To Bee Or Not To Bee.....
Do you ever find that some things just keep reappearing in your life making you ask yourself, "Should I should really check into this or that?" That is the story of my life! I can tell you that it has made for some very interesting projects that I thought I would never have been involved in on my own. It has led to homeschooling, gardening, keeping chickens, woodworking etc. Each in many ways connecting to the other.
Keeping bees is something that has sparked my curiousity over the years. Dancing through the yard bare-footed as a child hoping not to squish the bees feeding on clover to my master gardener training program. Not to mention the fact that my name, Melissa, means "honey-bee"
Here's the definiton I found on my name:
The girl's name Melissa \m(e)-lissa, mel(is)-sa\ is pronounced ma-LISS-ah. It is of Greek origin, and its meaning is "bee; honey". Mythology: the name of a princess of Crete who was changed into a bee after she learned how to collect honey. The name was used since ancient Greece.
I must say that I'm hoping the part about turning into a bee after learning to collect honey isn't true, lol.
In my endeavors of sustainability, beekeeping has its rightful place. I need them and at the looks of the devastation on bee colonies, I think they need me too. Feeding people, animals and insects are what I seem to do best right now. It will just be another excuse for me to plant more bee food!
After some research and looking at my pocketbook, I think I'm going to look into Top Bar Hives for keeping bees. Here's why:
Top Bar is known to be economical for the backyard beekeeper plus healthier for the bees and the beekeeper. One of things I hadn't considered was how hard it can be on one's back with the traditional hives as below:
That's a huge factor in considering my own sustainability! :)
Research is underway on what is causing the deaths of so many bees. There is a list that's pretty long about speculations. Top Bar benefits seem to help bees in the fact it allows them to build more natural sized combs and each cell is regulated by the bees, not hive dimensions -one of the many thoughts on what may be part of the colony collapse problem.
I personally am looking for a healthy hive, ease of use and overall lower maintenance and cost. If you start to calculate all of the expenses on setting up an apiary with all of its equipment, it will take years to see a profit. Top Bar is more geared to the rest of us non-commercial producers, no matter what size of backyard you have.
Here are a few websites that have helped me:
There are directions for building your own Top bar beehive on two of the websites.
I'm hoping to take a course in keeping bees this next spring. I'll keep you posted on my progress in that direction. :) Hopefully I'll still be able to type if I turn into a bee!