Beekeeping is, in my opinion, one of the most important things you can do as an off-gridder. With the decline in bee populations, every new beekeeper is a necessity. Without bees, humanity’s ability to produce food collapses.
So, on that cheery note, we’re going to take a quick look at beekeeping, and how to do it easily. You’re going to notice that in this case, I haven’t said we’re going to do it “cheaply”. This is because today, we’re not going to look at the cheapest, DIY option, but rather one that will save you time and money in the long run, as well as something that is easier on your bees.
First of all, you’re going to need a hive super, which the colony will live in and the queen will lay eggs in. I recommend the following because it is cheap, well-made, and will work well for you. It’s recommended you start with two of them, to give the colony enough room to grow.
Now, here is where things get interesting. You *could* buy more of these, and build a perfectly good beehive, and the hive itself will be relatively low-cost, only a few hundred bucks. However, then you have to take into account the cost of the tools you’re going to need to harvest the honey. You’ll need a beekeeper suit, a comb knife, a hive tool, a frame grip, and a smoker. You’ll need a centrifuge to get the honey out of the comb. And you’ll need several hours worth of time and a lot of effort to get the honey out, killing many bees in the process.
This is where I suggest the more expensive option. A hive has been developed that doesn’t require that you pull the honeycomb frames out, doesn’t require that you cut the comb open to get the honey out, doesn’t require that you spend hours and hours with lots of backbreaking labor to get the honey out.
The Flow Hive is a more expensive option, yes. However, it requires basically turning a tap, and letting the honey pour out of the hive into a jar or bucket. It takes minutes instead of hours, and doesn’t disrupt your bees.
Here is a video showing how the Flow Hive works. It’s absolutely fantastic, and I think every beekeeper should invest in them.
Now, where a complete traditional hive costs somewhere around $200 to $300, and all the accessories are another $200 or so, the Flow Hive is priced higher, in the $700 range for a complete hive. As you can see though, the ease of use makes this entirely worth it.
I have provided a link to their website, which is the only place you can currently purchase them. I don’t have any business connection to them at this time. I just really think they offer the best product for beekeepers.
Finally, I want to mention that when you keep bees, you’re doing a few things that are important. First, you’re helping maintain a healthy bee population, which this world desperately needs. Second, honey is something that everyone can use in their home, saving themselves the cost of sugar, and keeping things like high fructose corn syrup out of the house. And finally, you can bottle that honey and sell it, making a very tidy profit.
The possibilities are amazing.