“If the bees disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.” -Albert Einstein
I have only had bees on my farm for 5 years but I will never garden without them again. I love bees and the work they do so much that for the past two years I had three hives right by my garden. Throughout the season while hoeing and weeding and picking, the dense drone of bees was ever present. The first day or two it was a bit disconcerting but once I began to see the little workers pollinating the flowers almost quicker than they could open, I was sold on bees. My gardens have never been as plenteous as when I had bees present. The three hives produced somewhere around 21,000 little co-producers, not only pollinating the flowers but also making the best tasting honey ever! They don’t even take a share in the fruit and vegetable harvest.
I have been lucky enough to attend two international beekeeping meetings in Turin, Italy and other than inside the city limits of Paris where all pesticide use is banned for all parks and gardens, the bee population is decreasing with terrifying swiftness. From the Russian forests to the fields of rice in India to the vast plains of the Yukon one beekeeper after another told horror stories about disappearing bee populations. You can trust me on this one; you do not want to get on the wrong side of an Uzbekistani beekeeper all worked up about GMO crops and its affect on bees and honey – it’s not pretty!
Contrary to popular misconceptions, it doesn’t take much land to keep a hive of bees and you can get started for about $275.00 for a hive, 2 supers filled with frames, a queen, extruders, and 5 frames of bees. You will probably want to suit up too and that can be managed for around $20-$150 depending on your level of bravery.
If beekeeping interests you and you would like to purchase a hive, send me an email and I will get you in touch with Ibrahim Talafhah, a beekeeper of 22 years who has kept bees in Jordan, Belgium and now Nashville, TN. He will be placing an order for bees to arrive the middle of May.