Why Keep Bees?
Keeping Bees is an amazing experience;enlightening,humbling,educational and rewarding.Keeping bees supports community pollination and food supplies and fosters bee populations outside the commercial beekeeping industry.Below are 4 Top reasons for keeping bees.
Bees perform aproximately 80% of all wild plants pollination worldwide. It is often said that bees are responsible for one out of every three bits of food we eat.Usually most crops require pollination.Among the most common you can find are Fibers(cotton),hay(alfalfa),nuts,seeds and also fruits.Also many vegatables require pollination to yield good crops.Among them can be found squash,eggplants,cucumbers and tomatoes . About one third of all the food crops gathered are pollinated by Honey Bees.Pollinating insects also play an important role in maintaining natural plant communities and providing seed production in most flowering plants.
Pollination is the moving of pollen grains from male cell to female cells in many plants. Even though there many plants that can self pollinate,many depend on insects such as the Honey Bee or the wind to succesfully impregnate the female cells and give fruit.Furthermore,70% of major crops are pollinated by bees.The economic value of pollination is estimated to be between 10-15 Billion in the USA alone.
The ecological impact of honey bees is also massive since it is estimated that 75% of the world’s flowering species need pollinators to reproduce.Scientists have calculated that a single Beehive is capable of pollinating up to 200 million flowers in ONE day.How can we know that amount? Well,It is based on Honey Bees Facts.A Honey Bee can make up to 5000 foraging trips in one day and since there can easily be 40.000 forager bees in a Honey Bee Hive,so 5000*40000?Well ,pull out the Windows Calculator or the Excel Sheet…..200 million of course 😉 That is just Beekeeping 101.By rasing bees ,You are making sure pollinators like Bees,will be around to tend to our crops for many years to come.
A whooping 42% of US Bee Colonies died in 2015.Among the 4 most likely causes of pollinator and honeybee decline are: A) Mass use of dangerous PESTICIDES:Pesticide poisoning from an onslaught of toxic insecticides used in field crops and home gardens. Pollinators ,as rule, are at risk particularly from the harmful effects of pesticides.There is a worldwide increase in the widespread use of pesticides around cropland areas.Unfortunately,these chemicals are specifically designed to kill insects. Even though the relative role of insecticides in the worldwide extinction of pollinators is still somewhat unclear,the threat many insecticides pose to bees and other insects is growing ,specially at the concentrations commonly applied in the modern chemical-intensive agribussiness setting,exerting clear,adverse effects on the wellbeing of pollinators-both as individuals and at the grupal level The observable,sub-lethal,low concentration effects of pesticides on bees are disparate.
These general effects can be categorised as 1) Physiological effects, occurring in the insect’s varied body areas, have been detected in terms of growth speed ( the time required to become mature adults), and malformation rates (in the comb cells) 2) Alteration of the recolection conduct, through probable effects on navigation and learning behaviour. 3)Obstruction of foraging behaviour, through repellent, antifeeding or diminished olfatary capacity. 4) Shock caused by neurotoxic pesticides on learning development ,whether in spatial orientation or on plant flower and hive placement recognition which are quite important, and have been deeply assesed in Bee Hive Studies.Bees dissapearing is the natural consequence of the above problems not only in Human managed colonies but in their natural habitats.It is generally advisable to avoid setting Bee Hives in areas where there are extensive cropland areas that practice massive spraying using aerial means.
B) Rapidly spreading pests and DISEASES:Tenacious parasites like Varroa mites and small hive Bettle can take heavy toll on colonies. The Varroa Destructor mite is a pinhead sized parasite that is originally from Asia but has spread worlwide. If It is not controlled It can be lethal for a Bee Colony.However,it as well as the Smal Hive Bettle can be treated without contaminating the honey and poisoning the bees through the use of Oxalic Acid or also through the use of heat.There are other diseases such as as can diseases such as American Foulbrood, Nosema and Lotmaria Passim that can be avoided by keeping colonies strong and away from aerial spraying and through ocassional treatment with Fumagilin .
C)Constant change in CLIMATE:Climate change disrupts the timing between bloom and Bees;eg,when bees come out of hibernation important flowers they need to start the season are not available as a food .Plants and bees were created together as they both benefit each other- bees provide a way for plants to reproduce by dispersing their pollen, and plants provide bees with nectar as a food source. Weather pattern global adjustments are affecting pollination and nectar foraging by disrupting synchronization between flower blooms and the moment bees and another pollinators have a higher need for food stuffs such as Spring. Thus,before many bees have a chance at pollinating the plants,Flowers start blooming due to rising temperatures.Therefore,by the time bees have the opportunity to start pollinating , there is limited nectar availabiliy which brings intense competion and in many cases leads to the Bee Colony demise.Luckily, some insects including bees,in many cases adapt to this early shift in the calendar of plant blooms by beginning their foraging activity earlier .
