We are brand new to beekeeping and are planning to get set up this spring. As a first step in getting ready, we bought a book called Beekeeping for Beginners: How to Raise Your First Bee Colonies by Amber Bradshaw. This book is great for providing a big-picture view of what is involved. To further educate ourselves and help us get into the nitty-gritty details of beekeeping, we also signed up for a Beginning Beekeepers' course through the SnoKing Beekeepers Association, which provided us with materials and membership in the Washington State Beekeepers Association. Our spiral-bound notebook arrived today and our class starts tomorrow! It will be held four Saturdays in a row. Once we've finished the course, we'll be ready to get everything set up in March and April.
Why would we want to become beekeepers? Well, there are multiple reasons, but the main reasons for us include:
- Local raw honey boosts the immune system.
Here is an article from Farmers Almanac that addresses some of the important health benefits of local, raw honey. Reducing allergy and inflammation are the two benefits that appeal to me the most.
- Bees help increase garden yield with their pollination efforts.
Last year, we noticed fewer bees on our property and saw a correlation in the decline of harvests from our apple and cherry trees, as well as in vegetable harvests for some crops. We're curious to find out how much of an improvement we'll see this coming year once we have established our bee colonies.
- Honey bees and many other pollinators are in danger of decline.
This is due to mites, viruses, fungus, pesticides, climate change, diseases and other stressors. To ensure our earth retains pollinators for our agricultural systems, more people need to help protect and save the bees! Mason bees were an option we considered initially, but the lure of having our own honey turned our attention to honey bees.
- Bees are considered livestock.
We are excited to expand our farm and having bees seems like a good fit. Adding bees will benefit our u-pick blueberry farm as well.