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The part-time beekeeper
Why the traditional approach no longer makes sense
Traditionally beekeeping has provided the non-commercial beekeeper with an additional means of income, but this model is no longer consistent with the realities of today's wages and prices:
To produce a surplus of honey for the purpose of selling it once made sense -- workers' wages were low and food was expensive. Today things are just the opposite. Good honey is imported from abroad and can be purchased at very reasonable prices.
Once we calculate an even halfway appropriate hourly wage for the labor and include the actual investment costs, the outlook for part-time beekeeping as a means of additional income is rather bleak.
At the same time, the demands of our lives today are often so complex and multifaceted that many of us simply are unable to devote so much time and energy to a single hobby.
The "investment-yield spiral"
Even when the novice beekeeper's goal is just to "keep a few bees" -- for the enjoyment of nature and to harvest one's own honey -- it is easy to become caught up in an endless spiral of tasks and demands: frames have to be built, storage space found for extra supers and combs, en extractor needs to be acquired, transport considered, and so forth...
The effort required to keep one or two hives quickly begins to feel inefficient, and suddenly one is caring for ten hives, harvesting several hundred kilos of honey and looking for a stand at the weekend farmers' market...
The traditional beekeeper is intent on maximizing production
The traditional multi-super configuration with removable frames (actually all removable-frame methods) are based on the standards of industrial agriculture: standardized equipment, standardized treatment, maximum yield.
Beekeeping is intrinsically a natural, organic sort of activity. The modern method of beekeeping, however, is not so far removed from other forms of mass husbandry:
We provide the bees with a pre-determined artificial living environment in the form of pressed sheets of wax and frames, the honey-combed structure in which the bees live is regularly disassembled and rearranged, the reproductive drive (swarm behavior) is suppressed, the drone population is eliminated, etc....
Yet, for millions of years already, honey bee colonies having been managing their affairs themselves! If it were not for the lack of sufficient natural habitat for hive-building -- that and the varroa mite -- the honey bee would not need us at all. Why then all this effort?
Shouldn't providing the bee colony with a suitable home and protecting it from the varroa mite be enough!?
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[Hinweis: KMP hat den Beitrag zuletzt am vor 6 Jahren, 6 Monaten geändert.]