Scientific beekeeping methods usually serve the purpose of managing a bee colony for the purpose of observation. The urban beekeeper is generally interested in managing a bee colony for the benefits they provide to their garden and to enjoy their own honey. Despite the differences in goals, backyard beekeepers can still use scientific data to learn how to keep bees healthy and productive. Raising honey bees in the backyard will involve lots of science so dig into those technical tomes.
Most beekeeping blogs and beginner’s manuals have used scientific beekeeping resources for their material. The authors have simply converted the technical lingo into easy to understand laymen’s terms making it easier than ever for the average urban beekeeper to learn how to keep bees in the backyard.
When raising honey bees as a hobby it is nice to know the origins of today’s beekeeping practices. Scientific beekeeping practices have been around since the time of ancient Egypt and probably even long before that civilization began keeping records documenting their beekeeping efforts. Modern beekeepers prefer not to delve back that far. They usually begin with the apiary pioneers of the eighteenth century to study how to keep bees in man-made hives.
Dutch biologist Jan Swammerdam and French scientist Rene Antoine Ferchault de Reaumur were the first to record the dissection of honey bees, viewing them under microscopes and documenting their internal anatomy. Reaumur installed a glass wall on a hive. He was one of the first scientists to study bee behavior in this manner.
Through Reaumur’s observations he was able to document how the queen laid eggs, although it remained a mystery to him of how her eggs were fertilized to begin with. This mystery would be solved by Francois Huber who observed his experiment and discovered that queens were fertilized by the drones outside of the hive.
Without the curiosity and impeccable record keeping of great minds such as these, we would never know how to keep bees successfully. Raising honey bees that are healthy, productive and thriving are a possibility for avid urban beekeepers because of scientific work that began hundreds of years ago and continues even today.
Even if you are an organic beekeeper committed to natural practices, scientific beekeeping knowledge can still be very helpful and useful. There will still be challenges to meet as a natural beekeeper and the information of the scientific community can offer information on how to keep bees from falling victim to certain predators and pests. Being armed with this knowledge can help a natural beekeeper prevent disease and infestation within the colony.
Traditional beekeeping methods of raising honey bees is based on scientific beekeeping research. Experts and scientists have devoted their entire careers to studying the life of bees. Their commitment to understanding these insects has led to innovations, techniques and the possibility of saving the fragile honey bee from extinction.
Without the scientists and their exemplary methods of recording exceedingly detailed data, mankind would never have known that the survival of honey bees worldwide was being threatened with the widespread use of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers. If all honey bees die, all life dies, plant, animal and human alike. The survival of every living thing upon earth depends upon the existence of thriving populations of pollinators.
That is why it is also important to learn how to keep bees with organic beekeeping methods as well as traditional beekeeping methods. If an organic method or treatment is effective to achieve a goal, it should be the preferred method. However, sometimes the powerful punch of a strong medication or sanitizer is needed. If you have to resort to chemicals follow the directions faithfully or you could end up killing your hive.
Raising honey bees can be very rewarding for the average urban beekeeper. You should be able to harvest plenty of surplus honey to have an endless supply year round, enough to share with your loved ones and neighbors, and still plenty left over to sell online or at a local farmer’s market. Chances are you will be able to earn enough from your honey sales to pay for your hobby and have a nice bit of change in your pocket. On average one hive can produce up to one hundred pounds of honey ever year. So, learn all there is from scientific beekeeping journals on how to keep bees in your backyard and profit from it as well!