Why keep bees? Pollination, honey, wax and another addictive hobby!
|wax for candles and making salve|
|Here's a couple of the books we bought|
Overall, we decided that the easiest thing to do would be to encourage solitary bees in our garden. This should help with pollination, but we won't get any honey! Here's a good post about solitary bees.
|solitary bee hotels|
|more examples of how to attract solitary bees|
The next step would be a hive of Australian native stingless bees. These are relatively easy to manage because they don't sting! They also make a little bit of honey and wax. At the open day we saw how one full hive can be split to create two hives. In this way you can expand the number of hives and spread them around your property. The bees only travel 500 m, so you can keep them in your garden to help with pollination. There are a few different varieties of bees and if we can find some wild ones on our property we might be able to persuade them to live in a box....
|an Australian native stingless bee hive|
|Houses for Australian native stingless bees|
|Australian native stingless bee hives|
Surprisingly there wasn't much information about conventional bee keeping! But we did get to see a "top bar hive", which I had heard about, so it was really good to see one up close. If we do eventually get European honey bees, I am interested in using this type of hive, or at least understanding the concepts of natural bee keeping.
|a top bar hive|
|alternative hive design|
|here's a job for Taz is she doesn't want to herd cattle!|
I have started a pinterest board "keeping bees" to keep track of all the bee posts I find. I'm thinking of running another series of interviews on bee keeping. Email me on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com to volunteer.
What do you think? Do you keep bees? Or attract solitary bees? Any good resources you can recommend for new bee keepers?
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