Beekeeping has undoubtedly taken off as far as popularity. More people than ever have expressed interest in the hobby, but experts are concerned that misguided novice beekeepers may need to consider all the aspects of this environmental effort. Whether the increasing interest is in response to the shrinking numbers of honeybees, the hope of perfect spring weather, or simply a way to connect with nature, beekeeping includes many responsibilities. Contrary to what some think, watching a few videos does not prepare someone without experience to become a beekeeper. So, is there a downside to the beekeeping boom?
What Do Expert Beekeepers Think?
Expert beekeepers are focused on educating the public about the direct relationship of a healthy bee population to the environment. Beyond the excitement of wanting to help bees out, experts insist that without people making a bigger connection, the efforts may be futile.
Many experienced beekeepers will discourage those newly interested in the hobby from starting their own hive collection. The best intentions to help the shrinking bee population must match the numerous responsibilities that are often overlooked at first. Some experts believe that with a broader understanding of the intricate interconnectedness between bees to the environment, success and overall benefit are greatly improved.
Scientists and beekeepers agree that one of the most helpful things people can do, which can be done on any rooftop, balcony, or yard, is to grow flowers, plants, and bee-friendly trees!
Biggest Risks of Inexperienced Beekeeping
Unfortunately, there is a risk to bees if the keeping of the hives is not done correctly. Disease has become a significant problem in smaller bee colonies, often attributed to inappropriate monitoring and provision. One of the scariest threats to bees is insufficient room and resources with the rapid increase of imported honeybees. Development of land and an increasing number of honeybees means more competition for decreasing numbers of resources due to development. As is clear, the cycle of housing more bees while taking away the resources is destructive. Honeybees and native bees will fight for resources. The fighting among bee species can be fierce, threatening native bee species in the area.
The reasons behind taking up beekeeping as a hobby are fundamentally good, with a focus on helping bees and the environment. However, skipping the simple and accessible step of planting things bees can use for food is overlooked but critical to their survival and revival.
Things to Consider About Beekeeping
Although spring, with all the new flowers and colors, inspires a surge of interested beekeepers, pollinators require food year-round. Those considering beekeeping need to think about how much food is available for bees, no matter the time of year. Planting seasonal-friendly plants is a way to ensure bees have what they need, but this should be a forethought, not an afterthought. Another consideration is the handling of pests – pesticides must be out, and natural deterrents in. Since many get into beekeeping for honey, every beekeeper should think about a way to extract honey without crushing the bees before starting. Tools available allow the honey to be removed in a way that protects the bees, but the brutal harvest process is no longer acceptable.
Beekeepers and Scientists Agree
Everyone is committed to helping bees, and other pollinators believe education is the key to harnessing the enthusiasm and passion of the people touched by the threatening low numbers of bees in the environment. Working in communities to create reforestation and restoration spaces that naturally create habitable space for all pollinators is a win for everyone.
A Solid First Step
When someone new is interested in beekeeping, it is a great idea to visit a local beekeeper and spend some time with hives. Learning what is happening locally and how others keep their hives healthy is an opportunity to be seized. Healthy hives and invested beekeepers can attract not only honeybees but native bees as well. If there is enough food for all of them, this is an incredible opportunity to build back the bee populations in the area.
However, those persistent in wanting to start keeping hives are wise to seek advice and guidance from experienced local beekeepers. Often, if someone seems genuinely interested in maintaining hives, caring and professional beekeepers will come to the property to assess the critical factors that affect successful hive establishment. Some of those factors that beekeepers look at are who resides in the home, its location, and access to resources. The best beekeepers will spend time reviewing the whole picture of what beekeeping involves and the highs and lows beekeepers will inevitably experience in their journey. Contact DTek to work with experienced and professional beekeepers if you live in Southern California.