By Amanda Williams
Honeybees offer a solution to obstacles in a self-sufficient lifestyle, such as making sweeteners, finding materials to waterproof fabric or treat furniture, and increasing crop yield in your garden.
Certain aspects of a self-sufficient lifestyle are difficult to wrap your mind around when first getting started. One of the keys to adapting to the lifestyle is to find solutions that don’t answer only one issue, but several, just as the honeybees do.
Wrapped up in their sticky, buzzing hives are old traditions of protecting ourselves from the wind and the rain and helping our furniture shine and last longer. Not to mention their honey, a product renowned for its indefinite storage potential that everyone craves.
As William Cobbett said, “Every farmer will understand me when I say that he ought to pay for nothing in money which he can pay for in anything but money.”
A Rundown on Beekeeping
Once you get started on the road to becoming a beekeeper, there are many decisions to make. There are numerous ways to go about beekeeping, varying in frame form, placement, bee varieties, and more.
The most helpful advice we can give you without three pages of beekeeping descriptions is to join your local bee club. People raise bees all over the country, from small towns to large cities.
Joining the local club allows you to find a mentor, talk about overcoming current challenges, and learn about the needs of bees in your area faster than you would be yourself. They can also help educate you on the local laws.
Beyond that suggestion, here are our top five tips to be a successful beekeeper:
Know your bees
Learning about beekeeping is one thing, but learning about honeybees is another entirely. Try to find out more about their life cycles, social systems, and overall behavior to understand better the hive’s attitude and what they need.
Start with a standard beehive style.
Don’t think that you need to master the art of beekeeping and showcase it using a complicated configuration. Try simple first and then build from there as you and your bees get used to each other.
Time your inspections carefully.
We won’t put a number on this since each beekeeper tends to use a different one. Understand that inspecting the hive is highly disruptive to their activity, so don’t do it more than once a week. It can take less than two weeks for bees to realize they have run out of space, so don’t wait too long.
Even at the beginning, start with two hives instead of one.
Taking on two hives does not exponentially increase the amount of work you put in. Instead, it increases your chances of success and allows you to measure the successes and failures of new methods.
Bees have been around for thousands of years, primarily living on their own. You don’t need to do everything just right for them to push through and survive. Come up with a routine, and for the first couple of years, carefully measure how it works. Adapt from there.
The Pros of Beekeeping
How can adding bees to your life make such a huge difference? By providing so many answers to seemingly unachievable obstacles to an entirely self-sufficient lifestyle. Bees have many big positives to consider, here are just a few:
Bees take up a small amount of space
Livestock is often the first thought for those who move towards a self-sufficient life. However, caring for animals can be demanding, and many don’t have space for them. Bees provide a good start towards caretaking.
Use their wax as a waterproof sealant
Beeswax is handy when you want to waterproof clothing. It doesn’t have only to be clothing either but can include shoes, camping supplies, and anything else that needs protection. Try to warm the object up if possible and melt the beeswax. Then, paint it on with a one-inch paint brush.
Use their wax to seal wood
Creating a wood polish finish would have been near to impossible for many before knowing about beeswax. Use it to give wood furniture a wax polish finish.
Bees are incredible pollinators.
Sometimes, owning bees creates a chicken and an egg conundrum: did the bees come before or after the great garden? Either way, when you raise bees, you are also helping to build a healthy environment.
Fresh honey each year
The most well-known and beloved aspect of raising bees is fresh honey. Year after year, bees produce honey as a response to help sustain them during winter months or times of plant dormancy. Although you have to leave some for them, the amount of honey a couple of bee boxes can produce is often surprising.
Changing your life step by step can influence other people to make positive changes to their own. Receiving a jar of your honey or witnessing the results of honeybees pollinating their trees and plants helps both of you appreciate how simple things can make life more valuable.
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