Benefits of Keeping Bees

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While it involves some hard work, there are many benefits of beekeeping. Keeping thousands of bees with stingers in a box – does that sound like fun to you? Well, for thousands of beekeepers (like me and maybe you), it is a wonderful pastime. Indeed, the pleasure of having your own beehive has advantages for your family, nearby neighbors and perhaps the local ecosystem.

Beekeeper smiles in pleasure one of the benefits of beekeeping.

The beekeeping industry makes some big impacts in our world. But, small scale producers play a role as well. If you are considering pursuing beginner beekeeping, it is time to take a good hard look at what it means.

Primary Benefits of Beekeeping

Of course, as any endeavor – there are some associated costs in beekeeping and you have to put in some time and effort.

Having some hives around is a plus, not only for the people in charge of these winged darlings but for the community too.

  • keeping bees provides economic value – pollination, jobs
  • local pollination of small gardens
  • wildlife benefit from increase food
  • enjoyable hobby
  • may reduce stress
  • produce natural products
  • profitable beekeeping
  • great family project
  • you can keep bees in many different locations
  • making new friends
Beekeeper with many hives for pollination in field.

Economic Benefits

The primary value of beekeeping in the United States is honey bee pollination of crops. Modern agriculture systems are set up to grow large fields of a single kind of crop. They are commonly in bloom at the same time. 

Crops that require insect pollination yield larger harvests with honey bees in the field. There would not be enough native pollinators to service the large number of flowers. This is where migratory beekeeping businesses are able to help farmers. 

Colonies are brought to the fields and left for a few weeks. Once the bloom period is over, the beehives can be easily moved to another crop in need of pollination.

Another economic benefit of beekeeping is the jobs provided. Raising and managing colonies and producing the supplies and equipment needed for new beekeepers – all provide jobs.

Pollination of Local Gardens

It is not just the large farms that benefit from beekeeping. Small home gardens and orchards produce more fruits and vegetables with good pollination. 

Bees can travel several miles to a good food source. This means that even if you don’t have a colony – one that belongs to your neighbor may still visit your garden.

The hives in your backyard can help increase the yield in your vegetable garden and that of your neighbors too. Apples, almonds, berries, melons and other plants benefit from bee visits.

If you feel that harvesting honey is bad for bees, or you just don’t want the hassle – you can still enjoy a hive and reap the benefits of pollination.

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Provides More Food for Wildlife

Having a small apiary of beehives around can be beneficial for the environment and wildlife. A honey bee colony has a large number of worker bees.

As these forager bees go out in search of nectar and pollen, they pollinate blooming native plants. Yes, they do compete with native pollinators for food sources.

However, unless the area is over-stocked with beehives, the added pollination of wild plants increases the fruits available for birds and other wildlife.

Beekeeping is an Engaging Hobby

The joy of being a beekeeper must not be overlooked. A beekeeper harvesting honey for the first time is filled with a sense of achievement. I promise – that will be the best tasting honey ever!

Learning to manage beehives during all seasons (including Winter beekeeping) is a great feeling too.

In fact, the reading books about beekeeping will provide one with years of engaging learning opportunities.  And, even then – you will only have scratched the surface of the secrets of bees.

Mental Health Benefits & Stress Reduction

For some, the act of tending a beehive has a calming affect. Mental health issues such as depression, PTSD and even anxiety having shown improvement for those involved in beekeeping.

You will find that many famous people became beekeepers in order to relax and connect with nature.

Though as an anxiety sufferer, I must say that they can cause you some frustration too. But, I feel the benefits of keeping bees has outweighed the hassles.

Producing Natural Products

To many, a favorite beekeeping benefit is the many products from honey bees. These are used in the beekeepers home or made into items for sale or gifts.

  • honey
  • beeswax
  • pollen
  • propolis
  • venom

Of course, we think of honey first. Each individual bee only produces a small amount of honey. But, when thousands work together, it can add up to a lot.

However, bee pollen, propolis, and certainly raw beeswax are valuable products to use or sell. You and your family can enjoy the benefits of pure beeswax candles at a fraction of the cost when you make your own.

Honey bees sting for defensive purposes and stings are not usually something we seek out. However, some beekeepers sell bee venom for use in sting therapy.

It is not uncommon to find an arthritis sufferer that keeps a beehive just for the benefit of sting therapy.

Honeycomb and honey in jar beneficial hive products.

Beekeeping Can be Profitable

The majority of beekeepers are small-scale hobbyists. But, this does not mean that it is not possible for a beekeeper to make money.

With time and dedication, you can even develop a bee farm or profitable business. Managing hundreds of colonies for honey production or pollination – or selling bees or equipment to other beekeepers- all are possible.

For most people, backyard beekeeping is a hobby. But, the beekeeper may sell a little honey at a local farmers market or to friends.

Family Bonding Experience

It may surprise you to learn that one benefits of beekeeping is more family time. Letting the kids become involved in taking care of a hive is a unique educational experience. 

Beekeeping suits are available in kid sizes too. Helping Mom, Dad, Grandmother or Grandfather with the bees is an experience that is never forgotten.

Family members enjoying beekeeping together.

Beehives Can Be Kept in Many Places

Not every location is a good one for a beehive. Yet, honey bees are quite portable and many places are suitable for a hive or two.

Urban beekeeping is a thing in some cities. Check with local officials before getting a hive. Of course, keeping bees with neighbors close by has special challenges but it can be done.

Meeting New Friends

Beekeepers love nothing more than to talk about their hives. And, we can go on and on about our experiences, sometimes to our families regret. Keeping bees may bring some new friends into your life.

Local beekeeping associations hold regular meetings for members of the community to come together and learn. These can be a lot of fun.

Advantages of Beekeeping for the Bees

Beekeeping actually helps keep the over-all health of honey bees at a higher level. Some people say that beekeepers use bees for their own benefit.

In fact, this is why most vegans avoid honey. I respect their view though I feel differently. Most beekeepers strive to take care of their colonies. 

If fact, they are often the first to notice major problems in the hives. When Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) was first observed, it was beekeepers that noticed the problem first. Reducing bee population alerted researchers to begin exploring possible causes.

In any apiary, most colonies suffering from parasitic mites would die. Beekeepers test for varroa mites and develop plans to help the bees.  

Likewise, a colony that loses a queen bee benefits from having a caring beekeeper to make sure things are set right.

FAQs

Is keeping bees a rewarding experience?

Yes, it can be very rewarding. Those who educate and prepare themselves prior to getting bees are much more likely to be successful.

Do bees benefit from beekeeping?

Honey bees are a group do benefit from being in managed colonies. In the hands of a competent beekeeper, colonies that would fail are allowed to thrive.

Is there good money in beekeeping?

Keeping bees can be a profitable adventure. However, it is not a get rich quick scheme – proper planning, hard work and sometimes a bit of luck are all necessary.

Do beekeepers kill bees?

In the practice of managing colonies and harvesting honey, some bees are killed. The loss of bees is minimized as much as possible by conscientious beekeepers. However, colonies infected with dangerous diseases – such as AFB – many be destroyed to prevent spread.

Final Thoughts

In spite of the many benefits of beekeeping, please understand that it is not all fun and games.  Any activity that involves managing live creatures involves some stress. 

Things won’t always work out perfectly – beekeepers make mistakes. However, most of us love our colonies and strive to provide a safe, healthy environment for them.

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