Beekeeping as a Hobby – “How you can easily help to save the Bees”
Beekeeping as a Hobby – “How you can easily help to save the Bees” & it can even be fun & satisfying for you personally. Plus a small guide what you can do if you are not able or willing to take care of a beehive yourself.
This article will include:
- A small introduction into the current situation of bees & why it’s necessary to take action
- An insight into the way Andrea started to have Bees as a Hobby: her story & thoughts
- How you can start to have bees yourself: what should you know & further conditions like work load etc.
- Recommendations to get more information from, organizations, movies, and other initiatives.
So lets start:
A small introduction into the current situation of bees & why it’s necessary to take action
If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live – Albert Einstein
- 90% of all the plants have to be pollunated by insects, mainly Honeybees, followed by butterflies, bumblebees, wesps and flies
- 1/3 of the Foodindustry is completly dependend on the pollunation through bees
- There is a loss of 40% of all Bees in America since 2006
- There is a loss of 25% of all Bees in Europe since 1985
- There is a loss of 45% of all Bees in England since 2010
3 biggest Causes for this:
” Believed to be responsible for the most dramatic losses of the global bee colonies, insecticides have been found to be present in pollen and nectar, meaning these chemicals are ingested by bees and other pollinators. Pesticides affect bees in a number of ways including their developmental rate, feeding behavior and even by affecting their learning process through neurotoxins, which impact their flower and nest recognition abilities along with their navigation skills. In addition, insecticides compromise their immune systems, making them more vulnerable to disease and parasites” ( Natural living, 2017). Greenpeace identified 7 most crucially effecting insecticides which need to be banned, which include:
- Destruction of Natural Habitat
“Both through urbanization and the increasing need for more agricultural land, we are systematically destroying our woodlands, grasslands, forests, fields, and hedgerows – all the natural habitats of pollinators”. Monocultures of especially wheat, corn and almonds are causing big problems and make especially rural bees suffer from pesticides & other toxins as well as a limited source of food. Also mass
- Climate Change
“The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) believes that the effects of climate change – rising temperatures, fluctuations in rainfall and generally more extreme weather conditions – have an impact on pollinator lifespan and practices. This global warming may also affect the natural synchronization between bees and plant life cycles”( Natural living, 2017). But the direct impact of global warming on Honeybees is still in the research stage.
This is not new .. the circumstances all around bees are in the media and more and more people are getting aware of the severity of the situation. So what can you do ????
We have watched quit some good documentations now & a dear friend and a dear friend of Moritz gave us a close insight into her method of helping the bees.
- honey bees are also responsible for the decline of the wild pollinator bees
This is mainly due to the competition of food and nutrition. The actual vital species for pollination are the wild bees which are often times even surpressed by enthudiatsic hobby bee keeper.
“If you keep bees, make sure to include wild bees as well! They are the real pollinators & are endangered by conventional honey bees”
Find a really good article on this topic here.
Information on how to support and get wild bees here.
An insight into the way Andrea started to have Bees as a Hobby: her story & thoughts
Andrea is my practitioner of natural therapies in Germany. She recently graduated from the German institution of natural therapists and I am so happy to have her as a friend and practitioner. Andrea and her family are living in the Bavarian countryside in a small village together with a few animals and their amazing varity of crops and flowers (dreaming of this in the future as well :).
She inspires us because her manner of living in harmony with nature and her family is real, and she is always informing herself about recent happenings in this subjects. That is also how she came up with the idea of having bees in her garden, she is so passionate about beekeeping that soon after she had her first brood, her husband and son started with their own brood as well.
Right now they are having over 150.000 Bees in 5 folks and it is hard to keep all of them in an environment where mono culture is at point and nourishment for the bees is rare. She is also willing to help other people giving an Introduction on how to keep the bees in the “https://www.bienenkugel.de/” which is much more convenient for the Bees and the keeper.
The first thing she showed us was a so called Wax melter in which she processes the collected Bee wax which she later uses for candles. The room smelled like a cosy winter day and honey milk. Definitly a bonus of having bees – Having the left over wax !
Moritz holding the fresh processed wax in his hands.
