simply start beekeeping as a hobby but eventually you can end up with a lot of extra bees as your stronger colonies require splits. So why not make some extra money selling your bees.
And for other available income streams, hold up for just a bit, I wrote an article all about how many beehives it takes to make a living that I encourage you to read!
The most common methods of making income from selling bees is to sell nucleus colonies or NUC’s, packages of bees, and queen bees. I’ve broken down each method and how much money you can realistically earn.
Selling Nucleus Colonies (NUC’s)
The easiest method for selling bees and what most beekeepers begin with is selling NUC’s. It is a very straightforward method since you are simply selling your splits from your stronger colonies. Although this does require purchasing queens or raising your own queens to include with the nucleus colonies.
Many beekeepers, whom sell NUC’s on a regular basis, simply import or purchase queen bees locally rather than raise their own queens.
As an added bonus, it’s been my experience that nucleus colonies always sell out fast. Customers will order months in advance to ensure they receive the NUC’s in the spring or early summer.
And if you’re not sure what a NUC is, I wrote an article explaining the differences between nucleus colonies and a package of bees that I recommend you read!
Beginner and experienced beekeepers will purchase bees this way to either begin building their colonies, expand their apiary, or simply recoup winter losses.
Keep in mind that if you sell NUC’s that have been overwintered you can demand a higher price. You can also demand a higher price depending on the breed and charge a little extra for marking the queen bee for your customer.
Here is the price range for selling Nucleus colonies based on Country:
United States – $175 to $220. The overwintered colonies and Saskatraz breed will sell for the higher price range. These prices are in US dollars.
Canada – $240 to $325. The overwintered colonies and Saskatraz breed will sell for the higher price range. These prices are in Canadian dollars.
United Kingdom – £200 to £325. The overwintered colonies will also sell for the higher price range. These prices are in Pound sterling.
Australia – $275 to $425. The overwintered colonies will sell for a higher price range. These prices are in Australian dollars.
The price you charge will also vary on whether you sell 4 frame, 5 frame (standard), or 6 frame nucleus colonies. You can also include a NUC as a package deal with all the equipment a beginner beekeeper would require. This is a very common method to earn extra income from your apiary.
Selling Packages Of Bees
This isn’t as common a method for beekeepers to earn income from selling bees. Selling packages of bees is mostly dominated by large commercial beekeeping operations. There are a few smaller beekeepers that do sell packages of bees but its uncommon.
And if you want more info about packages of bees, hold up for just a bit, I wrote an article all about what a package of bees is and what’s included that I encourage you to read!
It can be a bit more involved since you have to ship the package of bees and the bees are usually from several different colonies. The mated queen bee included hasn’t been fully accepted by this new colony, and this new colony is very weak. You will also incur losses due to shipping.
Here is the price range for selling Packages of Bees based on Country:
United States – $140 to $185 for 3 lbs. of bees. The Saskatraz breed will sell for the higher price range.These prices are in US dollars.
Canada – $260 to $340 for 1kg to 1.5kg of bees. The Saskatraz breed will sell for the higher price range.These prices are in Canadian dollars.
United Kingdom – £210 to £235 for 1.3kg of bees. These prices are in Pound sterling.
Australia – $195 to $225 for 4lbs of bees. These prices are in Australian dollars.
The above prices don’t include the cost of shipping.
Selling Queen Bees
This a very common method for experienced beekeepers to earn additional income. It requires a lot of beekeeping experience and their is a certain finesse to queen rearing. This maybe an option as you gain more experience in your beekeeping journey since queen rearing is a very involved process and requires specialty equipment.
The price you can demand for a queen bee will vary on the breed you’re selling with the Saskatraz queen bee and Russian hybrid being in the higher price range. You can also charge a little extra, $3-4 dollars, for marking the queen for your customer.
Here is the price range for selling Queen Bees based on Country:
United States – $34 to $45 per queen. These prices are in US dollars.
Canada – $45 to $65 per queen. These prices are in Canadian dollars.
United Kingdom – £38 to £55 per queen. UK bred queen bees will sell for the higher price range. These prices are in Pound sterling.
Australia – $35 to $55 per queen. These prices are in Australian dollars.
The price ranges I’ve listed above are based on the average prices demanded across a wide number of regions in each Country. They are very realistic price ranges but please keep in mind these are only estimates and I urge you to double check the pricing being demanded in your local region.
I didn’t include the sale of full bee colonies for several reasons. This isn’t a very common method of making a reasonably reliable income from beekeeping due to the sale of full colonies being heavily regulated in certain regions.
Most Countries and regions are very strict about the sale of full bee colonies due to the potential of spreading disease and pests. Mismanagement of colonies has lead to the introduction of diseases and pests that we’re never before an issue in certain regions.
Selling your bee colones can be a source of income but you need to be very familiar with your local laws and regulations in your region.