Is Bee Farming Profitable?

For the majority of us, modern life has evolved far faraway from our roots in nature. Most of us live and are employed in a man-made, artificial environment. Very few of us have the main advantage of working in a natural setting, and few of us even have the privilege of communing with nature on a typical basis.

And yet, despite the barriers of modern civilization, which reduce our contact with the nature, we all recognize the importance of nature. For the nature is the bedrock upon which our artificial world of modern civilization rests. Though we might exist in a completely artificial environment – leaving our air-conditioned homes to travel in air-conditioned vehicles to and from our workplace cubicle – we’re just as dependent upon the workings of nature as a 17th century farmer who had to sweat in sunshine and grub in the dirt for his living.

For many of us, discovering a way of reconnecting with nature provides a counterweight to the artificiality of modern life, giving a balance to our way of life that seems missing without some means of communing with nature. Gardening and camping are examples of popular activities that offer an interface with nature. Another such activity that unfortunately is frequently overlooked is bee farming.

Bee farming provides an intimate connection with nature. Watching your bees when they explode in population in the spring when they prepare for the summer’s honey production, and then winding down in the fall, ready to face the winter with the stores they have industriously accrued, is endlessly interesting, regardless of how many times you’ve watched the cycle repeated. And fortunately, it’s not necessary to live in the country to enjoy the hobby of beekeeping. Many hundreds of hives are kept on the balconies and rooftops of most urban centers; the’re even professional beekeepers whose hives are all located within the confines of a city.

Needless to say, the output of honey is one of the major advantages of beekeeping. In most seasons, a well-managed hive will make enough honey to allow its keeper to be part of the bounty and still leave the hive plenty for winter stores. And the honey that the hobbyist beekeeper can produce is nothing like the over processed and over filtered substance sold as honey at most supermarkets. People who have never tasted pure, unprocessed honey straight from the comb (or even better, still in the comb), will be truly delighted at their first taste of honey in its natural state. There is commonly quite a need for raw, local honey, providing a ready market for any beekeeper that wishes to increase the hobby into a part-time business.

But there’s more to beekeeping than the advantages that accrue directly to the beekeeper. Beekeepers – whether professionals with thousands of hives, or fans with only a hive or two – in addition provide a critically valuable service to society. For an assortment of reasons, some of which are not completely understood, feral, or wild honeybee colonies have been dying out over the last few years, making beekeepers extremely important people. Agriculture is highly dependent upon the pollination provided by honeybees, with about a third of the food humans consume requiring pollination by bees. If the bees disappear, so does that food, making every honeybee colony – and every beekeeper – a valuable resource.

Perhaps more than any other single activity or hobby, beekeeping offers an endlessly interesting exposure to the workings of nature. And when thinking about the other advantages of beekeeping: the chance to produce nature’s purest and most delectable sweet, the opportunity to make the most of the hobby for those who wish, and the important contribution made to society by those who care for such a significant insect, it’s truly a shame that more people don’t pursue the intriguing hobby of beekeeping.

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About slashy27

Blessing Maseko is a successful beekeeper.
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