Peter Patenaude, a registered Maine guide, has been a Filson advocate for over six years. His blog Boot & Canoe, focuses on traditional skills and Maine’s outdoor heritage. Today, Peter details the benefits of beekeeping.
Every year more fields become home to man-made hives. I am fortunate that people do not seem to hold onto their beekeeping trade secrets like hunters and fishermen do. A local honey harvester was glad to take me out and show me what the business is like.
It is truly a fascinating subject as the bees quite literally live in their own empire with established rules and regulations under the dictatorship of the queen. They experience revolutions and revolts, gender and social hierarchies, diseases, and even overpopulation problems.
After learning about their society, as a male, I am thankful that we live differently as it would require me to leave my home during the winter months to expire. However, I am envious of their built-in compass. I do not think that anyone would ever get lost if we had a sense of direction like they do, unless someone were to move our home more than 4 feet at a time.
It is clear that there are many benefits to keeping bees. A largely popular reason for eating local honey is to combat pollen allergies. As this type of transformed nectar is not processed, it still contains everything that is good for you, including the yellow, car-coating fertilizer from the surrounding vegetation.
This honey can be used as a sweetener in baked goods, coffee, tea and on morning toast to name a few favorites. Not letting anything go to waste, most keepers will also use the natural wax to make chemical-free candles. Certainly if you are allergic to bees, this may not bee the ideal hobby to practice, however if not, they seem to be an absolute rewarding livestock to work with.