Let us start by saying we applaud this decision. The US Department of Agriculture shows that the existence of honey producing hives is declining rapidly due to something called Colony Collapse Disorder. This happens when the worker bees abandon the hive. Since this phenomenon goes against the bee’s natural instinct, it is very hard to determine the cause. However, the effect is apparent. Lack of honey bees leads to lack of pollination. Lack of pollination will lead to a lack in the global food supply. So yay you for deciding to contribute. Let us give you just a few things to think about as you begin this journey.
DO YOUR BEEKEEPER RESEARCH
First, ask yourself why you want to be a beekeeper. Knowing your motivation is a great place to start and will make it easy to set some achievable goals. Then hit the books. Go to your local library and read up on the process and what you will need to begin. There may even be local classes or support groups in your area, that is definitely something to look for. Everything is easier with a little backup. Check out local regulations as well. Bees can thrive anywhere from farmland to urban apartment dwellings, but that doesn’t mean it’s legal in all of them. Be sure to get the facts.
NOW THAT YOU KNOW A FEW THINGS… WHAT NEXT?
Just a few more things to consider: Are you healthy enough to care for bees? You will need to be able to lift about 25 pounds, during harvesting time hives can get a bit heavy. Also, have you ever had a reaction to a bee sting? Bee allergies can be mild to severe so you are going to want to be sure you know how you will react to a sting… you are going to get stung at some point no matter how much gear you are wearing.
Money and time are to be considered as well. It’s not the most expensive hobby, but it isn’t free. You are going to need a beekeeper suit, gloves, a smoker, the hive… and of course the bees themselves. The amount of time spent is seasonal and often the bees do best when left alone, but when the time is required you will have to work the hive for it to be successful. You don’t want to do all the research and invest the money to find that you really just didn’t have time to put in some work.
FINALLY… THE REWARDS
While it isn’t likely that an independent beekeeper is going to make much money, even if you sell some extra honey, there are great rewards. First is just that… the honey! Local honey tastes much better than store bought and it is also known to fight your seasonal allergies. You can’t get any more local than the backyard. Next, you’ve got the wax. Beeswax is good for making candles, lip balm, and a large handful of other natural products that you might never have thought of. It’s just a Google search away. Bees also use something called propolis in the hives. It’s sort of the glue that holds the hive together. It’s been said to have some medicinal qualities. And finally, your flowers will look like you probably never imagined with bees right there to pollinate them.
So here is a vision… you’re sitting on your back patio with a cup of tea sweetened with your own honey, looking on at your thriving flowers, and the lovely scent of your homemade beeswax and lavender candle helping you relax. Can you see it? If you can then you are probably ready to begin the journey to become a successful beekeeper.
And Mosquito Squad of Central Mass and the North Shore, we want to help you foster the good bugs that could be flying around in your backyard while also eliminating the bad ones. It is most definitely possible to do both at the same time and we know how. Give us a “buzz” and let’s talk about it.