Carting the kids off to camp; weekend road trips to the beach; barbeques and fireworks – summertime activities can often make us feel as busy as a bee. And, with that buzzing schedule comes plenty of opportunity for stress. But did you know that even the busiest bees can tame their stress with a backyard hobby?
That’s right – we’re talking about beekeeping. From a stress-reducing hobby to improving your area’s overall ecosystem, and enjoying the sweet reward of the bee’s honey, beekeeping offers homeowners a host of benefits. And, if you’ve never heard of this gratifying hobby (or aren’t sure where to start), don’t worry! The House Hacks Tips team is here to take the sting out of the process so you can set up a hive that will be the buzz of the neighborhood.
The Benefits of Hives for Homeowners
While an unwelcome nest can be a pest, purposefully keeping bees can be far more than just a sweet hobby for homeowners. In fact, the benefits of beekeeping extend far beyond honey.
To start, research shows that the act of beekeeping, and the close connection to nature that it requires, can help mitigate some mental health conditions, such as stress, anxiety and depression. And, as the bees work to pollinate your yard, your mood won’t be the only thing on the up. Pollination from your bees can occur anywhere within a two mile radius, which improves your neighborhood’s ecosystem and seed production as a whole.
Whatsmore, beekeeping is considered a type of farming by the IRS, so homeowners may be able to use the costs incurred from building and maintaining hives as a tax write off. However, keep in mind that if you don’t begin to earn a profit from your hive harvest (ie: honey), the IRS can waive that write off and deem it as a hobby.
Tips for the Wanna-Bee
Source Your Bees
Bee sourcing varies by location. For the best deals in your area, ask your local beekeeping association or farmer for advice and recommendations.
Carve Out a Cozy Spot
Before bringing bees on to your property, carve out the perfect spot for them to settle in. As a general rule of thumb, each hive requires about 2.5 square feet of space, along with a five foot radius of space surrounding it.
It’s also best to place the hive in a spot that gets both sun and shade throughout the day, ideally with the entrance facing the southeast, which is where the sun rises. By doing so, the hive will heat up faster in the morning sun, prompting the bees to wake up and start their day early.
You also want to ensure that the hive is placed close to a food source – ie: pollen. If you have a backyard garden, your first instinct may be to place the hive right next to it. However, if you’re regularly in the garden, the heavy foot traffic can cause the bees to feel threatened by constant human presence and they’ll avoid the area. Instead, keep your bees in a secluded part of your yard where they can easily access your garden when they leave the hive.
Add a Water Source
BEE-lieve it or not, the average hive consumes over a gallon of water per day. Fill up a pot or kiddie pool with water and bee sure to replenish it daily to keep your busy-bee workers hydrated.
Invest in a Hive Stand
Elevate your hive off the ground to keep your bees safe from predators (like skunks!). You can easily do this by investing in a hive stand from Amazon or your local hardware store.
Harvest Your Hive
Hive Five! After a year of hard work, you’ll finally be able to reap the benefits of your hive.
Whether you’re a long-time bee lover or just starting out, all of the information on proper setup and long term care can feel a bit daunting. But, with some research and planning, any homeowner can easily set up a hive that will be the bees-knees.
How will you be enjoying the harvest from your hive? Share with our team in the comments!