Many of us know that the commercial-grade honey and honey-based products we see on grocery store shelves come from bee farms. Beekeeping is the primary method of producing honey, and it can be a profitable hobby or business venture. We know that honey has many health benefits, but how about the endeavor of beekeeping?
Here, we’ll explore three surprising health benefits bees can bring and why you should try out beekeeping.
1. Bees Keep You Physically Active
Tending to a bee colony or several colonies takes dedication. It means that you have to do daily monitoring, checking, and tasks to ensure that the bees are in good condition and that their hives are not invaded by pests, damaged, or destroyed. Physical activity similar to a moderate workout, which is good for muscle development and cardiovascular health, is one of the health benefits of beekeeping that beekeepers can achieve without conscious effort. Most beekeepers don’t realize that they are giving themselves a good daily workout with the job or hobby they love to do every day.
Beekeeping is a year-round activity where the tasks are divided by season. Spring is a busy season for beekeepers as this is the season that bees prepare for nectar harvesting and filling up their honeycombs. Bees may also look for new homes during spring, so beekeepers will also be busy preparing an empty hive and feeding the bees until the flowers are in full bloom. For those with more than one beehive, regular inspections must be done to check for brood patterns and monitor the status of the queens of each hive. Summer requires less manual feeding of the bees as they will be regularly collecting nectar. You still need to do daily monitoring of their activities, like checking for the harmony of the hives, watching out for infestations and diseases, and checking the queen’s reproduction patterns. Honey harvesting begins during summer, and usually peaks during late summer until late fall. Fall or autumn is when honey harvesting ramps up, but beekeepers will leave some honey for the bees to use during winter. Monitoring is still necessary to keep beehives disease-free, secured from invaders and pests, and reinforced for the coming winter. During winter, beekeepers need to ensure that disease treatments for all hives are complete. They will also check for proper ventilation of the hives to avoid condensation damage. Late winter will be the time to start manually giving food to the bees and a time for ordering new equipment and bees.
4. Beekeeping Boosts the Immune System
Handling and taking care of bees means you get to spend most of your time outdoors. Aside from getting a regular dose of cardio exercise, beekeepers get to breathe in the fresh air. During spring and summer where bees are most active, beekeepers also get exposed to pollen. For those with pollen allergy, regular exposure to pollen can help the body build up immunity over time, which can help overcome pollen allergy. An interesting substance produced by bees is bee pollen, which is highly valued as an ingredient in food supplements due to its abundant nutrient content and health benefits like anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Beekeepers have direct access to beehive products such as honey, royal jelly, and propolis, which not only taste great but can also be added to other food to give great nutritional value. Propolis is also highly valued as a health food and dietary supplement due to its abundant content of polyphenols, which can help prevent diseases and boost the immune system. These products are often consumed by beekeepers in their raw form or with little pasteurization, giving them a more concentrated volume of nutrients compared to commercial products.
3. Beekeeping Keeps the Mind Healthy
Beekeeping doesn’t require much intellectual activity, but it engages the mind enough to keep it healthy. Taking care of bees and their colonies require beekeepers to be investigative, which means that they have to be observant, inquisitive, and introspective. Hives and colonies need to be regularly and closely monitored, but in such a way that the hive building and daily activities of bees are not disrupted too much. Certain decisions will need to be made and implemented by beekeepers, especially when it comes to the sustainability of the beehives and bee colonies. There has to be harmony and peaceful coexistence between strong and weak hives, and weak hives may be added to stronger ones if necessary to stabilize the bee population. Replacing the queen also needs quick thinking through comb pattern and brood pattern observations. The minds of beekeepers are always at work and there is never a dull moment in taking care of bees.
It is also worth noting that there are health benefits that can be derived from keeping bees, aside from the financial benefits of selling bee products. It’s not just consuming bee products that can benefit our health, but also regularly doing a job or hobby that you love like beekeeping can keep you fit and healthy. You get to keep your blood pressure in check, keep yourself busy and productive, enjoy the outdoors, and keep yourself from getting bored. Beekeeping can be a life-changing endeavor and you can start any time.