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Why Keep Bees?

LongIsland.com

That is a question I often get. It may not be in that form. Generally it comes up in the conversation that I am a beekeeper because of someplace I've been with beekeeping, because of ...

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That is a question I often get. It may not be in that form. Generally it comes up in the conversation that I am a beekeeper because of someplace I've been with beekeeping, because of someone I know through beekeeping, or because of a comment about the advancing and changing seasons. Then the questions: You keep bees? Why?

Then there is the bewilderment stage: Aren't you afraid of getting stung? How does your wife feel about this? Are the kids safe? What do your neighbors say? Is it legal?

But it all comes down to "Why keep bees?" I have been keeping bees for about 20 years now. It started out that I wanted better pollination for my fruit trees and garden with the honey as a side item. The honey has grown in economic importance over the years. My kids have greatly benefited from the bees. But the number one reason is that I find them interesting!

I have studied pollination and transport bees for pollination but I now know that there are enough wild insects in my area to pollinate the few fruit trees and garden vegetables needing it without the domestically kept bees. They are necessary where large acreages of pollination are needed and, as we are careless with pesticides, we may sometime need kept bees for any pollination, but right now, on Long Island, I don't need bees for pollination.

I am an insulin dependant diabetic. I don't need honey. In fact, it is not good for me beyond very small amounts in my regular diet or as a quick sugar source in times of an insulin reaction. Honey has become a product for sale. My major growth spurts in the business have been to increase honey production. I now have a regular clientele who come to my self-serve stand on the front porch and get their local honey. It is a nice small business.

There is a child psychologist who stated in one of his books the theme that every kid should be able to point to his family and say that we are special, different in some way. Every kid wants to fit in but be unique too. The bees have been an aspect of my kid's lives that has helped them stand out when they wanted to but not something that was a source of derision as moods changed.

Running the bees as a small business has also provided an opportunity to teach my kids many things that will be useful to them in the future, things like: overcoming your fears, work ethic, business management, boss-worker relationships, marketing, interpersonal skills, and fun in all of these aspects of life!

But the number one reason I keep bees is because I enjoy them. I find them fascinating creatures to study. There are so many different aspects of them as individual and social creatures. More has been written about the honeybee than any other insect, than any other animal except man, and we are still learning. I am still learning!! It is something that I can pursue just about anywhere, at any time, as long as I live. It may even keep me active, as I grow older! Someday, the study of honeybees may provide the breakthrough that will help us properly care for our planet and, maybe, future colonization of space!

Yes, I keep honeybees because I find them interesting; enjoy studying them, asking questions, and searching for the answers. I find joy in communicating that spark of inquiry to a young mind, from one year olds to ninety year olds. I've had some great conversations about honeybees with people of all ages. I do it for the fun of learning something new on my own!

Visit our club web site at http://www.tianca.com/tianca3.html for complete schedules and directions.


http://www.tianca.com/tianca3.html