Thinking of raising honey bees in your backyard? Besides producing delicious local honey and wax, honeybees pollinate garden flowers and plants, giving them a big boost. Bees are also quite independent! Learn the basics of beekeeping and whether it’s right for you.
Almost anyone can master the skills necessary to be a good beekeeper. Your journey to successful beekeeping begins with preparation. You should learn all that you can about beehive management before your bees arrive. Here are some things to consider about keeping bees.
Save the Bees
The plight of the honey bee is well known. In addition to the mystery of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and the fears concerning pesticide use, a parasitic mite has decimated the honey bee population. It is believed that 90% of feral honey bee colonies and 50% of managed colonies died after the Verroa Mite spread throughout the U.S. in the late ’80s and early ’90s. The Verroa mite continues to be the biggest threat to bees. This huge loss of feral bees, as well as managed honey bees, has made an even greater need for new beekeepers to take up beekeeping and build up the honey bee population. Without honey bees, many of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts we love will be gone and the cost of many others will rise considerably due to a large drop in yields.
Honey is probably the obvious answer. Most beekeepers want to produce fresh honey. A single bee can produce 1/12 teaspoon of honey in her lifetime (about 6 weeks), and with a colony consisting of thousands of bees, that can add up quickly.
If you want better yield from your orchards and gardens, honey bees can help. Raising honey bees ensures better pollination of flowering plants. This means more food for ourselves and wildlife. Honey bees are the heroes of pollination efforts for modern agriculture.
Beeswax is another popular product that comes from bees. Worker honey bees produce wax from special glands on their abdomen. The beeswax is formed into a honeycomb and becomes the structure of their home. We use beeswax also. It is used in candle-making and cosmetics. Many creams and lipsticks contain beeswax.
Bees tend to favor some types of flowers over others. If you wish to grow more of an underserved plant species, bees are the perfect pollinators for promoting this growth. Worker bees have bodies that are optimized for pollen transfer. From their feet to their wings, bees inadvertently collect and transfer pollen from the anther of one plant to the stigma of another. The result is a more biodiverse garden for your home.
Connect with the Environment
Becoming a beekeeper will immediately increase your awareness of the environment around you. Starting with an increased interest in the weather, which has a definite impact on your honey production. You will begin to care about and follow what is currently in bloom so that you know what pollen and nectar source your bees are able to get food from. You will want to educate yourself about what row crops are being planted in your area and what types of pesticides are being sprayed on them. When you become a beekeeper your bees’ success depends on the environment around you and you will therefore find yourself paying closer attention to it.
Many are searching for ways to be more self-sufficient and live a more sustainable lifestyle. Keeping bees is a great first step down this path! When done right, a beekeeper can sustain their hive numbers through a process of splits to replace bee losses and grow their beekeeping operation.
As far as small-scale farming, compared to purchasing chickens and a chicken coop, goats and fencing, or other livestock, beekeeping is an affordable step into a sustainable lifestyle. Beehives also take much less space than chickens and goats and can be located in your backyard or even rooftop. Making beekeeping the first step to a sustainable lifestyle for many.
Where would we be without bees? As far as important species go, they are top of the list. They are critical pollinators: they pollinate 70 of the around 100 crop species that feed 90% of the world. Honey bees are responsible for $30 billion (INR 3000 Crores ) a year in crops.
That’s only the start. We may lose all the plants that bees pollinate, all of the animals that eat those plants, and so on up the food chain. This means a world without bees could struggle to sustain a global human population of 7 billion.
Want to stop this?
BECOME A BEEKEEPER!