We are often asked how we got started with beekeeping. Our journey with bees began largely when we moved to Hunterdon County from Montclair, nearly four years ago. Zach, our youngest child, has asthma and suffered from very bad seasonal allergies, which naturally worsened when we moved to Kingwood Township and its rural surroundings. We searched for a number of remedies to alleviate his allergic reaction which significantly increased in the Spring and Fall seasons. We are always cautious about prescribing medicines for the children and often seek out natural treatments whenever possible. We read about the many benefits of local, raw honey and that honey can help prevent allergies. The concept is called immunotherapy and the philosophy is to strategically expose your body to the element you are allergic to, which over time should make you less sensitive to it. In this case, raw honey, named this because it has not been filtered or heated, contains pollen and the body becomes more tolerant of pollen, thus reducing your allergic reaction.
This provided a great reason to purchase lots of raw honey from local beekeepers, and several became great friends and even mentors. This led to our increasing curiosity with beekeeping and as a family, we would spend weekend devouring beekeeping books and became very interested in the recent perils of the honey bee. Approximately 10 years ago, scientists and commercial beekeepers noticed a decline in the honeybee population. This also led to awareness of a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder. There is much debate on the exact cause of colony collapse disorder but many believe it largely a result of two primary causes: the increasing use of pesticides and mites - parasites which are impacting beekeepers all over the country. This is problematic because, depending on who you believe, pollinators are responsible for nearly 1/3 of food eaten by Americans.
After months of research and coaxing by our local beekeeping friends, we decided to take the plunge and order bees, officially starting our journey as beekeepers. This has been such a wild ride but we don't regret one minute... #LongLiveTheHoneyBee