Have you considered beekeeping as an extension of your gardening and self sufficiency hobby? Beekeeping is not for everyone, some simply will not have the temperament to deal with the bees, nor the patience. A good indication of temperament is that of a successful gardener. Tending a garden requires patience and commitment, just like tending a hive. The critical difference is that your flowers and vegetables are not in the habit of buzzing in your face or crawling over your exposed skin!
Most beekeeping in the British Isles is done on a hobby basis. There are a few who make money on their hobby, but with rare exceptions this is only a sideline. There are several benefits to keeping bees. The benefit which is actually considered the least is that bees and their hive are simply pleasant to be around.
Do Bees Make Good Pets?
This is not to say that bees are partiularly cuddly, and you won’t expect your kids to go out and play with them. The bees prefer to be left alone, which frankly suits most people who are not involved in keeping bees. Some people find the gentle buzzing of the hive soothing, and the beekeeper will take no end of delight watching bees return to the hive, laden with pollen.
Pollen is part of a more popular reason for keeping bees. Bees gather pollen for their own reasons (which the happy beekeeper will take advantage of). While they gather pollen, they also spread it. This is invaluable help to the plants in your garden, they will produce more thanks to the aid in pollination. In fact, all the gardens in your neighborhood should have increased yields, thanks to your bees.
Finally there is the honey. In the eyes of the rest of the world, this is the reason to keep bees, although many keepers find that they enjoy working with their bees so much that the honey becomes a secondary consideration. Not that they would let a drop of it go to waste!
Downsides To Flying Creatures
What are the downsides to keeping bees? First of all, it is a commitment. Your hives will not require constant attention, but the attention they do require needs to be paid closely. It is also a fact that bees will sting. A bee sting is actually a rare occurrence. The bees will do all they can to avoid in, the bee rarely survives a stinging.
For most people a bee sting is an unpleasant and somewhat painful nuisance. However there is a portion of the population who are allergic to bee stings, and a sting could be a deadly event. If you have never been stung, it may be prudent to get tested by an allergist before investing in the hobby. It is also wise to have members of your household tested if the hive is to be kept nearby.
Courtesy requires us to check with the neighbors before introducing a hive to the neighborhood. If the thought of keeping bees has you at all intrigued, a good starting place is researching on line.
The British Beekeepers Association has a very informative website. The BBKA is also a sort of clearinghouse for many local beekeeping organizations. If you are still interested in bees after doing your research on line, the next step might be to visit a club meeting, and talk face to face with some beekeepers.