Are you interested in raising honey bees? Does having your own beehive sound intriguing? Do you want to learn the best practices for raising honeybees? I know for me it wasn’t always intriguing… we had a pool growing up and the neighbor behind us kept bees. Well in the HOT summers the bees would visit the pool for water and I can’t tell you how many times I had gotten stung.
But when Jamie and I started building our homestead bees were one of the first things we talk about getting. I guess after researching them and really getting to know them my thoughts on bees changed.
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Raising Honeybees can be such a rewarding hobby. Here are some reasons why you should consider raising honey bees-
Honey is probably the obvious answer. Most people/beekeepers want to produce fresh honey. Local raw honey not only has an amazing taste but it can also help with seasonal allergies.
A single bee can produce 1/12 teaspoon of honey in her lifetime (about 6 weeks), and with a colony consisting of thousands of bees, that can add up quickly.
I would have to say that honey is the number one reason to become a beekeeper and raise your own bees. And if you still need convincing visit a local beekeeper and ask to try some natural honey, you will see how great it will be to have this sweet treat right in your backyard.
Beeswax is another popular product that comes from bees. Worker honey bees produce wax from special glands on their abdomen. The beeswax is formed into honeycomb and becomes the structure of their home.
We use beeswax just about everyday. It is used in candle-making and cosmetics. If you are like me you are consistently using chapstick and cream in the wither to keep your skin moisturized, well many creams and lipsticks contain beeswax.
With a little more research you can use the bees wax from your hives to make your own products or you could sell the bees wax to others.
When we are considering adding a new animal or starting a new project on the homestead we always think about the benefits and how it will affect other things we already have. Bees are known for pollination!! And we love our gardens, so we jumped on the chance to get bees knowing that our garden would get a huge boost because of the extra pollinators.
When you grow your own food you want a better yield from your orchard and garden, honey bees can do this for you. Raising honey bees ensures better pollination of flowering plants. This means more food for ourselves and wildlife.
So when you get bees, understand that they will feed on your vegetables and flowers around your home and your flowers and vegetables will be happy for it.
There’s a reason we say “busy as a bee.” Bees are constant workers. They do not require constant monitoring and are pretty independent. They actually prefer to be left alone.
That is not to say they are a get and forget type of “animal” you will have to get into the hive and work with them. Especially when the hive needs to be split for crowding purposes.
A colony of healthy well-managed bees will produce honey and wax that you can use or later sell. On average, expect to spend an hour per week during the warm season on colony management. Note that in colder climates, you may need to help the bees overwinter properly.
But compared to other forms of livestock bees are EASY!! They work constantly to make their home and collect food to feed their hive.
They Pay for Themselves-
Beekeeping can be a hobby that can turn into a pretty nice profit. Honey bees make their honey to feed the colonies and to survive the winter. However, a colony will make excess honey, which is the part beekeepers harvest.
On average a jar of local honey will cost you anywhere from $12 to $18. This can hurt your wallet if you are using honey everyday but if you are selling the honey it will make your wallet very happy. The amount of honey that your bees produce and how much you can harvest/sell will greatly depend on how much “pollen” you have around your homestead.
Not only can you sell the honey and beeswax but over time you can sell bees themselves to other beekeepers.
Bees multiply like crazy and when they get too crowded you have to split their hives which naturally creates new hives. It might sound bad and too much work but it’s actually good news because you can either keep the new hive and have that much more honey or you can sell it and gain a nice profit.
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They are Happy Anywhere-
Do you live on a farm? The suburbs? Or even in an apartment in the city? Well, no matter where you live, you can probably keep bees. Just be sure to check out your local ordinances and regulations.There really is no limit.
There are people that keep bees in closer quarters which are referred to as backyard beekeepers. They usually exist in the suburbs. And then you have your regular beekeepers that live in areas with more space. Then you even have apartment beekeepers who keep their bees on rooftops.
A lot of cities love it because they struggle with having enough pollination.
So as long as you live in an area with flowering shrubs, trees, or plants than you can raise bees. It doesn’t matter how hot or cold your area gets. They are very resilient little creatures.
Wondering what plants/flowers bees like? check out- Planting for Pollinators
You are Helping Save the Bees
The number of bees in the world has seriously decreased over recent years. The reason is because of Colony Collapse Disorder. And the weird part about Colony Collapse Disorder is we still don’t understand it all.
Colony Collapse Disorder is when worker bees abandon the hive. They leave the queen, young immature bees, and nurse bees to take care of the brood. This leaves the hive open to parasites that will kill off the hive. The worker bees also won’t survive without their queen. That is what makes CCD so perplexing. It is against their natural instinct to just go off and leave its queen. And they have done it so much in recent years that the number of bees has taken a serious hit.
Without bees, we have no pollination and, in turn, our food supply takes a serious hit. So by raising bees you are helping them and us with our food supply.
They Don’t Cost Much-
Have you purchased a cow lately? They are rather expensive. What about a few goats and built a barn to provide the shelter? That can be expensive too, huh?
Well, in comparison, bees really aren’t that expensive. You will have to buy a good bee suit, a bee hive, a smoker, a hive tool, and a startup nuc for you to get started.
Or you can learn how to catch them for free!
But even if you purchase it all, it should cost you $500 or less. That may seem like a lot of money. But in reality, that kind of money gets sunk into other livestock regularly.
So to be able to raise a living creature that gives you quite a few products in return, doesn’t cost much to feed, and then pretty well takes care of itself. I don’t think we could ask for much more.
You Become Fascinated with Nature-
Bees are fascinating creates that form the most perfect community where everyone works together for a common good and we humans had no part in creating it. It makes you appreciate the simple beauty.
Living the farmhouse lifestyle makes you connect with nature and bees are just another layer of that connection.
I know that everytime I am out working in the garden and spot a bee busy at work I smile knowing that they are working hard and helping me in the process.
So there you have it NINE reasons why you should raise bees. The number one reason being the honey that they will produce and that you can use in baking and cooking.
So are you ready to become a beekeeper, start raising honeybees and enjoy raw natural honey right from your backyard? It’s ok if you aren’t ready for honeybees.
If you aren’t ready for honey bees but still want amazing pollinators in your yard consider attracting Mason Bees.