Beekeeping Takes Off Globally
In the northern and southern hemispheres on planet Earth, all sorts of people are turning to beekeeping as a new career, a side hustle, or a hobby.
In New Zealand, for example, over 1,000 people enrolled in apiculture classes in 2019. But just one year later, in 2020, there were an extra 600 people enrolled, which is a 65% increase in one year.
Who are these new beekeepers? They come from all walks of life and seek different levels of engagement. Apprentice beekeeper Frances Huia was a housekeeper in Auckland and had worked in several factories. She did not want another indoor job. She is one of many looking for a new career or hobby.
This is good news for the beekeeping industry, which relies on migrant workers and an older workforce.
In this unrelated 4:32-minute video by Doug The Bee Guy his wife shows some of the best early-blooming pollen-rich flowers you can plant for spring foragers:
Another area where rapid expansion is taking place is in industry-based training. According to David Woodward from Otago Polytechnic, training has more than doubled. So many young people have enrolled in their courses that they have hired on 15 lecturers. They were taken completely by surprise.
The interest is wide-ranging. Many students just want a backyard hive, while others have been inspired after a year of lockdown to do something new and different. The fees-free first year has also probably contributed to the rise.
The emphasis on environment and natural health has boosted interest in beekeeping as a career or hobby, according to Karin Kos of Apiculture New Zealand. There is a lot of excitement about new career beekeepers, but they should also realize that it’s not a way to make a quick profit by selling honey. It can be a challenging lifestyle that requires dedication.
Kos says that there are sheds full of honey all around New Zealand and prices have seriously dropped for beekeepers who are not specialists in the high demand mono-floral manuka honey.
There are expansions of career beekeepers in India, Kenya, and Pakistan and many countries around the world. It helps when local governments support people in getting started.
This 2:23-minute unrelated video by Ohio State University talks about what is best for bees:
If you are in the US State of Ohio and interested in becoming a beekeeper, there is an upcoming beekeeping course at Ohio State University Extension offered by Master Gardener volunteers Fran and Tom Davidson.
It is a two-day class, seven hours long, and in addition to learning to be a hobby beekeeper you will pick up tips on how to make your hobby into a business. The program costs $35 including a textbook, or you can pay $25 without the textbook. Go here for more info, including dates, or to sign up for classes.
The class teaches honey bee biology, the relationship between the honeybee and the beekeeper, as well as how to protect your honeybees and the different types of pollen available.
They have successfully taught this class for three years, and their award-winning honey is highly prized. They currently keep 40 bee colonies in Clark County. They are certified Journeyman Beekeepers with Ohio State Beekeepers Association, which is second level in the Master Beekeeping Program for which they had to pass an exam along with other things.
There are virtual beekeeping courses, and free classes all over the place. You just have to get on a search engine and look. There is something for everyone who loves bees and wants to find out how to get more involved with them.
Meanwhile, plant some flowering herbs or pollen and nectar rich flowers for your favorite pollinators!
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