THE HONEY BEE is the only source of
honey and beeswax. Bees produce more than 260 million
pounds of honey and about 5 million pounds of beeswax
annually in the United States. However, these are merely
by-products of the honey bee. The bees principal role is
in the pollination of over 60 different crops. Bees
annually cross-pollinate a number of important fruit and
seed plants such as clovers, apples, lima beans,
asparagus, buckwheat, cherries, pears, cantaloupes,
watermelons, pumpkins, cucumbers, and many berries. In
addition, they harvest and make available to man a
portion of the nectar resources of the flowers. This
nectar crop is a resource just as certainly as coal,
lumber, game and shellfish, can be gathered only by
means of the honey bee.
APICULTURE AS A HOBBY Honey bees are
kept by many persons as a hobby or as a sideline.
Apiculture, which is the keeping of bees and a study of
their life and habits, holds a fascination for people in
all walks of life - both young and old. A few colonies
to furnish honey for the home table or to effect
pollination can be kept virtually anywhere. Apiculture
as a hobby can be a self-supporting avocation. It is
especially attractive to those interested in natural
science. It is a hobby which, if pursued intelligently,
involves considerable reading, along with direct
observation and study of the behavior of an interesting
insect, and a knowledge of the various nectar-secreting
and pollen-bearing plants.
APICULTURE AS A SIDELINE As a sideline,
beekeeping offers a splendid paying project for urbanite
or farmer. Many beekeepers realize enough return from a
sideline bee project to substantially reinforce their
regular income. On the farm, the honey produced and farm
pollination services are a valuable cash crop. A few
persons keep bees on a commercial basis. Prior
beekeeping experience and a strong desire to work long
hard hours are necessary for the commercial operator.
The rewards of independent, outdoors-type work is a
strong lure for the commercial or sideline beekeeper.