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Beekeeping, veterans, stress, and depression

Just a general article that might be of interest to some. The AP article/segment it is based on is included at the end.

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This doesn’t surprise me - is there anything more soothing than the hum of contented bees? To me, they sound like sunshine feels. Thanks for sharing the article.

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I’m sure beekeeping does reduce stress at times, however during a period when a hive is pulled apart & the whole time the bees are getting more angry with every movement, then you try to get it all back together again, hoping to minimize stings, which doesn’t seem to be working. That can be pretty stressful for a while. The last thing I think of straight after such an event is sitting in front of a beehive to watch bees come & go as a means of reducing the stress. However, I guess it would work, at the same time as taking stock of the sting numbers.

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Not sure about this though in the article.
"Another beekeeping program based in the state of Michigan is Heroes to Hives. Adam Ingrao, a military veteran and insect expert, founded that program.

“All of these bees will die. These are our summer bees. And they only live 45 to 60 days.”
Pretty sad but certainly up front. My first months were preoccupied with making sure every bee was safe from anything I did and soon found it was impossible to maintain. Still don’t like to see a dead bee but accept it.

Yep, I hear you Jeff, my heart rate is way up there during that activity.
The worst part for me is getting to relax after I get a sting. I am thinking that’s just one through the clothes, then… what if there is a hole somewhere in the suit and I have bees wandering in just waiting to give me what OH. Now learnt to just take up to 3 stings never seems to be any more. Not that I should worry cause my bees never cause swelling or ongoing pain. Maybe a slight ich for a few hours. The bees have low density toxicity I think.

Watching the bees come and go 100% relaxing. Do it as often as I can.
Mind you, I only have 2 hives so that would make a difference

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I agree Busso, I’ll have to re-word that. I meant straight after such a stressful event. Normally speaking, sitting & watching bees come & go is certainly calming. Butcher birds coming to the kitchen window, patiently waiting for a cheese treat, then politely comes inside to eat it is also calming. I feed it inside now to stop the 6+ young magpies from taking over. cheers mate.

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Great to read, thanks for posting Alan. I noted several aspects of beekeeping that do indeed have well-researched therapeutic benefit for mental health, specifically trauma-related issues. The intervention I’m trained in that’s currently being applied to children and teens with Complex Developmental Trauma and PTSD helps such children learn self -regulation through measured heightening and calming cycles, within group and one-on-one activities. Hive inspections can be like that - especially as a context in which beekeepers are moving mindfully through a process as they aim for constructive outcomes like better understanding of another creature, helping meet needs, and the rewards of healthy hives and honey!

And don’t forget the “sunshine feels” :sunglasses::sunflower::honeybee: !! What a wonderful way to describe how positive sensory input helps us self-regulate, @Freebee2!

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Hi Eva, I think endorphins / dopamine fits in there somewhere. I’m not sure whether a fully capped frame of honey or a full frame of sealed brood produces the most. Anyway it’s always a good feeling to see either. Especially if it comes out of your own bees.

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So about the good times. For me it’s opening the tap on the settling tank and the honey flowing into jars. On the left row upon row of empty jars. To the right row upon row of full jars.

Finally the knowledge that the floor could be worse.

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This year I decided to mark a date on all of my splits. Yesterday I noticed two colonies were getting close to a month. It was good to inspect to find capped worker brood, with beautiful laying patterns in both colonies. They were both poor performing colonies that were given fresh brood from my “super queen”.

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It is great to do an inspection a month after making a split and find new brood and a calm colony to confirm everything has gone to plan. I usually leave a split alone for a month then have a really thorough inspection.
Cheers

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I’m X British Army. Suffer from 3 diagnosed mental health illnesses and as recent as May this year I attempted suicide (overdose).

After medication, treatment, support I decided after many years of thinking about it actually buying a hive and ordering my first family of bees.

My FlowHive2 and my bees have saved my life.

I’m now in the process of introducing beekeeping and FlowHive at work as an additional supporting CBT and as a regular social gathering which from experience is one of the hardest parts of living with a Mental illness.

I work for Jaguar Landrover in the UK and we are hoping to set a benchmark for all our Global manufacturing plants to follow suit.

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Hi Dean, many thanks for opening up & sharing your experiences. Hats off to Flow for making it possible for you to achieve, or to be on the road to recovery. Take care mate. cheers for now.

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@HappyHibee Thank you for sharing your experience - I can’t tell you how moved I was by your post.

It’s incredibly humbling to know that our hives have played a part in your recovery.

I hope that you will continue to go from strength to strength and enjoy many fruitful harvests.

All the very best to you in life and beekeeping.

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Thanks for your sharing. You will get plenty of humour and fun chats in between the great advice available in keeping bees. :slightly_smiling_face::slightly_smiling_face:
Even get great tips in baking bread and growing vegies. A lot of the regulars go off topic (not me I am pretty boring) at the drop of a hat but that’s OK as this is meant to be a light-hearted forum.

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Watching the clumsy leg cladded with pollen landings. Tickles me pink.

My first year and got my bees late into the UK summer so not harvesting this year.

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