Why Is Beekeeping The Answer?
1. It’s risky and exciting. What fun! “If bees didn’t sting, it would be a bit like keeping flies”, Bill Turnbull, The Bad Beekeepers Club
2. It’s old school. I am looking for simplicity as an antidote to our modern complex lives. Bees don’t text, wink or befriend me. This passive indifference is the sort of relationship I want on the side. I get to just sit and watch the bees go in and out of the hive like in the clip below.
3. My childhood ambition was to be a spaceman. The beekeeper’s suit is the closest I get to living the dream! And now I have something to wear at fancy dress parties.
4. I want a hobby which is productive rather than competitive. It might even make some money (probably not). My get-rich-quick schemes haven’t worked and these days the reality is I would be happy to make £100. One hive can produce a surplus of 40kg or more in a good season (an average hive produces a surplus of about 11Kg). Who needs a pension? I can make honey in my old age! (Update: I am now making and selling honey, read I Love Honey)
5. It’s another world. The life of the honeybee and the beehive is fascinating. As you might discover, beekeeping guides are more complex and curious than the Hitchhikers Guide (but starring varroa mites as the enemy rather than Vogons).
6. It’s my chance to do a Bear Grylls, get in touch with nature and feel the seasons. I might not be as tough as Bear but I do have more stubble than him
7. What boy doesn’t love the opportunity to be the master of thousands? Beekeeping is a bit like a computer game called SimCity in which you have to build a city and make decisions on tax rates and infrastructure. In the game it would warn you if the population was getting hungry or their were riots on the streets. With bees it’s for real. Instead of setting tax rates you have to decide how much honey to take from the bees? You have to check if they have enough honey and stores? Is the queen laying? Do they need feeding?
8. Helping save the honeybee and reduce imports of honey is just a bonus.
The Surveys I have run show that over 80% of beekeepers were “Very positive – I love it and plan to continue for the rest of my life”. If you want to know what its like keeping bees then read some of my favourite beekeeping posts.
If you are interested in becoming a beekeeper then visit Getting Started.
So, what are your stories? Why did you get into beekeeping?