Keeping Bees In Your Backyard: A Permaculture Paradise
Why Keep Bees?
Bees are responsible for the pollination of thirty percent of our food, thus it is important to recognize the vitality of bees and honey production in our ecosystem. When the United States had a collapse of beehives in 2007, it became evident that bees needed to be cared for and properly nourished. Since 2015, the amount of registered beekeepers in Australia has doubled, and now rests at a booming 6,400 keepers, with roughly 5,600 of them being independent.
How Does One Keep Bees?
Before beginning an adventure in beekeeping, acquiring protective gear is a must. The most important protection to have is a beekeeping hat, to protect your face and neck from bee stings. There are an abundance of hat varieties, so be sure that you are thoroughly researched before making a purchase. You will also want thick, leather gloves to protect your hands, and a beekeeper’s smoker to ensure your bees remain docile while you harvest their honey.
Bees are not naturally aggressive – quite the opposite, in fact. They will only sting as a last resort if they feel you are threatening them or the hive. There are a few basic rules for avoiding a sting, but the most important one is to move calmly, taking a firm grip on the frames when you move them, and never to swat at the bees. You will want to research the components of a beehive, such as the bottom board, supers, lid, frames, and whether or not to use a queen excluder. Keeping bees is not easy for everyone, but it is a rewarding experience for both bees and their keepers.
Beekeeping in Permaculture
Beekeeping is a fantastic way to bolster your permaculture initiative, while providing a safe home for bees to do their natural duties. Bees even create their own sort of permaculture, as they have developed a system which effectively sustains itself. They store their data in the cells of the comb, and this allows them to return to flowers at the optimal time for pollen gathering. In permaculture, beekeeping has been taken on with a more natural approach, allowing the bees to live as bees were meant to live with a minimum of beekeeper interaction. Beekeepers will still harvest honey, but an emphasis is placed on the health of the colony above how much honey is to be taken. Bees supplement your permaculture environment by pollinating your flowers and providing you with a fun, engaging challenge.
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What is Natural Beekeeping?
Natural Beekeeping aims to provide for the needs of the bee colony above that of the beekeeper. It is a holistic approach based on respect and love for the bee colony.
Of course, the term “Natural Beekeeping” itself is somewhat problematic, as the keeping of bees is never truly natural; bees exist and thrive naturally, and have done for millions of years without the aid of a keeper, often living high up in a tree hollow.
However, despite confusion over the term itself, the concept of an alternative style of apiculture that is bee-friendly (or ‘api-centric’) and ethical is one that resonates with any person wanting to keep bees for reasons other than intensive honey production.
Taken from www.naturalbeekeeping.com.au
Beekeeping in an Urban Area
Each year, over a thousand more Australians register to keep bees, with an increasing number of them living in urban areas. If you intend to keep bees in an urban area, it is crucial that you first research the rules and regulations of your area, and then get registered. Beekeeping in Australia is affordable, environmentally-conscious, and helpful to the bees. You can play a role in the surge of urban beekeeping, and why wouldn’t you?
A beekeeper who follows natural beekeeping methods working in suburban Forest Hill, Victoria – checking the hive, and adding a beetle trap for pest management.
If you’re thinking about becoming a bee-keeper, Permaculture Victoria‘s bee-keeping arm has a Natural Beekeeping group which offers semi-regular weekend courses. There are also a number of other organisations such as the Victorian Apiarists’ Association and The Bee-Keeper’s Club in Doncaster who also run regular info sessions and introductory courses.