ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Bee-keeping for beginners. Why keep bees?

Updated on June 26, 2015
Feeding our bees ready for winter.Our bees produce the most divine honey for breakfast.
Feeding our bees ready for winter.Our bees produce the most divine honey for breakfast. | Source

We keep bees in Limousin, France - but why should you take up bee-keeping?

The last days of September are gloriously warm and sunny this year here in Limousin, France; ideal weather to carry out end of year tasks in the bee hives. I trot after my husband, camera in hand, to take photographs of his bee-keeping activities.

As always I am in a hurry I only had time to pull on the hip-length bee suit and quickly tuck my trousers into my socks while he was well equipped to fend off the bees. The result this time is that I am not going to venture too close to the hives. These bees took up residence in the hive after we lost a colony last year, and they are not of the sweetest temperament.

Although bee keeping is engaging and informative and the honey is delicious there are yet more pressing reasons why you should keep bees.

When you produce your own honey you will know that it is a first rate, natural and delicious product.
When you produce your own honey you will know that it is a first rate, natural and delicious product. | Source

Beekeeping for Beginners - Why keep bees?

The reasons to keep bees are many and varied.

  1. Save the planet! there is a 'bee problem' at the moment and colonies of bees around the world have been suffering. I have heard it said that if the bee population suddenly died out, humans would have only 4 years to live. Why? Bees pollinate almost 75% of the world's food crops, so without bees we wouldn't have food. The whole of life on earth relies on bees.
  2. Save money. Produce enough honey for the family and more to sell. Honey is bio static, it doesn't breed germs, so is an easy food product to market. We once went to a farmers market to sell our honey and sold the whole year's crop in three hours! We made our own wholemeal bread, gave away bread and honey samples and free bread recipes. Not only did we sell out of honey, but we sold out of bread as well. This was a great all-round success.
  3. Enjoy delving into the fascinating world of the honey bee. You will slowly build up skills and expertise in the art of keeping bees. You will learn how the bee works, how colonies grow and work together, how bees produce honey and how to gather in the crop.Have a look at the excellent video below for just a taste of the wonders of the hive.
  4. Harvest wax. You can make your own beauty products, candles and other wax objects cheaply and easily. They make great Christmas and Birthday Presents.
  5. Collect propolis, said to have many medicinal uses.
  6. Collect Royal Jelly, said to have many medicinal properties including the prolongation of youth.

Honeybees and pollination

Honeybees are kept for honey but they are also playing an increasingly important role in pollination. As crops are grown as monocultures, so bees are being shipped many miles to pollinate these crops.

So How much does a bee earn? Well, a penny a month! Listen to the BBC Radio 4 programme about beekeeping in America and follow the beekeepers as they send their bees to fertilize the Almond trees. These trees bloom suddenly and massively in California and they need literally billions of bees to produce a viable crop. This is "the largest single pollination event on Earth". (Radio 4)

Humans and bees go back a long way

Bees have featured large in our history and our culture. In the past bees gave us sweetness in the form of honey to add to our food, and light in the form of wax for our candles. Food and light, two of the basic needs of the human race. The importance of honey is illustrated by the Egyptians, who buried pots of honey in the pyramids with the pharaohs (and it was still edible when they discovered them centuries later!), so that the dead had nourishment on the way to the next world.

Bees feature regularly in our cultural life; literature, poetry, music .... Everyone knows The Flight Of The Bumblebee written by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov for his opera, The Tale of Tsar Saltan, composed in 1899–1900, and many people will remember the quirky tale by Roald Dahl about the baby fed on Royal Jelly! The poem, 'How doth the little busy bee ..' by Isaac Watts, has largely been lost, saved from obscurity only by Lewis Carroll's parody in Alice in Wonderland. Here the bee has been replaced by the much more memorable 'Little Crocodile'. While I much prefer the crocodile, Watts' poem does tell us something of the life of the bee:

"How doth the Little Bee"

How doth the little busy Bee
Improve each shining Hour,
And gather Honey all the day
From every opening Flower!

How skilfully she builds her Cell!
How neat she spreads the Wax!
And labours hard to store it well
With the sweet Food she makes.

In Works of Labour or of Skill
I would be busy too:
For Satan finds some Mischief still
For idle Hands to do.

In Books, or Work, or healthful Play
Let my first Years be past,
That I may give for every Day
Some good Account at last. [1715]

Our own Les Trois Chenes Honey
Our own Les Trois Chenes Honey | Source

Enjoy all the benefits of harvesting your own honey

Enjoy the health-giving qualities of locally-produced honey. It is said that eating local honey helps to prevent and reduce the symptoms of hay-fever and other allergies. Honey has been proven to have healing qualities.

Enjoy our home produced honey at Les Trois Chenes

We serve our own honey and home made jam and chutney at our Bed and Breakfast. Enjoy the best that nature has to offer.

How to get started

Join the bee-keeping community. There will be a bee-keepers group near you and they will gladly share their experience and knowledge with you. They will teach and nurture you as well as helping you to obtain all the materials and stock you need at reasonable prices. Join your local bee-group now.

Get informed. Is bee-keeping really for you? Arm yourself with a good book or two - take a look at the ones I've selected, and get boned up on bees. There is just so much to learn about setting up hives and caring for bees - it's the love of a lifetime.

Silence of the bees

Bees love Limousin

Limoges, France

get directions

© 2009 Les Trois Chenes

Do you have any bee-related questions?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Les Trois Chenes profile imageAUTHOR

      Les Trois Chenes 

      2 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      Now that we are without our bees, I wonder if anyone would like to put their bees on our land in return for honey? Thanks for leaving a comment Frances.

    • Frances Metcalfe profile image

      Frances Metcalfe 

      2 years ago from The Limousin, France

      My friend lets a man put hives on her land and her rent for him is some honey. Sounds like a good deal to me!

    • Les Trois Chenes profile imageAUTHOR

      Les Trois Chenes 

      8 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      oceansnsunsets, Ben Zoltak Bee-keeping is more and more important. Ben Zoltak, Not sure if it is worth making own hives, proportions very important and all the things that go with it are made to fit standard hives. Let me know how you get on if you give it a go, I'd be interested to know how it works out.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image

      Ben Zoltak 

      9 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Very interesting I'm thinking of building my own beehive!



    • oceansnsunsets profile image


      9 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      I think it would be so neat to keep bees. Thank you for sharing this information!

    • Les Trois Chenes profile imageAUTHOR

      Les Trois Chenes 

      9 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      Laura, you can often keep bees in very small spaces, put a hive on someone elses land/garden, or join your local bee-keepers group, they might have communal hives. This is the best way to learn as you have people to show you the ropes and access to equipment etc.

    • Les Trois Chenes profile imageAUTHOR

      Les Trois Chenes 

      9 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      Kevin, thanks for your comments. Pleased you enjoyed the video - it is excellent isn't it? The lids are pretty.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great page! Beekeeping is definitely very high up on the list of things I'd most like to do next, but I'm not sure we can do it here at the moment :(

    • profile image

      Kevin Braun 

      9 years ago

      Enjoyed the video - also like the lids of your honey bottles...


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)