People on the planet have been beekeeping for tens of thousands of years. Therefore, human life is closely connected with bees and bee products. Over the years, methods, tools and scales have changed, but one thing has remained the same – the benefits of beekeeping products for people and nature. I have counted 26 benefits of beekeeping in my opinion. In this article I have listed them in order, but not in importance. Because all these benefits are of great importance and each one is important in its own way.
1. Saving the bees.
Worldwide, the number of bees is declining. According to the FAO in the USA the number of bee colonies has dropped from 6 million in the 1940s to 2.6 million in 2023. The same decline can be seen in Europe. In some countries the decline is as high as 53%. By keeping bees, you contribute to saving bees and, as a consequence, to saving the world from global ecological catastrophe and the inevitable famine that will come if bees disappear.
2. Restoration of the ecosystem in your garden
Nature responds very quickly to the arrival of bees, and within a couple of years you will notice that the swede and nettles are replaced by a wide variety of flowering plants in your garden.
3. Increased yield
While in your garden, bees will engage in pollination. This will lead to increased yields from pollination-dependent fruits and vegetables. Especially pollination-dependent foods such as apples, apricots, blueberries, cherries, mangoes, peaches, plums, pears, raspberries, avocados, almonds, cashew nuts, kola nuts. If there has been a shortage of bees in your area before, it is quite possible that your harvest will double. Your neighbours and local farmers will be thankful for it.
4. Increase in soil fertility (as a consequence of the previous points)
5-17. You will receive 13 basic bee products and their derivatives
Honey, beeswax, propolis, Cappings wax, pollen, bee bread, royal jelly, drones’ homogenate, propolisated canvases, bee dung, bee venom, honeycomb honey, beeswax moths. And many more secondary products, starting from wax salves, candles and ending with the most useful beehive air! We can talk about each of these products separately, but here I will only list them.
Working in an apiary is an active pastime. Nature, fresh air, moderate physical activity, concentration of attention, stress reduction. All this will contribute to your physical and mental health. There’s even an expression called beekeeping age. These are middle-aged people who are attractive enough for their age and who take care of their health.
19. Education of children
Love of labour is what bees teach us in the first place. Working in an apiary also develops spatial thinking, logic, accuracy, beekeeping strengthens nerves and calms people who are overly irritable. Children will learn a lot of useful information about how bees make honey and other bee products, how they are organised in the hive, what their life cycle is, what benefits they bring to nature and humans by pollinating plants.
Beekeeping is a big, wonderful world that requires to be explored to understand the principles of it. By embarking on this path, you will immerse yourself in the study of these little useful creatures. I should warn you that you will not be the first. Philosophers and scientists such as Aristotle, Hippocrates, Democritus, and Pythagoras have already studied bees before you.
21. Educating other people
There is a trend in social media #savethebees. Its purpose is to draw attention to the problem of bee extinction, banning the use of pesticides. You can become part of this movement by offering your local community to visit your apiary to educate people and draw attention to the problem of bee extinction, disease, pesticide use, reduction of their habitat. In this way you will pass on your knowledge of beekeeping to others.
22. Extra income
Beekeeping can be a very lucrative business. Depending on the number of hives, it can bring in extra income. You can sell surplus honey, wax, pollen and other bee products to your neighbours or at the local farmers’ market. People are more willing to take honey that can be purchased directly from the beekeeper.
Bees are indirectly excellent security guards. From spring to autumn, they will mercilessly sting anyone who decides to attack you or enter your area without your knowledge (bees react to anger and fear – they smell adrenaline). For you, if you are calm and follow safety precautions, the couple of stings you are entitled to are only good for your body.
24. Getting closer to nature
Spending time in an apiary will bring you much closer to nature than being in the concrete jungle of the city. In a way you will be touching the activities of human beings, which they did many millennia ago. In our busy times, this is already worth a lot. Why don’t you take advantage of it.
25. Socialisation and building personal relationships
In many places there are local beekeepers’ societies that bring people together to share interests. In these societies people meet to socialise and solve their problems together. This encourages socialisation and building personal relationships with people who share their knowledge and skills. You will make new acquaintances and friends by communicating in such communities.
26. Reducing stress and anxiety
Daily life brings us a lot of stress factors. The problem of mental health is very relevant in the 21st century. Many people do yoga, meditation, exercise to reduce stress levels. Engaging in beekeeping helps people to relax, get distracted, and be in nature. All of this calms and normalises the nerves.