There are so many great reasons to keep honey bees.
Producing your own delicious honey, maybe selling some of it for some extra cash, pollinating the plants and flowers in your own garden and giving mother nature a helping hand... and just the sheer excitement of watching your own bees as they busy about their hive.
Beekeeping is an incredibly rewarding hobby.
Ask any beekeeper and they'll tell you, it really can become a bit of an obsession. The biggest problem with beekeeping is dragging yourself away!
Unless you are allergic to bee stings, the simple answer is yes. If you can garden, you can keep honey bees. In fact, even if you can’t garden... you can still be a beekeeper.
Many city dwellers are now keeping bees on rooftops or even on balconies.
This is rooftop beekeeping in Brooklyn, New York (Image courtesy Jeffrey Allen).
There are more than enough sources of nectar in parks, tree lined streets, community gardens, or even outside florist shops to keep city bees happy.
In fact, many people believe that city bees produce more and better honey than those kept in the countryside, simply because there is such a constant flow of varied nectar from all these sources.
Rural areas on the other hand now often have large tracts of land with just a single crop which only flowers once per year, which is not as good for the honey bee.
Add to that the overuse of pesticides, and rural bees are having a very hard time.
This is where the worker bees inexplicably leave the hive and simply disappear, never to be seen again.
This first occurred in 2006 in the Eastern United States. Since then, about one third of the honey bee population in the USA has been lost, and CCD is now a worldwide problem. In some colonies losses have been as high as 90%. Although research is ongoing, no one yet knows exactly what the cause is.
The issue is causing real concern for the future of the honey bee, and all the crops that rely on it for pollination.
One third of ALL the food we eat is pollinated by honey bees.
One positive from this is the raised awareness of the important role bees play in the natural world, and in securing our food supply – maybe you became interested in beekeeping because you’re worried about what’s happening to our honey bees.
It really doesn’t cost much to start beekeeping – apart from the basic beekeeping equipment, all you need to keep bees is a little bit of knowledge, and a lot of enthusiasm.
6 questions you need to ask before you start beekeeping... and we have the answers!
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So many choices... so what is the what type of beehive should you get?
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