Although the mere mention of bees may send some people running or bring to mind memories of interrupted picnics, these small, striped insects are an essential part of our environment. As a beekeeper in San Jose, I can also tell you that beekeeping is a fascinating and fun way to help the natural world. Instead of scary thoughts of getting stung, focus instead on the unique social life of bees in the hive, the amazing job they do pollinating flowers and food plants, and the healthy and delicious honey they create.
What Makes Beekeeping So Important?
Honeybees and other insects in the same family are some of the top pollinators in the entire world. Without healthy hives and strong populations, everything from fruit trees to vegetables to flowers in the garden would not be able to grow and flourish. Unfortunately, things like habitat loss, climate change, and pesticides are destroying natural bee populations. This is one of the main reasons why purposeful farm or backyard beekeeping is essential. When you go outside in the morning and see your healthy hive, you get an amazing sense of accomplishment that you are doing your part to help the green world.
Bees Fascinate From a Scientific Perspective
The importance of helping honeybee populations thrive from an ecological standpoint fills you with a sense of purpose. The science behind how they live, build a hive, and pollinate plants is quite fascinating too. The largest hives can have tens of thousands of bees inside. They have intricate communication methods that use smell and sounds to tell their fellow workers about what’s going on nearby. Honeybees even dance to let others know where the best pollen is depending on which flowers are in bloom. You could read 100 books about beekeeping and still find something new to learn just by watching a hive in your back garden.
Can a Beekeeper Really Have Fun?
Yes. As long as you have an interest in the outside world and taking care of it like we do, you can have a lot of fun setting up, watching, and caring for your hives. Satisfy your sense of curiosity and get involved with a thriving beekeeper community across the country and around the world. People love to talk about bees even if they do not have hives themselves. Beekeeping is a great conversation starter, even if the first question is a nervous “Why?”
Do not forget the honey. This golden sweet treat does everything from make tea taste better to fight infections to nourish skin in beauty products. Beeswax is great for candles and other products too. The bees in our hives make more honey than they could ever use, and with a little careful coaxing, they are willing to share with us.
If you’re thinking of becoming a beekeeper, you may still have a lot of questions about how safe it is and whether you can keep a hive on your property. I had a lot of the same questions when I started out. These flexible, independent, essential, and fascinating insects give you a new perspective on life and the environment all around us. Even if you decide not to become the next beekeeper in San Jose or wherever you live, you can still support our essential pollinators with honey and other bee product purchases.