Keeping Bees and Self-Sufficiency
Bee Keeping is downright interesting! Bees are marvellously industrious little creatures that are fascinating to observe as they go about their work, roaming and collecting nectar for conversion into honey.
While keeping bees may not be an absolute necessity for
self-sufficiency there are 4 good reasons why you should consider
keeping bees on your self
sufficient farm or even your backyard where regulations permit:
1. Honey can (and should!) be used as a cane sugar replacement. In any recipe or application for cane sugar, honey can be substituted. The resulting different flavor does take some getting used to but it's worth it on the basis of honey's much higher nutritional value.
Unlike processed cane sugar, honey actually has a healthy Glycemic Index (GI), meaning that its sugars are absorbed gradually into the bloodstream resulting in better digestion. Honey is a good source of cholesterol-fighting antioxidants on par with that of many vegetables and fruits but containing an additional antioxidant unique to honey - Pinocembrin - which is associated with improved brain function.
Honey contains minerals - calcium, copper, iron, magnesium,
manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc - and the vitamins
(B6), thiamin, niacin (B3), riboflavin (B2), pantothenic acid (B5),
folate (B9), certain amino acids and even protein. In short, honey is a
great food for
2. Pollination of fruit and vegetable crops. Keeping bees provides the self-sufficient gardener with nature's most active plant pollinator, right where they're required. Many, if not all vegetables and fruits will actually yield significantly more simply by increasing the local bee population to increase the rate of fertilization.
Farmers have discovered this in broad acre applications and will even
hire beekeepers to provide hives in order to improve yields. Some clever
beekeepers have significantly increased profits and the viability of
their honey production business by offering this service. On warm, sunny
mornings, if you can't see at least a couple of bees per square metre
(yard) in your garden then it's likely you need to hand pollinate or
start keeping bees!
3. Honey has proven medicinal properties. Man has long known the health benefits of honey and from as far back as the ancient Egyptians the therapeutic properties have been documented. As a natural home remedy honey has been used to treat a wide range of ailments and complaints including arthritis pain, yeast infection, athletes foot and sore throats. Modern medicine even acknowledges the power of honey as an effective topical anti-bacterial in the treatment of open wounds. Bee keeping can therefore provide useful health products for self sufficient living.