Honey is experiencing a renaissance, as people discover not only its health benefits, but just how delicious it is. If you live on a rural property, you may able to harvest fresh honey for tea or pastries right from your backyard, by taking up beekeeping.
Bees are essential pollinators to keep our gardens blooming and our fruits and vegetables producing healthy crops. If you are looking for a rewarding and exciting new hobby, beekeeping offers many benefits.
Honey is delicious, and eating it is the primary reason that humans began beekeeping thousands of years ago. Honey has incredible health properties–it contains antioxidants to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, soothes sore throat pain, boosts immune systems, and carries essential proteins and vitamins. Consuming local honey can decrease pollen allergies by exposing and acclimating your immune system to it.
Some people worry that by harvesting honey, we are taking the source of food for the bees. If that were the case though, beekeeping would not exist as a practice. When beekeepers harvest honey, they make sure to leave more than enough to sustain the bees. Removing the extra honey actually helps keep the colony healthy and thriving–the bees have more room to raise larvae, and it prevents the colony from swarming. Honey is only harvested over the course of a few months in mid- to late-summer when production is at its peak so that the bees have plenty of time to store up honey for the winter.
Beeswax and Other Honey Byproducts
Honey isn’t the only item that bees produce. They also make beeswax, the material from which honeycomb is made. When harvested it can be used to create candles, soaps, moisturizers, lip balms, and creams. You can easily start a small side business making and selling these products; alternatively, they make wonderful, heartfelt gifts for friends and family. Propolis, also called “bee glue” is produced to seal cells in honeycombs and help block out drafts in the hive.
Pollination services: Keeping bees on your property will greatly increase the amount of pollination that occurs. You will see far greater amounts of fruits and vegetables than before you had a hive at home. Maintain a variety of plants and watch your garden grow! Many beekeepers even rent out their colonies to farmers to increase the amount of pollination in their crop fields.
Stress relief: Many beekeeping programs claim that working with bees is extremely calming and reduces stress. The process of checking and caring for a hive is methodical and slow, allowing the keeper to focus and clear their mind of any stress or cluttered thoughts. The buzzing can also help clear the mind, and the responsibility of caring for a hive may aid with depression and PTSD.
Save the bees: Conservation is often a key factor in one’s decision to keep bees. Our country’s bee populations have been declining significantly in recent years due to habitat loss from human development and climate changes like temperature extremes. By maintaining your hive, you provide a safe place for bees to thrive and can help prevent diseases by routinely checking the hive for mites and other pests that cause colony collapse.
Beekeeping requires significant research and dedication; however, once you get started and learn proper care and maintenance, it is a rewarding experience. Having a hive in your yard benefits your health, the health of your garden, and the health of these essential pollinators.
Do you love all aspects of gardening? Shop Big Earth Landscape Supply for tools, fertilizers, and even garden pathways and ornamental items. From beekeeping to growing herbs, you can produce a beautiful harvest right in your own backyard.