Lee Valley Tools Gardening Newsletter
Vol. 3, Issue 1
February 2008
Beekeeping for Beginners

Honeybees make great teachers. In fact, we can all learn from observing the workings of a beehive. Diligence, balance, self-sacrifice and trust in nature are just a few of the lessons these insects can teach us. They can also help us, not only through their production of honey and beeswax, but by pollinating so many of our crops.


Insect pollination benefits everyone—from the backyard gardener to the professional orchardist—by increasing food yields, often significantly. Some of the food-bearing plants that benefit from honeybee pollination are:

Tree fruits, such as apples, cherries, peaches, pears, plums and almonds;
Berries, including blueberries, kiwis, cranberries and raspberries;
Cucurbits, such as cucumbers, pumpkins, melons and squashes.*
  Many people fear bees, as they do other stinging insects. True, bees can sting—that's how they defend their colony. However, honeybees are gentler than most people think. Usually, the hard-working bees of a healthy hive are so intent on carrying out their tasks, they hardly notice the beekeeper that has come to check on them. The benefits of keeping bees—honey production, garden pollination and an amazing education—can far outweigh the odd sting from an overprotective bee.  
Open hive
A beekeeper opens a hive cover.
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