The Bee Ball :
the next thing Andrea introduced us to was her hive. She personally started with having one hive in a bee box, but after she studied further and educated herself about having bees, she decided to have a bee ball. Which simply differs in structure and form from the right angled equivalent. Andreas Heidinger, who had bees himself once experienced that bees are not likely to build up their honeycombs in the corners. That is when he decided to restructure the normal bee box (Bee Careful, 2016).
Advantages of the “Bee Ball”:
- Its a natural way for the bees to build up their honeycombs.
- Due to the strong walls & the form its easier to hold the temperature for the bees, which means less heating stress. That also results in a smaller consumption of food of the bees themself
- Less molts and illnesses, due to the fact that most bee balls are build from dead wood, which is able to soak in excess water. The normal structures tend to be colder or fluctuate in temperature which leads to dew in those areas.
- Easy to keep, due to the fact that bee balls don’t use a lot of space.
(Bee Careful, 2016)
We had the opportunity to get an insight into all of her hives and they also opened one of the bee balls for us.
Other than most beekeepers Andrea doesn’t use smoke when opening the Bee ball she uses a cloth drained in oil of cloves. This results again in less stress, as the bees do not get the impression of fire but experience a calming and relaxation from the oil.
Find it here.
This is another bee ball, which inhabites the bees of Andreas Son. It was incredible to see the bees and how calm they were although they didn’t use any smoke.
We even could taste some fruits of the bushes next to the hive. The whole bush was full. probably because of the good polination ;). So its a win win situation. You are giving food and space to the bees whereas they pollinate your garden as well as give you honey and wax if you please.
Here you can see a honeycomb from the bee ball. The darker parts in the middle are the brood with the larvaes, wheras the light parts on top are all filled wih sweet, fresh honey.
Fresh bee pollen from a sustainable source. Sweet and intense. Andrea and her family always use to take them out from a kind of sink where the bees can voluntarily leave the bee pollen.
If you are interested into what the industry does with beepollen also read this article: https://www.truefoodsblog.com/articles/bee-pollen-as-superfood-good-or-bad_916/
Here you can see a beautifu example of a Bee Garden. Its basically a mixture of plants and flowers which are offering nectar to the bees. What most people don’t know is that most flowers that they have in their gardens are useless for bees. So here is a website what you could also do to help the bees:
Furthermore, inform yourself about alternatives to sugar water to feed your bees! There are plenty better options.
How you can start to have bees yourself: what should you know & further conditions like work load etc.
The first thing you should have is passion and responsibility. You should have the passion to do good for the bees and be able to take the responsibility. This mainly means that you should educate yourself as much as possible. Watch documentaries, read books, ask beekeepers and go to seminars.
Workload: After a phase of collecting all the necessary information, your bee ball, the hive, the food and all the necessary supplies, a bee hive does not require more than 2 hours in 14 days, depending on the time of the year.
Where should you live?: basically anywhere where you have little space ourdoor to place your bee ball. A small balcony in a city is perfect 🙂 According to Andrea, city bees are even healthier and better nourished, due to the rich table they got served with parks, flowers etc. Monocultures and agriculture are giving bees a hard time at the moment, so always make sure to plant some bee food 😉
The rest is preparation and education!
Recommendations to get more information from, organizations, movies, and other initiatives.
- “More than Honey” (2012) by Markus Imhoof
- “Queen of the Sun: what are the bees telling us?” (2010) by Taggart Siegel
- “Vanishing of the Bees” (2009) by George Langworthy and Mayam Henein
- “Bee Movie” (2009), Steve Hickner
- “Colony” ( 2009), Carter Gunn
we created a board full with easy to understand visualisations with basic information about bees and having bees: https://www.pinterest.de/truefoodsblog/bee-keeping-as-a-hobby/
Greenpeace, 2017, Bienenschutz, retrieved from: http://bienenschutz.org/situation/ Accessed on: 28.08.2017
Natural Living, 2017, Why we need to ave the bees, retrieved from: http://www.naturallivingideas.com/save-the-bees/ accessed on : 28.08.2017
Bee Careful, 2016, Bienen Kugel, retrieved from: http://www.bee-careful.com/de/initiative/die-hobosphere-bienenkugel/ accessed on: 11.09.2017
Inside Science, 2017, How the Bees you know are killing the Bees you don’t,retrieved from:https://www.insidescience.org/news/how-bees-you-know-are-killing-bees-you-don%E2%80%99t