Young entrepreneur raises honeybees for you

On Friday afternoon, Patrick Harrison, 22, mixed up a bucket of sugar water to feed the quarter-million honeybees living in the backyard of his childhood home in Dumont, New Jersey.

"You can't get more local honey than your own backyard," Harrison said.

And that right there about summarizes the white paper for Harrison's startup: HarBee Beekeeping.

"People wanting to have bees in the backyard but not wanting to be the beekeepers themselves," Harrison said, describing his ideal client.

In his first summer out of school, this Ramapo College environmental science major offers a concierge beekeeping service: $800 a year for one hive and $500 for every additional hive. Harrison registers the bees with the state, provides all of the woodwork, cares for the bees, and harvests their honey.

"One bee only produces a tenth of a teaspoon of honey," Harrison said.

But one hive can produce as much as 60 pounds of honey a year.

"For a beekeeper," Harrison said, "one person can easily manage, full-time work, 150 hives."

In this, his first summer in business, Harrison manages hives for just five customers in addition to 18 hives of all his own bee's wax on a nearby farm. He believes if he could build his client base to 75, he could stay busy with HarBee Beekeeping as a full-time job, seven days a week in spring and summer until the bees hibernate for the winter months.

"They vibrate their wing muscles and they'll keep that cluster warm inside these boxes all winter long," Harrison said. "So while they're doing that, a beekeeper relaxes a little bit."

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