Bees pollinate flowers which is how we get fruits and vegetables
Bees are known to be one of the most effective pollinators in the world. They play a crucial role in pollinating wild trees and shrubs, food crops, fruits, and vegetables. To put this in perspective, the Almond Board of California clearly states that without bees, there would be no almonds. The U.S. is the biggest producer of almonds in the world, with a production of 2.9 Billion pounds in the financial year 2021/2022. Almond producers in the U.S. rely solely on honeybees for pollination, and the tree cannot self-pollinate.
On a smaller scale, bees are frequent visitors to your typical kitchen garden, guaranteeing you get your zucchini, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and pumpkins. If these are not effectively pollinated the plants either fail to produce fruit or the fruit is misshapen, especially for fruits that have multiple seeds per fruit.
By keeping bees, we can create a conducive environment for pollinators to support plant growth and food production.
Bees highlight the need for biodiversity
Managed bee colonies are the lens researchers, conservationists, and policymakers use to increase conservation efforts. Many other pollinators have gone extinct because of our industrial and agricultural actions. Through beekeeping, more people become aware of the importance of floral diversity and the effect of pesticides and herbicides and embrace organic solutions where possible, which helps to maintain ecosystems around apiaries.
One key area that has the world’s attention is finding more efficient protein sources. Due to the strain that rearing cattle puts on the environment, including water consumption or the land it takes to feed them, we now look to insects. Pound for pound, insects have more protein than beef. According to Science Direct, beekeeping can provide honey, protein-containing drone broods and pollen, and yield-increasing pollination services. This can help to support local ecosystems and promote biodiversity.
Bees also play a vital role in building homes for other animals and insects. They help to pollinate tropical forest plants, which creates a home for many different species of animals.
Now, let’s look at how you stand to gain as an individual.
Honey is always in demand
One of the biggest problems facing the honey industry is adulteration. Recently, a study in the UK indicated that all the honey sampled from store shelves was adulterated. Imagine how much more precious your honey is in light of such findings. Many people will pre-order honey from a beekeeper and wait months for a harvest rather than risk taking home a chemistry experiment in a jar labeled honey.
Honey, when handled appropriately, can remain safe for consumption for years, which is why it remains so valuable. You can find customers just by setting up a stand at your local farmer’s market. And, of course, you can make it an online business.
Sell wax as is, or add value and sell it for more.
Beeswax, rendered from the honeycomb bees build in the hive, is even more valuable than honey. Beeswax is used in various industries, including cosmetics, candles, and food. Beeswax candles are popular among consumers because they are natural, eco-friendly, and have a pleasant scent.
You can also use the wax to preserve beekeeping equipment or try foundationless beekeeping using your wax to make starter strips. Starter strips are thin strips of wax that you place in the frame of a hive to guide bees on where to construct honeycomb. They give bees the freedom to dictate how to build their honeycomb. It’s a simple way to observe the bees’ natural tendencies.
According to a study by MDPI, beeswax has economic benefits for beekeepers and can be sold at a high price in local markets and online.
Beekeeping provides an excellent opportunity for students to learn about the biology and behavior of bees. They can learn about the different types of bees, their roles in the hive, and the honey production process. Students can also gain hands-on experience in observing and caring for bees, which can help them develop an appreciation for the natural world.
Through beekeeping, students learn about the importance of pollinators in the ecosystem. They can learn about the role of bees in pollinating plants and the impact of habitat loss on bee populations.
Beekeeping can also provide students with valuable life skills, such as responsibility, teamwork, and problem-solving. It’s a rewarding and engaging activity that can inspire a lifelong interest in science and nature. In Wisconsin, Kenneth “Kip” Jacobs, an educator at the University of Milwaukee talks about how he uses beekeeping as a tool for children in this video, and its impact on the attitude of some of the most interested students.
Beekeeping provides a source of fresh, raw honey, which has numerous health benefits. Honey is a natural sweetener and contains antioxidants that can help protect against cellular damage. It’s also known to have antibacterial properties, which can help fight infections and promote wound healing. Honey may even help with digestive issues such as acid reflux and stomach ulcers.
Additionally, incorporating honey into your diet may help reduce the severity of allergy symptoms.
Royal jelly is a nutrient-rich substance that is used to boost the immune system and improve overall health. According to this study, royal jelly can help manage post-menopausal symptoms and aging-related diseases.
Propolis is a resinous substance that is used to treat various ailments, including colds, flu, and sore throat.
Bee venom therapy, or apitherapy, involves using bee venom to treat a variety of health conditions. While it may sound intimidating, bee venom therapy has been used for centuries and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. It’s often used to treat conditions such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and even cancer.
However, it’s important to note that bee venom therapy can be dangerous for those who are allergic to bee stings. It’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before attempting bee venom therapy.
Beekeeping is a relatively low maintenance cost activity that benefits the mind, body, and potential wallet.
It promotes biodiversity, the growth of trees and other vegetation, as well as water and soil conservation. Beekeeping has the potential to be a valuable addition to sustainable agriculture and rural development. By supporting individual beekeeping activities as a local industry, we can help promote economic growth and community development.
However, it’s important to note that beekeeping must be done responsibly and with respect for the environment. Careful management of bee colonies is necessary to prevent negative impacts on wild bee populations and other pollinators.
It has its fair share of challenges, but any experience worth having always does, doesn’t it?