Beekeeping in South Africa

© Waugsberg
Pollen of different colours as well as some bee larvae in the uncapped cells can be seen here.

The most important thing new beekeepers in South Africa will need when starting beekeeping is knowledge. You will need to understand the specific technique to manage bees, the hive structure, the bee’s tasks, its body and how it feeds, its favourite foods, predators and diseases. Honeybees in South Africa are tricky and intricate to manage, but there are various market-related opportunities in beekeeping.

If you want to start bee farming in South Africa, new beekeepers will also need a swarm (or bee colony), a hive and a place to put the hive, close enough to a food source for bees. (A good source of forage and water will produce an excellent yield of honey). Protective clothing and some tools to work with the hive and colony will also be needed. offers prospective bee farmers a chance to learn more about commercial beekeeping in South Africa, with tools provided by industry experts and a range of articles related to bee farming, honey farms, bee-products and how to start beekeeping. 

Bee-related Products as Medicine

Apitherapy is essentially 'bee therapy' and is the use of bee products for the treatment and prevention of diseases. According to the American Apitherapy Society, these bee-related products include honey, pollen...more

Beehives for New Bee Farmers

A hive is where the bees will live, raise new bees, keep their egg-laying queen safe and produce honey and other substances for feed....more

Beekeeping Statistics in South Africa

The profile of beekeepers in South Africa (SA) does not differ much from the rest of the world. Less than 5% of beekeepers in SA own the land where they keep less than 5% of their bees....more

Bees and Pollination

Bees are ‘famous’ for their honey (and other products) that they produce. But there has been an increasing awareness of the important service bees provide by pollinating plants....more

Bees and Pollination Requirements for Crops

Apart from registering their hives, there are certain requirements for beekeepers to provide pollination services to food crops....more

Bees and Their Products

Honey is the golden sweet sticky substance made by bees and other insects. Mainly used by bees to feed their brood, it has been used by humans for thousands of years to sweeten food, make alcohol and is used in cosmetics, to make candles...more

Bees and Their Social Structure

Honeybees are social insects and live in large colonies. Each colony contains one fertile female, the queen, and many thousands of worker bees, sterile females, but for a few months during summer a colony will also contain a few hundred males...more

Challenges and Opportunities for Beekeepers

In South Africa, honeybees and their related products (e.g. honey, beeswax, propolis) and services (pollination for crop production) contribute over R16 billion annually (2016). This includes almost 180 000 jobs within the industry....more

Honeybees and Pollen

Pollen is a substance produced by the anthers of seed-bearing plants. It consists of fine pollen grains containing male gametes (a plant’s sperm cells)....more

How to Start Beekeeping

The commercial beekeeper will be able to supply pollination services and produce bee-related products such as honey, propolis and wax and may be able to teach and mentor new beekeepers....more

Pests and Diseases of Bees

Being knowledgeable about honeybee pests and diseases is important for beekeepers to ensure healthier swarms and better quality bee-related products....more

The Feeding of Honey Bees

Stronger well-fed bees are likely to better survive droughts and winter and rear more young bees than those that did not receive supplementary bee feeding....more

The Importance of Honey Bees

Pollinators, in general, provide a wide range of benefits to humans. Our well-being depends heavily on various ecosystems and their functions. To a large extent, pollinators drive and maintain the good health of these ecosystems....more

The Medicinal Value of Honey

Apart from being a nutritious and energy providing food, honey has been known since ancient times to be antimicrobial and antibacterial. It was used by Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Chinese healers to treat diseases...more

Water for Bees

Honey bees need water for two main purposes. Firstly, water is used to dilute crystallised honey so that it can be added to brood food. Secondly, honeybees need water to cool their hive....more

What Do I Need to Start Beekeeping?

The most important thing new beekeepers in South Africa will need when starting beekeeping is knowledge. You will need to understand the specific technique to manage bees, the hive structure, the bee’s tasks, its body and how it feeds...more