Bee keeping is one of the oldest sources of food in human history. Historical findings indicate that bee keeping was first practiced in Egypt before it spread to other parts of the world. Today, bee keeping is practiced in almost every country with varying success of these projects. Many governments have invested in bee keeping projects globally with countless non governmental organizations joining these efforts. Despite these efforts to promote bee keeping many people still do not understand the exact need for investing in bee keeping. Are there any benefits of bees? Is it economical to establish bee keeping projects on instead of leaving your farm unutilized? What are some of the reasons and factors which discourage people from engaging in bee keeping? This essay explores the importance of bee keeping with special emphasis economic benefits and the role of bees in pollination. It further focuses on some of the reasons why many people do not prefer bee keeping as a farming activity.
Bee keeping is one of the easiest and most economical ways of utilizing land. How many acres of land does one require to have a beehive? The truth is that bee keeping as a farming activity may require a very small portion of the land. It can therefore be practiced in regions where residents poses small portions of farming land. It can be practiced in rocky places where crop and livestock farming cannot be carried out. Apart from the small space required to begin bee keeping, the project requires considerably low capital compared to other agricultural projects. Beehives are mainly made of wood which is readily available. In addition, bees are generally hardy. Therefore bee keeping can be carried out in areas which receive insufficient rainfall to support crop farming and animal rearing. It therefore allows occupants of search places to utilize their farms maximally when there is insufficient rainfall (Blackiston & Flottum, 2009). Catching of bees is also one of the easiest stages of beginning a bee keeping project. Based on these factors, bee keeping is considered as the cheapest and easy to manage agricultural project.
Besides the minimum starting requirements bee keeping has several advantages. Most of these benefits have turned out to be quite economical in our daily lives. The main product of bees is honey. It is the only product which rings in the mind whenever bee keeping is mentioned. Natural honey has found many uses in human life ranging from food to medicinal value. It is therefore obvious that one of the reasons why people engage in bee keeping is harvest honey which is sold to earn a living. Honey has a high demand globally with its producers having a ready market for their produce (Newton). This income generated from honey sales is used to improve the living standards of farmers.
In addition, honey is food. Honey is a source of carbohydrates which is an essential body requirement especially for conversion into energy necessary to run various body functions. Honey is used in many homesteads on bread and in other domestic uses. However, the medicinal value of honey has always been the center of bee keeping. Honey is used in treatment of various diseases including cancer. The list of infections treated using honey is quite amazing. Honey reduces the chances of developing throat infection by blocking the growth of oral bacteria. It is also used in the treatment of stomach ulcers, a common problem among many people in the world. Additionally, honey has been known to promote quick healing of wounds. This is due to the fact that honey does not allow the growth of bacteria. Proper circulation of oxygen in the body has also been associated with honey. Research indicates that honey is a perfect oxidant promoting the circulation of oxygen to crucial body parts like the brain. It has also been considered as a sweetener especially among people who have heart diseases and diabetes. Because of some of the properties of honey like prevention of bacterial growth, it is used in food preservation. Medicinal applications of honey are very important and have provided countless solutions to many health problems (Newton).
Another product of honey which has significant importance in life is wax. It is obvious that almost everybody has interacted with wax. One of the applications of this product is in the preparation of candles which are used for lighting in homes and in colorful ceremonies like weddings. Besides being used in making of lighting candles, bee wax is also used as an ingredient in the manufacture of lotions and body perfumes. Honey is used to improve the equality of the skin in beauty industry and is very helpful in collecting skin moisture. It is also used in making of lipsticks and other beauty products. It was also used in early days in the manufacture of different oil-based colors. Additionally, wax has a number of industrial applications like in glass industry, printing industry, textile industry and in making of sculptures in some museums around the globe. Many people have wondered why wax has found significant industrial applications compared to other related materials. The unique features of wax, plasticity and softness allows it to be applied in many industrial processes. It is also harmless, melts at very low temperatures and melts in several organic substances (Phillips, 2008).
How many people think about bees when they see flowers and fruits? Although this is uncommon, promote pollination which is one of the most significant benefits of bee keeping. What is pollination? Does man need pollination? Pollination is simply the transfer of pollen grains from male flower parts to female ones for fertilization to take place. Although there are other agents of pollination like wind, there are countless of flowering plants and crops which depend of bees for the purpose of insect cross pollination (Pokhrel, 2009). One of the known effects of inadequate bees is low yields and small fruits in many insect pollinated crops. Scientific research reveal that over 70% of crops in equatorial warm regions depend on bee pollination.
Despite the fact that there are well known benefits of bee keeping, there has been continuous resistance from different quarters of the world. There are a number of people who believe that bee keeping is not the best of way of using their farms. Some o f the contributing factors to this perception include lack of enough money, space and time. Allergies to bees has also been viewed as one the reasons why some people are usually reluctant to pick up bee keeping. Besides these, ignorance about the importance has been sited as one of the major reasons leading to few bee keepers (Blackiston & Flottum, 2009). Many people do not appreciate the realistic applications of honey like medicinal value and industrial use of other products in industries. Since beehives cannot be placed anywhere based on the topography of the ground, it is believed that lack of suitable site for setting up the project hinders thousands of people.
Based on the benefits of bee keeping, there is every need for embracing apiculture all over the world especially in areas where crop and livestock farming is not favored. These include dry and rocky areas. Additionally, relevant information and bee keeping education should be available to members of the public to allow them appreciate the importance of bee keeping. People should consider bee keeping because it has a wide range of economic benefits.