Keeping a Bee Colony
At one time or another most of has have thought about keeping a bee colony. In addition to being a fascinating hobby, beekeeping provides the keeper with all the honey he can use plus a surplus for friends or for sale. The practice also makes a valuable contribution to the economic health of the area in which the beekeeper lives. Bees pollinate over 100 species of plants and it is estimated that about 30 per cent of the food crop harvested each year depends on insect pollination. Bees are the most efficient pollinators in the insect kingdom. As you can tell they have a large economic impact.
In recent years a condition known as Colony Collapse Disorder has nearly eliminated the wild bee population in North America so nearly all of the crop pollination that occurs is a result of the activities of domestic bees.
Nearly anyone with patience and sufficient interest can become a beekeeper. The ranks of beekeepers are filled with people of widely different backgrounds. This includes men and women of all ages. People from cities, suburbs and rural areas all successfully keep colonies of bees. Some people keep only one hive to provide them with honey products and some honey for their friends. Other beekeepers are businessmen who manage hundreds of hives as a business.
Keeping a Bee Colony – For Honey or Money
Whatever motivations a person has to consider becoming a beekeeper, it must be said that beekeeping is not for everyone. Nearly anyone can learn the skills necessary, but to be successful you must have a definite interest in bees. You should appreciate what nature has done to create this wonderful little insect. You must also be willing to do tasks when they need to be done and not mind getting your hands dirty.
If you keep bees you accept responsibility to take proper care of them. This includes providing them with a home, the hive. You must learn the specifics of a bee hive, why it is built the way it is and how the bees make it function.
When keeping a bee colony, as a beekeeper you must exploit the natural tendencies of bees. Therefore, you must be interested enough to study what these characteristics and tendencies are. For example, bees naturally make honey from flower nectar. This nectar is stored in a special stomach. A bee may have to visit as many as 1000 flowers to fill its nectar stomach. Since this is the behavior pattern of the honey bee you can help your bees by assuring that there are thousands of nectar producing flowers nearby rather than sparsely spaced many miles away.
Also, when bees exit the hive they tend to fly away at about the same level as the hive exit until they are forced to fly higher or lower. Knowing this, and knowing that most people are somewhat frightened of bees you can minimize problems between your bees and other people by either raising the hive entrance or forcing the bees to fly over a fence or hedge before reaching a sidewalk.
Proper care includes protecting them from threats. The honey bee immune system is not as robust as many other insects, therefore they succumb more easily to some threats. You must learn about the most common diseases and pests that may afflict your colony and be prepared to take appropriate steps to aid your bees to stay healthy.
If you provide your bees with what they need they will work very hard to provide you with a rewarding hobby and a generous harvest.
Author, Ben Charlesworth.