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Is Beekeeping Good for Bees?

Last Updated: 02.07.22


We all know that bees are one of the many species that suffer from human activities and climate change. However, before you decide to get a bee hive starter kit in order to help the little yellow insects, it would be a good idea to know if such an action is, in fact, helpful or not for their survival.

Many people think that simply bringing new colonies of bees into a certain area can help improve this biodiversity issue, but the truth is that a certain local balance is crucial and this involves wild bees as well. Most of the times, a new beehive can be shipped from a completely different location with a factory queen, and this can lead to further problems.


What about beekeeping?

There are thousands of species of bees across the world, all with their particularities, so if you really want to help those living in your area, it’s best to first understand their behavior and needs. Moreover, these needs also include plants and flowers, so these need to be protected as well if you want for bees to have any kind of future.

Some research suggests that urban beekeeping is not a very good idea either since newly introduced bees end up consuming the resources of the wild ones. Therefore, the best approach would be to protect the existing resources and let the bees develop in a friendly environment.

Most of the known animals and insects thrive when they have everything they need, so we should do whatever we can to ensure the right conditions for our honey-producing friends if we want to enjoy all the benefits for years to come. Nature always strives to maintain a balance, so if we achieve this, bees will simply take care of themselves.



Nutrition is the key

As we’ve said, no matter what other additional measures you might take such as ensuring skilled beekeeping, if the right environment is not provided, all efforts are in vain. Bees need a plentiful and balanced diet, which means that anyone who cares about keeping them safe should be a plant grower and fill flowerpots and fields with blossoms.

Nutrition is one of the main conversations going on right now on a global level. It goes from what we should eat in order to remain healthy for as long as possible, to what our pets and livestock should eat as well. This matter is of general concern, so why shouldn’t it be an important one for these insects?

Of course, it is, and bees need proper nutrition just as much as we do, for rapid growth, healthy bodies, immune system, and mental development. For this reason, when they are faced with a nutritionally-deficient environment, they can no longer take care of themselves to survive winters.

It’s true that people tend to think bees no longer produce large amounts of honey, as they used to, because they have been genetically modified, but this might not be the case, according to some experts and beekeepers.

However, the thing that cannot be contested is that the overall environment has drastically changed in recent years, which leads us to the same conclusion that the right answer lies there, in fact. Plus, these changes represent a threat for all types of bees, whether they are wild or not.

Given that large fields of alfalfa and clover are today cut at 10% bloom since this practice maximizes the protein content livestock needs, you can only imagine what happens to all the nectar, namely that is pretty much lost. These types of practices have a significant impact on the bees’ health, and we need to be aware if we want to restore their balance.


About the environment

The practice described above is just one of the many we employ today, this way affecting the lives of insects in general. Various areas across fields, such as drainages and windbreaks used to have weeds growing around, but today are kept clean using herbicides. What this means is that bees and other insects no longer have a place to shelter, nest, and store nectar and pollen.

Such areas also represent a source of drinking water, shade, tunnels, mud collection, and other uses, but we thought it would be a good idea to take it all away using chemicals, even though this means potential death for bees.

As we’ve already said, it’s important to consider the entire bee population of an area, not just the honey-producing one. While some honey bees can fly for several miles, many of the native ones cannot cross the entire length of a large parking lot. This tells us a lot about how much local bees can, in fact, protect themselves by flying somewhere else.


A few words about crops

Those who are not familiar with bees might think that large monocrops are in fact a good thing, but there’s a catch here. Such crops bloom all at once, which means that once this phase is done, there is nothing left for bees to forage.

A natural field includes various types of flowers that bloom one after the other throughout the season, which means that bees as well have a lot of work to do in a versatile environment that offers multiple benefits. This is always a better choice than having a supersize meal and nothing afterward.

You might think that even these areas are not as large and that the world can accommodate crops and bees at the same time. However, if you take a moment and consider the size of all the spaces unsuitable for bees, including cities, lawns, farms, industrial sites, large invasive crops, or chemically-treated ones, you will start to see just how uncertain the fate of these insects is.

The sad part is that we usually tend to start taking these matters under consideration only when they affect our own interests, and the truth is that in the case of bees, this is already happening. One might not be able to notice the damage done to native bees, but we can already see the large effects on honey bees.



So what is the solution?

You can certainly get a new hive and see how it works in your area, but this is just a small step. Moreover, you should make sure that you don’t add more to the already existing environmental stress, by adding a new species that might hinder the existing ones.

On the other hand, there are other things that we can do, even if we are not beekeepers or otherwise related to these fascinating insects, and we simply want to protect the environment and its balance. The answer is that we should first save and protect the flowers and there are several ways in which this can be achieved.

The number of plants should be increased, and you can do your part in this by adding local and beneficial flowers to your garden, even if this is the only thing you do. Moreover, the use of pesticides needs to be reduced, so even if you have a small area of land that you are working, don’t use chemicals no matter the benefits they might seem to bring.




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December 20, 2019 at 4:48 pm

I liked that you said that bees need just as much and proper nutrition as humans do in order to develop healthily. My nephew told me the other day that he is thinking about learning to beekeeping and he is really excited about the idea, and I am curious to know about this more. I think it would be good for him to find a mentor that could teach him the most essentials components of this job so he can enjoy it and care for the bees.

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