The Food availability and pollination outcomes vary according to bee species , geographic areas and plants availability in your area .Unless bees manage to adapt to changing flowering patterns,there might be a decline in pollination and decreased food availability in many cases And without the flowers getting pollinated, plants lose the opportunity at being productive in a given year. Because of Changes in weather patterns, there is a propensity for flowers to dissapear earlier on in the growing season than they had before. This could affect bumblebees,honey bees and other insects that require ample pollen and nectar stores throughout the entire growing season to allow be able to increase in size and produce honey(or survive). That is why It is a good idea when you are new raising Bees to ask people with apiaries in your area the best dates to install new Nucs.
D)Increase of MONOCULTURE:Behemoth,single crop planting creates food deserts for bees and other pollinators unable to thrive on a single food supply.Diversity of vegetation is key to a healthy ecology.Agriculture, including farmland and animal grasslands, occupies about 35% surface of Earth surface that is not covered by ice, and is one of the biggest ecosystems on Earth, almost as large as forests in surface . Furthermore,Over the past century agriculture has been quickly becoming more and more mechanized and modernized. This has lead to the use of more fertilizers, more harmful chemicals, more single crops, and the ever greater growth of land dedicated to tillage and animal grasslands. As a result Industrial Agriculture ecological impact on the environment is incredibly damaging.
Pollinators, in a managed setting as Bee Colonies are or insects in their natural environment are unable to escape widespread results of pervasive agrobusiness. They suffer at the same time from the desvastation of their natural environment by agriculture, and also from the adverse effects of Industrial agricultural practices when their natural ranges end up overlaping.Modern agriculture affects bees and other pollinators in multiple manners but specially massive agrobusiness Concentrations prompts the loss and mutilation of valuable natural to semi-natural enduring habitats for pollinators, including agroforestry ,grass,systems, forests,old fields, treelands, and hedgerows. All this leads to wild pollinator population decline and to a smaller extent managed colonies like Honey Bees.
Raising bees helps reverse Bee Colony number decline and on the side You get many benefits for yourself and your loved ones.
HONEY AND POLLEN
The possibility of pulling out of your hive fat combs full of honey ,is undoubtedly a strong attractor for the new(and old)beekeeper. There is something magical about bottling your own honey. I promise that no honey tastes as good as honey produced by your very own honey bee hives. Delicious!Sometimes I am asked the question?Why do bees make and store honey?How can thousands on individuals agree on what everyone does and achieve so much?.Many time there are upwards to 70 thousand bees in ONE colony all working together.Well,for one a Beehive is a Superorganism,that is a living creature made up of thousands of smaller ones. An single Bee does not behave as an individual but rather as a cell, a part of a much larger animal,the Bee Colony. So the question remains,why do bees make honey?Well, because in each area flower blooms are limited to certain times of the year and Bees seem to KNOW that and they take advantage of those times to store food in the form of Honey AND Pollen for Winter or in the case of the Tropics the rainy season when flower availability is very limited.
How much honey can you expect? It really depends. Depends on what? Well,from experience I can tell you the main factors for crop results are things that you control like your own skill managing your hives(the more you advance beyond Beekeeping 101,the better),BeeHive population and the location you picked for your Bee Hives but also factors outside your control as weather. Unfortunately climate changes from year to year makes Beekeeping results very prone to the vagaries of every season.Also the results vary greatly from one beehive to the next. So You can have a BeeHive that yields 120 pounds of Honey but the one sitting right next to it will produce 10 pounds (or nothing) .The Beehive might also die on you or abscond(swarm) and leave you with an empty HoneyBee Hive.However,the truth is most of the time you will end up with a nice crop to share with your family and have many times (depending of the number of Hives you manage)You can also sell Honey and thus cover your costs and profit.In some circumstances Pollen can also be harvested using Pollen Traps,along with Royal Jelly and Propolis which provides additional income and health benefits.
Health and Profit
There is not firm statistical evidence about it,but for as any beekeeper that have personally experienced it can attest ,raising bees can be relaxing and reduce stress.You open the hive and amid the buzz,the physical activity,very soon all the pressure of daily living is left behind. There’s something about being out there on a lovely warm day, the intense focus of exploring the wonders of the hive, and hearing that gentle hum of contented bees — it instantly puts you at ease, melting away whatever day-to-day stresses that you might find creeping into your life.
Bee products multiple health benefits are widely known,but the those benefits are even greater when you are able to produce your own raw Organic bee honey and other products like Pollen ,Royal Jelly and Propolis. There are marked advantages and differences in being able to collect your very own Bee Honey vs buying Retail Processed Honey that we are going to list below: