Posted on July 15, 2011
One of the most rewarding ways to help our planet and some its most important inhabitants -- the bees, is to become an urban, suburban or country beekeeper. Bees can be a very important and integral part of a sustainable lifestyle.They have countless benefits to humankind and nature, some of which are; they increase vegetable and fruit yields for gardeners through better pollination, you get the added bonuses of your own honey supply, wax to make your own candles, royal jelly and propolis.The honey and honey products you glean from bees can be used as gifts to give to your family and friends. You can make your own candles, and even sell them. They burn clean and pure, don't release any toxic fumes into the environment, and are beautiful to behold. The honey and beeswax you collect can be used in soaps that you make yourself, even lip balm and lotions. So you are saving dollars by making it yourself instead of going to the store to buy products.
Raising bees whether it's in a large city, small town, suburbs or in the country, helps ensure food security, produces local honey and honey-based products, and helps towards efforts on conserving bees. Honeybees can help fight hunger, as they pollinate many of our food plants, which can greatly increase crop yields. Families have more productive gardens, and a way to feed themselves with the help of their bees. Honeybees forage up to a five mile radius of their hive, so they are also helping your neighbors gardens, and even nearby parks, with their pollination.
Making your garden a friendly place for pollinating insects, and especially the bees, is essential to a healthy ecosystem. Keep your garden free of pesticides, use non-toxic means to keep habitat healthy for the bees. Pesticides are brought back to the hives by the bees, which can adversely affect the health of the hive. There are ways to manage your hives to help keep your bees thriving. You can help combat Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which is killing bees at an alarming rate, by utilizing a powdered sugar bellows duster, menthol crystals, coconut oil, essential oils and garlic. GloryBee carries many of these supplies and has a staff that is trained to answer your questions about beekeeping.
By giving the bees a supportive home, you are doing a whole lot of good in contributing to the conservation of these major pollinators. There are many ways to create a bee-friendly habitat, you can plant flowers and herbs that bees find attractive next to your vegetable crops. This helps keep the bees in the vicinity, and it gives them an opportunity to pollinate all the plants. Some plants that bees adore are borage, sage, oregano, basil, sunflowers, and bachelor's buttons. You reap the added benefits of beautiful herbs and flowers for your home and garden, all while helping the bees!
Top bar hives can be a good fit for sustainable beekeeping. Top bar hives can work well for anyone, regardless of expertise and available land. They allow the bees to fashion their combs to meet their needs, and are simple for a beginning beekeeper to maintain. There are resources online and also books that you can purchase that will teach you how to build a top bar hive yourself and how to maintain it. Top bar hives hold smaller colonies of bees, thus more ease in management and less aggressive bees. Using a top bar hive can give you the benefits of some golden, sweet honey to harvest at summer's end. A honey extractor is not required to spin the honey from the hive, you can check the brood frames or pull honey without separating the whole hive. A good resource for help and questions on beekeeping is your local beekeeping club or group. They can help advise you on specifics for the region you live in for raising bees.
The sustainable benefits of having a colony of bees, whether it's on an urban rooftop, in a small backyard, or a country field are countless. Learning and observing the bees can be a tension-tamer, a source of food, and a way to get more bounty from your garden. They are great teachers, watching the bees can help tune you into the rhythms of the natural world. But, most important of all, you have the satisfaction of knowing that beyond keeping bees as a part of a sustainable lifestyle, you are helping these very important creatures survive and thrive.