Beekeeping

Throughout history, honeybees have always been surrounded by mystery, wonder, and admiration. The magical taste and powerful benefits of flowing sweetness, produced by honeybees is enticing enough to make one want to learn more about these amazing little wonders of Nature.

The art of beekeeping is demanding and labor intensive but equally rewarding. The precious role of honeybees in our environment only makes this occupation even more inspiring. Being a beekeeper means caring for honeybees, health of colonies and the environment they live in.

Honeybees, even though kept in hives, are in no way domesticated. Beekeepers can only manage their colonies to the best of their abilities. There is no way of telling honeybees how to behave, where to fly and gather the nectar, or to stop swarming. Honeybees have a collective mind of their own and beekeepers can only try to figure out what will they do next! Perhaps this is the reason why, every time a hive is opened, an overwhelming feeling of amazement takes over! We realize that we are working with these wild creatures which we cannot control. And, the mystery which resides within the box is now revealed; we see thousands of bees, all performing their tasks, as if they haven’t even noticed that they are being watched. We see various stages of little pearly white larvae, curled on the bottom of cells, feeding on bee bread. We see many capped cells, behind which a magical process of metamorphosis occurs when larvae become adult honeybees. We see lots of tiny little eggs, which resemble small rice grains, except much smaller in size. We see pollen stores, main protein source of the colony. And, of course, the main reason we care for these little wonders, the prized honey, source of carbohydrates for honeybees! I would say that honeybees engage all of our senses. We can see colonies develop and grow, and busy bee-lines change depending on the time of the day, we can smell the ripening honey on a warm summer afternoon, we can hear them buzz around our heads while working in a garden, and we can taste the sweetest creations of all – honey.

But, there are also many amazing things, occurring outside the hive, of which honeybees teach us. Pollination is one of them. Honeybees do not perform this task for us. They are gathering pollen for food to their young and feed themselves. As they fly from flower to flower, they end up providing us with this valuable service. Flowers have learned to reward honeybees for the service performed by producing nectar for them. Blooms of many plants, especially nut trees require pollination in order to produce nuts. Many fruits and berries could get by without being pollinated. But, if pollinated, the fruit yield and size will increase tremendously!

Despite their small size, honeybees play a role of a giant in our ecosystem. Unfortunately, because of the lack of nutrition, honeybees are no longer as strong and healthy as they used to be. They can no longer defend their colonies from various pests and diseases. Instead, they become weaker and weaker. However, there is something that can be done to change this situation. Let’s help our honeybees be healthy by providing them with various nectar and pollen sources throughout the year so that they are better able to engage their natural defenses and provide us with their valuable pollination service and sweet honey. Plant native wildflowers, keep them free of pesticides, and enjoy the gifts of life from honeybees!

Comments are closed