The hobby of beekeeping, also called apiculture, got started on a wide scale in the United States during World War II when sugar was tightly rationed.
For many during this time, what started out as a hobby burgeoned into a cottage industry.
This was especially true for women who were looking for a way to support their children while their husbands were away, or most unfortunately, became widowed by the war.
It was a very practical pursuit too because the whole family could pitch in, even the smaller children.
Today, beekeeping has become one of the fastest growing hobbies in the United States.
Further some professional beekeepers start out with a small enterprise but then grow into a full-time business.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there are approximately 212,000 beekeepers in the United States, with about 200,000 of these beekeepers doing it as a hobby and the remaining 12,000 doing it as a sideline business or as a full time business.
Europe has the United States beat in the beekeeping department! According to a research paper published in 2013 in the "PLUS ONE" journal, there are approximately 620,000 beekeepers in Europe. There are many compelling reasons why beekeeping has become so popular. We discuss a few of the best ones below.
Not only can you sell the honey, you can also sell the wax and the bees as they multiple -- and bees are very good at multiplying!
If you join a bee association in your area, there are always newbies looking for a hive to get started so it's not difficult to find a buyer.
If you have bottles of fresh, raw, unfiltered local honey on hand, you can use this liquid gold to barter for just about anything else you want or need!
Are you looking for fresh eggs, fresh caught wild fish, firewood chopped and delivered, vine ripe tomatoes, someone to take care of your dog while you're away, or piano lessons for your child?
You can probably get any of these things, and so much more, in exchange for your honey!
Even if you live in a congested metropolitan area, you can get intimate with the bees! Urban beekeeping is gaining popularity and there are bee clubs is most major cities now.
People raise bees on apartment building rooftops and business rooftops. They raise them in community gardens or in tiny backyards on city plots.
If you don't have a yard, but you know someone who does, you can offer to share honey with them if they allow you to set up your bee hives in their yard.
What better way to truly connect kids to nature, and show them how to produce their own food, than teaching them the art of apiculture.
Even if you've never raised bees yourself, you can always elicit some help from your friends at a beekeeping club. In this way, you'll be teaching how to go about learning something new.
You'll also be helping them develop positive social skills and they interact with other club members. It will also give them a sense of accomplishment and pride.
Best of all, you'll be teaching your child a practical and fun hobby they can carry with them throughout life and even pass on to your grandchildren!
Just wait until next Christmas, Hanukkah, or birthday time... everyone else will be handing out those last minute, center isle, store bought gifts everyone always gives a polite "thank you" for and then re-gifts to their neighbor... but YOU... you can be the grand gifter with jar of homemade local honey!
It will be a gift that everyone will truly appreciate and always remember.
This book is about how to keep bees in a natural and practical system where they do not require treatments for pests and diseases and only minimal interventions. It is also about simple practical beekeeping. It is about reducing your work. It is not a main-stream beekeeping book. Many of the concepts are contrary to "conventional" beekeeping. The techniques presented here are streamlined through decades of experimentation, adjustments and simplification. The content was written and then refined from responding to questions on bee forums over the years so it is tailored to the questions that beekeepers, new and experienced, have. It is divided into three volumes and this edition contains all three: Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced.