Bees are one of many animal species that benefit humanity, and while bees are not domesticated on the same level of horses or dogs (and they don’t make good pets), beekeeping is a strong industry today. Across the United States, beekeeping hives can be found on farms where weather is favorable to these insects, and bee pollen for sale may be found at many distributors, too. Meanwhile, organic bee pollen benefits is another topic entirely, as honey and pollen are great ingredients but organic bee pollen benefits is really a topic of cooking and nutrition rather than beekeeping itself. Someone looking to get into beekeeping may concern themselves less with organic bee pollen benefits and more with the size of this industry and proper technique for raising many bees. How large is the beekeeping industry today? What’s the difference between farming them and finding beehives out in the wild?
Beekeeping as an Industry
Bees are well known for making honey, which they produce when they gather pollen from flowers (some people mistakenly think that bees collect honey from flowers). The idea of gathering bee honey is an old one, as recipes and illustrations from ancient Egypt show people harvesting honey and using it as food, medicine, and even cosmetic products. This continues well into the present day, and modern American beekeeping techniques may outstrip anything that the Egyptians did. Overall, these insects are a major part of the food economy not only fort producing honey, but their vital work for pollinating flowers, acting as a mobile reproductive organ for flowers and crops alike. Estimates say that bees pollinate around $15 billion worth of crops in the United States, and to supplement the work of bees, some robotics companies are experimenting with small robot bees that can also pollinate the way real ones do.
Many honeybee colonies can be found across the United States, and in 2014, estimates suggested that as many as 2.7 million colonies of honeybees could be found across the United States, with the USDA tracking that figure. In that year, according to the USDA, more human-managed bee colonies could be found across the United States than ever in the last 20 years up to that point. North Dakota produced the most honey in 2013, with that state producing some 33 million pounds of it. And there’s plenty of demand, seeing how Americans consume around 1.3 pounds of honey per person, per year. Honey is popular due to its taste and the fact that it never spoils. But how to make it?
The topic of honey-based recipes or organic bee pollen benefits is distinct from what beekeepers do. Beekeepers are not chefs, but rather, they are more like ranchers, except managing many flying insects rather than cows on a range. It may be noted that beekeepers do not simply have their bees build natural nests on the premises, because that would make honey extraction tricky. Rather, beekeepers build specialized wooden boxes for the bees, and these artificial hives have several drawers in them that can slide right out. In this way, the beekeeper may easily access honeycomb and check up on their bees with ease, and this means that the beekeeper does not have to destroy a have to access honeycomb. What is more, these durable wooden hives can stand up to rain, predator attacks, and more, keeping the bees and their honeycombs safe inside those tough wooden walls. This also makes hives easier to organize and track, important for record-keeping on a beehive farm.
Beekeepers are well known for wearing specialized, full-body suits while they are working with hives. These suits include boots and thick gloves, along with a mesh screen and helmet that keeps all bees away from the person’s skin and eyes while they are working. These are only semi-domesticated, and while they are not hyper-aggressive like African wild bees are, they would repeatedly sting a beekeeper who opened the drawers of their wooden hives unless a suit was involved.