Home Gardening Keeping Bees On Your Homestead – More Than Just Honey

Keeping Bees On Your Homestead – More Than Just Honey

by Anthony

Photo by Damien TUPINIER on Unsplash

Bees play an important role in food production – between 75% and 95% of flowering plants need help with pollination. Bees pollinate 1200 crops and 180,000 plant species and one in every three bites of food that is eaten worldwide is there thanks to bees and other pollinators. Bees are also important on the road self-sufficiency as they produce honey and other products. Here are some tips on how to reap the benefits of keeping bees in your homestead garden.

Reasons To Keep Bees

Bees are a gardener’s best friend, transferring pollen from plant to plant in their search for nectar. Moreover, evidence shows that crop quality is improved when pollinated by the right type of bee; shelf life is extended and the nutritional value of crops is increased. Bees also produce honey, a wonderful natural sweetener which can be kept for years and has many medicinal uses thanks to its antibacterial properties. But bees do not just produce honey! Beeswax is used for candles, creams and furniture products. Royal Jelly is a naturally occurring rejuvenating substance and propolis can be used as a medicine or skin ointment.

Getting Started

To get started, first ensure that you have enough foraging area for the bees. In a survey of beekeepers carried out by the Forage, Nutrition & Roadsides Task Force, the needs for foraging land for bees are between 1 and 5 acres. As far as beehives are concerned, you can make your own beehive or there are a wide range of commercially produced beehives available to suit every need. You will also need leather gloves, a veil, a jacket and hive tools. Once you have set up your hive, introduce the queen bee to the hive followed by the rest of the bees. Then wait, it will take around a year until your bees start making honey.

Bee-Friendly Gardening

To provide food for your bees, plant pollen-rich flowers in your garden including varieties that flower throughout the whole year. Bees also love herbs such as mint, rosemary, thyme and sage as well as the blossom of fruit trees. Choose several shapes and colors of flowers and plant them in clumps. In the event of any pests or diseases in your garden avoid the use of pesticides which are harmful to bees. Bugs can be reduced by good cultivation, careful section of plants and biological control. Moreover, some “pests” are actually food for pollinators such as aphids which are food for hoverfly larvae.

This post was written by the wonderful Cassie Steele.

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