Why Urban Beekeeping Is Taking Off!
Healthy Bees Make a Healthy Planet
Bees play a crucial role in the Earth's ecosystem. They are essential for biodiversity, as they have a symbiotic relationship with flowering plants, and they are an important part of the food chain. They pollinate plants and trees, crops that we rely on as food sources, and the cotton we wear against our skin.
Bee Populations Are On The Decline
Colony Collapse Disorder has been causing mass bee deaths over recent years and it is a widely-discussed phenomenon today, however most people who are concerned about CCD and bee health feel helpless when it comes to reducing the plight of the bees. When asked why bees are dying prematurely and in vast numbers, experts point to a combination of the varroa mite and other viruses, however the root of the problem can be attributed to a variety of factors including the way bees are currently 'farmed' and the use of pesticides and insecticides used in modern-day agricultural practices, which have inevitably entered the bee food chain.
Bees Need A Break From Being Farmed Like Cattle
In modern agricultural practices bees are treated like commodities in the same way that factory farm animals are used for maximum output using minimal resources and space. In many countries today bees are fed sugar-water in place of their own nutrient-rich honey and confined to small compact hives which are stacked on top of another and designed to allow constant interference from from their farmers. These large-scale bee "keepers" use bee colonies to pollinate vast quantities of the same crop in one sitting, for example a single almond plantation, then they package them up again to let loose on the next field. Like cattle, their natural feeding habits and freedoms are restricted, and they succumb to health problems as a consequence of these unnatural practices.
Urban Beekeeping Is Necessary For Strengthening Bee Populations
The primary aim of natural beekeeping is not to harvest the products bees create, such as honey and beeswax, but to help colonies to maintain optimum health by giving them a safe, non-invasive space to 'bee'.
One of the best ways you can do this is by offering a small space in your garden to the bees. Due to the vastly different plants available within small spaces in urban areas, bees actually thrive in busy cities and towns. A backyard space in a city provides an ideal habitat for a bee colony. Bees can travel large radiuses to access further nutritious plant nectar, and bees kept in urban areas are also less likely to encounter large amounts of pesticides and insecticides which are commonly used to treat crops en masse in countryside fields.
Backyard Beekeeping Doesn't Cost You Anything
It can cost virtually nothing to provide a rich habitat for a colony of bees, but the value of this colony to our planet is immense. Natural beekeeping does not require the use of the expensive equipment that is used to interfere with the bee patterns, such as smoking them out to get their honey, or donning protective suits to avoid attacks triggered by "harvesting".
Bees Have Much To Teach Us
Left to themselves, bees are harmless creatures, busy running the hive in their various allocated roles, working all day long, and serving and protecting the queen bee. All they need from you is a safe base to come back to at the end of a working day, and in return for this you get to watch the fascinating way in which these insects work together. The bee dance is simply amazing to witness first-hand.
When you 'keep' bees in this manner you come to realise that these humble, hardworking insects keep the natural order of things buzzing in a way that humans can only partially understand, but that we can certainly learn to appreciate more. Have you ever used the phrase 'the bees knees' to describe something of high quality or excellence? Such is the world of the bees. When you become a backyard beekeeper, you open up a complex, beautiful facet of the natural world.