Honeybees have suffered a number of setbacks in the past decade including loss of substantial numbers of hives. Honeybee concerns have received widespread attention and are the subject of popular movies and TV. People often have an interest in honey bees but don’t know how to get started.
Some companies are making it easier for people to learn about honey bees. For a fee of several hundred dollars, these companies will install a bee hive on your property and manage the bees so you don’t have to. Some companies offer beekeeping classes for those who want to help manage the bees. As part of the deal, companies may offer honey collected from the hive at the end of the year.
For those interested in learning more about managing honey bees, these programs can be a useful introduction. For those who are concerned about the the plight of the honey bee, such programs have minimum impact. Despite losses of honey bee hives (large as they have become in some areas) the honey bee is not endangered. Honey bees are not even native to North America and can be a factor in displacing some native pollinators. Honey bees are crucial to efficient pollination of large monoculture crops and can be useful to ensure pollination of garden plants. However, honey bees can be competition for native bees that are competing for pollen and nectar. Urban gardens, plantings and landscapes often support robust communities of native pollinators.