German beekeepers are now an average of 60 years old due to a drop-off in new, young recruits. To make up for the shortfall in personnel, many have resorted to hiring out their hives.
Germans eat 1.4 kilos of honey annually per head. The industry faces problems on various fronts, from a decreasing bee population, to overfertilization, and excessive use of pesticides. The main problem, however, is the dwindling number of beekeepers. There are now just 400 professionals – and supplies would be even lower were it not for Germany’s 80,000 amateur beekeepers. The search is now on for outsiders willing to hire a hive. It may not be a lucrative pasttime, but it certainly is fun.