Beehives full of honey and hope give backyard beekeepers something to buzz about.

By Nancy Mattia
March 21, 2019
Courtesy of Getty

It may sound a little crazy, but it's true: Installing a working beehive in a home garden has become a thing, and gardeners of every skill level are now eagerly taking on the side job of a beekeeper. What's in it for them? Or, if you like the idea, what's in it for you? Here, we explain all.

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You'll reap sweet rewards.

First, the obvious reason for the uptick in interest: "Bees produce honey, which is delicious!" says Todd Forrest, the Arthur Ross Vice President for Horticulture and Living Collections at the New York Botanical Garden. Having a hive in your own backyard means that whenever you want some of the sweet stuff, you need to go no further than out the back door. Stir it in tea, use it to top plain yogurt, bake cakes with it, even make soap or moisturizer with it-honey's usefulness is endless!

Your crops will multiply.

Eating and rubbing honey on their bodies aren't the only reasons why home gardeners have added beehives to their landscape. "Bees pollinate many edible plants," says Forrest, including cherries, kiwi, and raspberries. In fact, according to Greenpeace, the international environmental organization, bees pollinate 70 out of the world's top 100 food crops. Gardeners should notice a big difference in their gardens' yields-pollination will help produce more flowers, plants, fruits, and vegetables. Greenpeace says a single colony of bees can pollinate 300 million flowers every day.

You'll see your friends more often.

When you tell people that you are the proud owner of a working beehive, they'll all want to come over and take a peek. "Bees are beautiful and fascinating to watch go about their daily routines," says Forrest.

You'll get more than you'll give.

For most hobbyists, maintaining a hive takes minimal time at night and on weekends-the first few years will take more time when you'll need to do research and learn how to manage your hive; plan on extra time for each additional hive. But it's a much easier job than what the bees have to do-they live up to their reputation as "worker bees"!

You'll help the eco-system.

There's been a huge decrease in the world's wild honey bee population, but by keeping hives in your backyard, you'll be doing your part to reestablish lost colonies.

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