Have you ever thought about keeping honey bees in your backyard? Most normal-sized yards can play host to a hive or two of honey bees. A healthy hive can produce several gallons of enzyme-rich, nutrient-dense local honey every year.
Honey bee pollinators can be marvelously helpful by making fruits and vegetables more productive. Here at our farm, we keep bees not just because they help produce richer crops, but also because they are tremendously beneficial insects that are good for our neighbors and surrounding environment.
And raw honey has so many health benefits. The word ‘HONEY’ is found in 56 verses in the Bible. Proverbs 24:13: “My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste.”
We had heard a lot about the honeybee population decline especially since 2006. We wanted to help the bees and since we had trees (to shelter the hives), a water source, and clover, we called around to see if there was anyone who wanted to put out a few hives. We found what we were looking for and had a really good experience.
Our first honeybee yard at the farm, from 2002 – 2009, held 32 hives.
Now that we’ve moved, I’ve planted lots of flowers everywhere I could around our home to help in the effort to strengthen the bee population here. Plus, we’ve taken some conventionally farmed acreage out of production and are transitioning to organic hay. Now the clover and alfalfa is going to supply abundant food for the bees with no pesticides.
They did well this year!
Taking the ‘supers’ off this is usually done in late summer to fall. We found a beekeeper who needed a place to put out hives for his honey business, and we can buy our honey from him at near cost. It is a win-win situation.
Once the honey is spun out of the supers, it is moved into a tank in a warm room to help the honey flow so it can be bottled. It will go through a screen filter once and into the bottles with no more heating. The kids helped with the bottling. This clover honey is thick, super sweet, and oh, so wonderful!
The resulting raw honey is full of active enzymes and pollen which act (almost as an immunization) to halt local pollen allergies in their tracks. Our youngest son is a living testimony to the power of local honey with severe allergies.
There are no more eyes swollen shut or upper respiratory inflammation, sneezing or runny nose when He takes a tsp. a day! Because it is raw, it is very thick and contains all the bio-active nutrients and enzymes that have kept beekeepers healthy into their 90s for centuries.
Once we get it home in the big 5 pound jars, we have to put it into smaller containers for the table. One of us puts a big jar into the sink filled with very warm (but not hot) water to help it pour.
Once it is into the smaller containers, it will have to be spooned or spread. It is much better than heated or store-bought honey.
It also makes a lovely and appreciated gift!
Consider contacting your state beekeepers association. They can give you the information you need for your area. Here are some helpful sites on keeping bees:
Backyard Beekeeping; Backyard Hive; A Wonderful Bee Blog; and in Indiana, Bee Friendly Beekeeping, which exists to increase the honeybee population, by teaching people about honeybees and how to have their own hives (and honey)!
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Thanks for reading!