Good Reasons Not to Keep Bees

| 1/29/2015 4:02:00 PM

beehive in snow

If you've read my blog for very long, you know that I think keeping bees is a great idea. I think people should keep bees in the city, in the country, in the suburbs, on the rooftops, wherever they can fit a hive. In my blogs, I've extolled all the good reasons for keeping bees: helping the bees to survive when the rest of the world seems hellbent on poisoning and starving them, pollination for your garden, honey for your table.

Despite all these good reasons for keeping bees, some very good reasons exist for not keeping bees. I'll list a few.

1. You want a hobby that makes money. Bees are expensive! The woodenware to put them in, the protective clothing, the tools, the actual bees, the vehicle to carry the equipment around in, a honey house and equipment for harvesting the honey, not to mention continually replacing all of the aforementioned. I kept bees for 6 years before I ever made a penny in profit. Since then, it's been hit or miss, like any other kind of agriculture only without the subsidies!

2. You want a hobby that requires very little work. Keeping bees is hot, hard, heavy work, especially south of the Mason-Dixon line. Harvesting occurs on the hottest days of the year, when you will be sweating inside 2 sets of clothing to lift heavy honey-filled supers from hives of ill-tempered bees.

Beekeeping requires continual study and learning to stay ahead of whatever is trying to kill them: honey and larva predation, mites, fungus, bacterial and viral diseases, pesticides, to name a few. The many things you will have to learn will include bee and honey plant biology, crude carpentry, and your local weather and seasonal patterns.

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