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Daily Crave

Guest blog: 5 reasons to keep bees

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This Sunday, April 6, Brothers Drake Meadery teams up with Brad’s Bees (the beekeeping pros who supply Brothers Drake Meadery with honey) for a series of beekeeping classes. Guest blogger Scott Creary shares five reasons you should keep your own hive.

Honey bees can’t seem to catch a break these days. Between parasitic mites, viruses, too few weeds producing nectar for them and near-ubiquitous pesticides all adversely affecting their health, this last, brutal winter proved fatal for many colonies in Ohio. Bearing in mind that all the healthiest foods out there are direct results of bee-mediated pollination, bees are more important—and imperiled—now more than ever.

But you can help in a truly delicious way. By keeping your own bees you ensure not only your own private supply of honey possessing all the unique floral characteristics of Columbus, but you also are helping to preserve a keystone species in our global food supply. Here are five big reasons to consider keeping your own bees:

Local bees mean local honey! And you can’t get any more local than your own backyard. You’ll be able to taste how honey changes depending on what nectar the bees are gathering and be more in touch with the flora around you than ever before.

Educate your neighborhood! Apiaries, the science-y word for beehives, are totally legit in the city of Columbus, and when you have some, your neighbors will see that honey bees are way better behaved than that two-year-old down the street.

Keep your allergies in check! Local honey contains small amounts of pollen, providing a homeopathc cure to your seasonal allergies. Furthermore, bee venom (yes, you may get stung once in a while) is a natural anti-inflammatory agent which, along with other healthful components of bee venom, provides relief from arthritis, poison ivy and other minor allergic reactions.

Save the honey bees! Bees are taking a beating these days, and your hives would provide refuge for what may eventually become an endangered species.

Bee-conomics! For a passionate few, beekeeping becomes more than a hobby and becomes a part-time occupation, with farmers’ markets, mead-making and honey infusions turning a little extra profit in your free time.

Though starting your own hives can be challenging if you’re cast abruptly into the world of hobbyist beekeepers, this year you have a chance to learn from some people who have made their whole livelihoods on bees. Brad’s Bees, in conjunction with Brothers Drake Meadery is offering beekeeping classes with your very own hive included in the course costs. Through the course of year, you’ll be looking at not only your hive, but 10 other students’ hives to learn the essential troubleshooting skills necessary. Please email or call Brad’s Bees (ohiosobees@gmail.com or 607.227.3107), or check out the event on Facebook here for more information.