National honeybee day was started in 2009 by a group of beekeepers who wanted to promote beekeeping. The US Secretary of Agricultural made it a holiday and it has been celebrated around the country ever since. This year’s theme is sustainable gardening begins with honeybees, in an effort to get more gardeners interested in keeping honeybees. Gardening and beekeeping really go hand in hand and I have 5 tips (plus a bonus!) on why you should considering getting into beekeeping.
Top 5 Reasons Gardeners Should Become Beekeepers for National Honeybee Day
1. Beekeeping is a very fun hobby
If you enjoy digging in the garden and watching plants take root and grow into a plentiful harvest, beekeeping will similarly give you a lot of pleasure. It is so neat to bring home a 3 pound box of honeybees and have it grow to a hive with tens of thousands of bees. I love to watch the progress inside the honeybee hive too. During hive inspections, I get to see more frames filled with wax comb, then with brood, then with capped-over brood and finally with honey. We have so much fun making frames, boxes and inspecting hives that our friends, family and neighbors often get involved. We love seeing neighbors on their porches relaxing as they watch us manage our honeybee hives. It is really enjoyable for everyone around to watch.
2. Your garden will produce more thanks to nearby pollinators
We’ve had berry bushes in our yard for years, but until we had honeybees, we never had such large and prolific yields. This is a picture from 2012, the first year we kept bees, and we’d never had handfuls of these large berries before.
Our garden in 2012 did so well, this is a photo from July, and we had just planted everything in mid-May.
Did you know even cabbage is pollinated by honeybees? This cabbage was also harvested in July 2012, just 60 days after starting from seed.
3. You get the bonus of honey
Bees typically need about 60 pounds of honey, depending on your climate, to survive winter. Anything above this, you can harvest for yourself. We love having fresh honey to sell for extra cash. It is also great to have around for different recipes. Nothing is better than fresh berries with a little honey drizzled on top of yogurt! Many people don’t eat processed sugar or artificial sugar and many of our loyal customers use honey as their only sweetener.
4. You can also harvest beeswax
Beeswax is strained out of the honey and can be used for lip balm, candles, leather polish, book bindings and a whole lot more. Another product that bees make is called propolis, and this is a first rate medical product for cuts and scrapes. During the winter, it is fun to make different crafts out of beeswax and give them away as gifts throughout the year.
5. It’s relaxing to watch honeybees and manage hives
After being at work all day, don’t you just love coming home to your beautiful garden, your little slice of heaven? We love sitting in our backyard as the honeybees buzz around. Sometimes it feels like they have their own highways and byways they use to get from the hive to flowers and back again. It is also relaxing to watch bees and not have any technology or other distractions around at all.
BONUS REASON: 6. You are helping an endangered species
Did you know honeybees are endangered? Colony Collapse Disorder has many causes and is taking out bee hives on a major scale. These creatures have remained the same for millions of years and the main reason they are disappearing is because of humans. That’s why it is our responsibility to help bring them back, one backyard hive at a time.
Please join us and help celebrate National Honeybee Day on August 16th! If you are interested in becoming a beekeeper, search online for a local beekeeping club to help you get started. Many clubs and associations offer classes to get you certified and ready to manage hives in one weekend. These events start in late fall through winter, during the beekeeping off-season, which also coordinates with gardening off-season. Check out our full list of state beekeeping associations for details.