So, you’re thinking about becoming a beekeeper but need a little encouragement to take the plunge? To help you out, we’ve pulled together the biggest list of beekeeping benefits on the internet. As you’ll soon see, the advantages of beekeeping are many.
Honey is easy to find in most stores, but commercial products don’t compare to the comb taken directly from the hive. It tastes better and has more nutritional benefits.
Producing your own honey isn’t just about the quality of the product though. Like those who brew beer or farm their own eggs, harvesting your own honey is intensely rewarding.
2. Help the environment
Our television screens and social media channels are full of depressing stories about the plight of honey bees. Beekeeping arms us with a way to play our part in saving the earth.
You probably already know that bees are pollinators, transferring pollen between flowers. What you may not know is that these furry flying insects play an essential role in helping pollinate 80% of flowering plants. Many of the crops that humans use for consumption rely on the use of bees.
Your bee colony will do its part, pollinating the local flora as well as spreading diversity through the ecosystem. Keeping bees also helps increase the bee population, providing them with favorable conditions to thrive.
3. Bolster the economy
Bees play their part in helping economies in countries around the globe. To begin with, they produce a range of economic resources like honey and propolis. In the United States alone, honey bees produced $321 million worth of honey in 2021.
The biggest way bees contribute to the economy is by pollinating crops. It is estimated that bee pollination contributes $15 billion in added crop value.
Starting an apiary will provide a big economic help to farmers in your area. You’re indirectly helping improve crop yields, meaning fruit and vegetable prices are lower. Of course, one beehive may not have much impact financially, but they all add up. The more beekeepers the better!
4. Get free royal jelly
Royal jelly is made by honey bees to feed their larvae and queen bee during her development. It is vital to the survival of a honey bee colony so beekeepers shouldn’t just help themselves – the same goes for honey and beeswax too. But whenever there are surplus supplies, that’s your chance to stock up.
Royal jelly also has a wide range of health benefits for humans. It is packed with nutritional value and is often used as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
5. Capture amazing photos
Need some exciting content to fill your social media channels? Forget taking selfies and start capturing the beehive. Bees are super-photogenic and video footage of them hard at work can be mesmerizing.
Don’t believe us? Check out some of the popular bee profiles and see how many people follow them. While you’re at it, be sure to follow our Facebook channel.
6. Learn and be inspired
Studying bees is an eye-opening experience. They are truly remarkable insects with complex social structures and the ability to do stuff that we humans still don’t understand.
We can all learn about bees from a book or by watching a video, but nothing compares to practical experience. Direct observation will help you understand how a colony operates, providing knowledge and inspiration.
Beekeeping may even help you unravel some of life’s mysteries. Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, was an avid observer of bees.
7. Help develop kids
With adult supervision, beekeeping will provide children with useful life lessons. Getting past a fear of getting stung could be the most important. They’ll learn that bees are more interested in building hives than causing anyone harm.
Even if you don’t have children, you can always get the neighbors involved. Schools and gardening clubs would also jump at the chance for you to share your knowledge of bees.
8. Build personal relationships
In most areas, beekeeping associations allow like-minded people to meet and talk about their passion, bees. There are also apps like Meetup that help you network with people that share similar interests.
You’ll find at social gatherings non-beekeepers will also be intrigued by your hobby. It makes a great conversation starter, even with someone you wouldn’t normally have much in common with.
9. Reduce stress and anxiety
Everyday life can take its toll on our mental health. While yoga, meditation, and exercise are all great options, beekeeping is also an effective relation technique.
The combination of gentle buzzing, getting outside and focusing on helping the colony is considered calming by many beekeepers.
10. Help local gardens flourish
Beekeeping doesn’t just help large-scale farms with their crops. Your backyard garden and all the surrounding homes and parks will also thrive, thanks to your army of honey bees.
Home gardeners notice a significant improvement in fruit and vegetable yield. Tomatoes, apples, cherries, flowers, and more are rewarded by a ready supply of bees looking to gather pollen and cross-pollinate in the process.
11. Get low-effort pets
People often think of bees as time-consuming, but in fact, they’re generally self-sufficient. Unlike cats, dogs, and rabbits that need feeding daily, bees can be left to their own devices most of the time.
Beehives don’t require much space either. Depending on your local laws, you may be able to start beekeeping in a built-up urban area.
12. Dress up like an astronaut
Getting dressed up in a bee suit is fun and people often find it empowering standing amongst bees. Kids also think they’re cool and will want to try it on for themselves any chance they get.
13. Get free propolis
Propolis is another byproduct of beekeeping. It is made by honey bees, combining tree sap with beeswax, bee saliva, and other ingredients.
Although propolis may not be revered like honey and royal jelly, it also has some useful health benefits. It is believed to fight against some viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Propolis may bolster immunity to some diseases and can help the skin heal.
14. Build a stock of bee pollen
Bee pollen found in beehives isn’t the same as what you get from a flower. It has been mixed with many other substances like honey, nectar, enzymes, and beeswax. The result is a superfood that contains over 250 active ingredients. Bee pollen is found in stores, often sold as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, or dietary supplement.
As with everything that’s made by honey bees, they rely on bee pollen to survive through winter. An ethical beekeeper will only take what the hive can spare.
15. Get surplus beeswax
As a beekeeper, you can’t just reach into hives and break off beeswax as you need it. The hive needs it for storing food supplies and for rearing its young. But sometimes, things happen. If your colony doesn’t make it through winter or they swarm, you’ll have leftover beeswax which can be melted into candles or blocks for other uses.
Like everything produced by honey bees, wax has various health benefits and is also useful as a skincare product.
16. Earn extra income
Beekeeping isn’t a get-rich-quick opportunity, but you can still make money from your hives. The more you build up over time, the higher the potential payoff.
Honey bees produce products that can be sold if there is a surplus that the hive can do without. Experienced beekeepers can also make money by breeding bees and selling them to people looking for more bees.
If you build your hives into a large-scale operation, you may be able to rent out the hives to farmers. In areas where bees are in low numbers, farmers pay well to have their crops pollinated. Just make sure to choose the right bee breed for success.
17. Get a tax break (if you’re lucky)
If you’re beekeeping to make money, then you’ve got a business. Depending on the tax laws where you live, you may be able to claim expenses like beekeeping supplies.
We know a lot about bees but not so much about tax, so speak to a tax specialist or accountant on this matter.
18. Develop bee sting immunity
Although beekeepers take precautions to avoid getting stung, the occasional sting may still get occur. Interestingly, many beekeepers gain immunity to stings over time. Most would consider this a handy advantage of beekeeping.
Anyone with allergies to bee stings should always take extreme care around bees.
19. Start a cheap hobby
Many popular hobbies like golf, photography or sailing cost a lot of money to get started. If you decide to start beekeeping, the startup costs are usually only a few hundred dollars for the basic equipment.
When you factor in honey and other products, beekeeping starts to look like a great way to keep busy without too much cost attached.
Beekeeping is a rewarding pastime that offers many benefits. Ask a beekeeper their main motivation for getting involved and you’ll likely get a range of answers. Some love entomology and appreciate the opportunity to study bees in their home; others are in it for the honey; many are getting on board to help the environment.
We’re confident you’ll find the perks of beekeeping are more than worthwhile for your situation too. It takes a bit of work to get setup, but the rewards will make it worth your while.