MOTHER EARTH NEWS

SWEET SAVINGS

How many people dream of having a few bustling beehives in their backyard? But here’s a typical scenario: You go to a beekeeping class for beginners and do everything the instructors suggest. You buy equipment and protective gear, order packages of bees, install them in the hives, feed them sugar, and treat them against parasites and disease. Then, they don’t survive the first winter. You buy more bees the following spring, and the cycle repeats itself.

Faced with high bee mortality, mounting costs, and modest returns, even expert beekeepers sometimes hang up their veils. There are half

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