I do have 6 active hives presently. I don't really do much with them, just let them be. I take a little honey now and then. I didn't take any this past fall, figuring I would wait till springtime to make sure they had enough but still haven't got into them. I am not one of those folks who rob all the honey and feed them back high fructose cord syrup and then treat for sicknesses and pests. I figured they need their honey to be strong survivors so let them have it. I really need to move the ones closest to the garden but they are heavy and I have no help. You really have to dress up for things like that. I should have moved them in the winter when it would have been much easier. They don't come out when it's freezing.
We are thinking that it might be a good idea to start a few hives here at home. As you no doubt know, bees are being decimated all over North America. Might be the result of the numerous chemicals being used in a wide-spread fashion, or, might be due to natural influences. Probably a bit of both. In any event; diminished bee populations is bad news for everyone, including those of us lucky enough to have a plot large enough to work with a garden tractor. Our little field is just 5,000 square feet but feeds us and two in-law families, providing enough basic food easily.
We live in Newfoundland. Among the other unique factors we deal with here is the fact that the suspected parasite which is killing hives does not, or, at least has not been able to survive here. Our natural and (few) commercial hives still prosper. Further-more, the harvested honey benefits because the keepers need not medicate to keep the bees healthy. This has caught my attention.
While we have no interest in producing honey on a commercial basis, or for that matter for our own use, we feel it might be important to help bees thrive as an aid to the natural development of crops/flowers. My wife is actually very spooked by bees and truth be told I always relinquish "air-space" when working among the plants. Still, we understand just how vital the bees are.
What would be involved in establishing a few hives on our property. We have two acres, half wooded, and live in an area where most neighbours would have the same or bigger. Most do not grow veg. plots, but again, most, have extensive flower beds. I believe it is illegal to import bees to the island part of the province so a "ready made" hive may be difficult to establish. If the scary decline on the continent continues, there will be a need to source bees from somewhere. The more healthy populations the better. As an aside; this past summer was a steller one in terms of weather. We had record temperatures and the longest span of frost free days. However, I did not see a single Monarch butterfly in our gardens. Though they have been seen in reduced numbers for years now, we always managed to observe some. 2013 has been blank. This is quite concerning.