Proactive beekeeping helped mitigate the impact of Colony Collapse Disorder, a deadly condition that decimated colonies around the world earlier this century and is still a factor today.
Protecting these pollinators may be the single most important reason why people keep bees, but it's far from the only one.The benefits of beekeeping have quite a range, and even the most obvious ones deserve closer inspection.
No article would “bee complete” without giving this tasty stuff a shout-out, so we figured we'd list it at the start. You may know raw honey as a sweet, versatile treat, good for hot tea and cooking, but it has medicinal uses, as well. You can use it to treat a sore throat, stifle a cough, help clear up acne, and even heal moderate burns. Raw honey also makes a great element in DIY skin care and can be used as a cleanser and mask.
Raw honey is a stellar gift, since the combination of pollen and nectar gathered by your bees is unique. If you've ever had real organic honey, you know that it's different from the processed honey sold in large grocery stores. Raw, organic honey is thicker in texture and the taste is much more complex. Top-quality honey is expensive, but a healthy hive will make enough to share with friends and family. So, give it as a gift, but remember to keep enough for yourself!
Beekeeping is a great family activity and hives are wonderful teaching tools. Every colony has three distinct types of adult bee — the queen, her female workers, and male drones — as well as the colony's young, growing brood.
Small children not only learn about the industrious honey bee and get to watch a colony function up close throughout the seasons of the year, but learn about the value of insects in the ecosystem at large. Because bees tend to be docile, older kids can take an active role in tending a Tapcomb® hive. It's a memorable outdoor activity with a host of benefits.
Parents provide the proper gear. Kids provide the curiosity.
We said it once and we'll say it again — bees are the world's top pollinator. While professional farmers often rent hundreds of hives from beekeeping companies to pollinate their crops, your own backyard garden can benefit from proximity to a hive. The number of bees that visit a plant affect its size, shape, and the amount of fruit it produces. Certain fruits, like apples, blueberries and pears, are particularly dependent on honey bees.
While getting more fruit is a clear benefit, having an army of pollinators nearby is good for any plant. Even your flower garden will thrive.
If you take the time to plant a bee-friendly garden to keep bees happy, you'll end up attracting lots of other pollinators, too. Some — like butterflies and hummingbirds — are gorgeous guests and make for great nature watching.
Check out our bee-friendly garden post for ideas about what to plant. If you go the extra mile and pick your plants carefully, even a small suburban yard or rooftop garden can become an oasis.
When you think of keeping bees, two products probably come to mind: honey and beeswax.
But every hive is a natural factory. In addition to wax and honey, bees make propolis, royal jelly, and venom. That's right — venom. Venom might have medicinal properties and advanced beekeepers know how to collect it without killing their bees. (Only the truly advanced should collect this, however gathering propolis and royal jelly can be tricky, too.)
The real takeaway is that all of these substances make up the world of hive products. Even if you only collect honey, knowing the role each product plays in the hive is a big part of being a beekeeper. When you set up a hive, you set out on your own unique journey to keep and care for bees, but acquiring and sharing this kind of knowledge is a little like propolis for the beekeeping community itself — the glue that holds it all together.