There are many reasons people all across the world begin to keep bees. Some choose to care for a colony due to a deep appreciation for the impact they have on the natural ecosystem. Others start hives with a connection to culture because honey is part of their heritage in sweetening food and drinks, use as medicine, and simply enjoyed by itself. And, some decide to keep bees due to the strong market demand for the golden nectar and plan to build a business. Of the many reasons mankind determines to watch over honeybees, surely all of them become students of honeybee efficiency, harmony, and partnership with each living organism they interact with.
By simple observation or with academic study, it is clear that the honeybee plays a very important role in the complex operations of our shared ecosystem. It is believed that they pollinate over 80% of the edible crops in our landscape by pollinating, cross-pollinating, and sometimes merely visiting a flower bud to excite its productive life cycle. Farmers and backyard gardeners alike share in the satisfaction that follows each honeybee visit – knowing that their presence promotes growth, encourages fruit production, and commends the sower for creating an environment equipped with the pollen and nectar the bees need. The beekeeper may partner with a local grower to set up several hives across a landscape to encourage bee population growth while assisting his neighbor's crop production.
Honey has its roots in cultures all across the world. From culinary to medicinal use, the delicious benefits of the golden nectar are a part of many families regardless of race, religion, creed or ethnicity. Each sweetened cup of tea, spoon of prepared medicine, or fragrant baked good owes its unique flavor and healing benefits to the workmanship of the honeybee. Each one of these hard-working insects travel up to 8 miles per flight, visit 50-100 flowers during a collection trip, and produce 1/12 of a teaspoon in her lifetime. Beekeepers in every culture revere the fact that a hive of bees will travel together over 90,000 miles to produce just over two pounds of honey.
Local honey has become a highly sought after product because it captures the unique flavor of seasonal foliage, offers a remedy to allergies, and supports the micro-economy. Many prospective business owners recognize the potential profit that results from managing an apiary. Proper planning, equipment, environment, and a host of other factors contribute to this beekeeper's plan for success. As with any business, this beekeeper understands that the health, vitality, and growth of the hives directs the profitability of the business.
The beekeeper has many faces and holds the honeybee in high regard. Whether its to support harmony in the ecosystem, contribute to wellness, build a business, or to enjoy the flavor of honey, each hive caretaker encourages the proliferation of one the most vital organisms on the Earth. Each role is necessary in the restoration of honeybee colonies on every continent. Bee creative! Start your own hive, research a recipe, or buy some honey from your local beekeeper and be an active participant in this incredible movement!