There are a number of reasons for getting into beekeeping. Maybe you have flower and vegetable gardens and fruit trees and want to make sure that they are pollinated. Or perhaps you have read about the decline in honeybee populations and you want to help increase their numbers. Or your love of honey is so great that you want a reliable source close by, one that you can ensure is raw and made from nectar and not corn syrup.
Maybe you just love bees.
These are all great reasons to keep bees. Beekeeping could also become a source of income for you as you build your apiary, create a brand, and become a small business owner.
Honey is just one of the many products that are available from your top bar hive. Because top bar hives do not use foundations, the honey extraction process requires that you crush the comb. The comb may be destroyed, but it does not mean that it is not useful. Once the honey has been strained from the wax leave it out
side on a cookie sheet for the bees to clean. Don’t place it too close to your hives or you will encourage robbing. Once it is cleaned of all the honey you can render the wax using a solar wax melter or by boiling.
The first thing that comes to most people’s minds when thinking of uses for beeswax is candles. You can purchase candle molds from many beekeeping shops including our shop in Digby and online sources and then create beautiful pieces that your customers will love. But the uses for beeswax does not end at candles.
Beeswax can be used to create lip balms, soaps, beard and hair products, skin care products, cosmetics, furniture and shoe polish, and even for waxing thread. I’m sure that there are even more uses than just these. You can even just create blocks of beeswax to sell to others, so they can create these products. Once people know you have beeswax you may have a hard time keeping it on your shelves.
One other great product of the hive is propolis, the dark sticky matter that bees use to stick the top bars together, plug up holes and cracks, and clean the hive with. Propolis is made from tree resin and it has antibacterial properties and is a source of antioxidants. Propolis can be used in creams and ointments and can be made into a product to be ingested. Royal Jelly is another product of the hive full of health benefits that can also be used in creams and ointments. If you don’t think that you want to take on manufacturing such products, you could sell the propolis and royal jelly in their raw forms to those who want to create these products.
Pollen is sold in health food stores and purchased from beekeepers. The properties of pollen include proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and amino acids. All you require is a pollen trap and then you can start to collect the healthy pollen. Pollen can be blended into smoothies, eaten on yogurt or oatmeal. I’m sure there are even more ways of eating pollen than I can think of.
The last product of the beehive is of course the bees. Your apiary may grow to a point where you do not want any more beehives, but it may be necessary to split one of your hives. The solution, sell your bees. The backyard beekeeper trend is growing and finding a good source for bees can be difficult in some areas.
If you are feeling adventurous you can try your hand at queen rearing. It will take time and some failures but if you can breed healthy queens that produce colonies that thrive in your climate you may be able to fill a need in your area.
If you want to be self employed and produce quality, healthy products, think about becoming a beekeeper. Honey, beeswax, propolis, royal jelly, pollen, and bees. So many products can be created from a Manzer Top Bar Hive.