Why is the NZ Honey Industry going crazy?

And how can you benefit from it?

Beehives along a fence - an increasingly familiar sight

Beehives along a fence - an increasingly familiar sight

If you wanted to invest in an industry that was growing exponentially, then beekeeping is the thing for sure. For this decade at least.

So, what's been happening?

Back in 2010 there were around 3000 registered beekeepers. And you need to be registered to keep bees, so in theory that is everybody who has bees.

By September this year (2016) it is expected there will be 7000 registered beeks. That's a crazy increase of 4000, or more than double (133% increase) in only 6 years.

But that's not all....Back in 2010 there were around 375,000 hives, give or take a few. By September its expected there will be 700,000 hives. That's 186% increase.

So, not only are there more beeks in the industry, but each beek on average has more hives too.

But that's just averages right? In reality, it is estimated that around 2/3 of the beekeepers have 2 years or less experience. And most of these will be in the category they call 'Hobbyists', meaning they have up to 50 hives - this category has gone from around 2500 to say 5800ish. 50 hives IS a lot to have in your backyard, so I guess some hobbyists are more determined than others, and some might just be figuring the ropes before they grow. 

But quite a few newbies will also be in the Semi-commercial (owning 50-350 hives) and Commercial (350-truck loads) categories. Where there's money, there are entrepreneurs, and hopefuls, and smart cookies, and quick movers.

And if you look at the stats closely, most of the hive increases are for the big commercial boys and girls. The big guys (unisex term :-) ) are getting REALLY BIG.

And why? Because of the amazing, and recently discovered, properties of manuka honey and its application in medical and hospital situations. The price for a kg of true manuka honey is just rocketing. And, not unlike the Auckland house market, if I put a price on it here, it'll be out-of-date before you know it. So I'll stick to words like thriving, and flourishing, and gangbusters.

You get the picture.

Oh, but back in 1906 the first national census showed there were 15,000 beekeepers, owning 75,000 hives. That's 5 each, on average. And from the old pictures, a lot were women, complete with Victorian dress.

So, what do you think? Is this something you want more information on? Let me know in the comments below.