Beekeeping is the scientific method used to obtain the substances produced by bees, including honey and beeswax, for human consumption. Beekeeping is a hobby and an additional income-generating industry.
In order to successfully carry out beekeeping, it is essential to have an understanding of the scientific basis of the activities and the training gained from engaging in the activities.
In many countries of the world, Apis mellifera is used for beekeeping. In Asian countries, Apis Cerana species is used for beekeeping and currently, Mellifera species are also used.
History of Bees
Genetic testing of honeybees has revealed that they migrated from Africa to southern Europe, and from there to northern Europe, about 1,000,000 years ago.
Around 1600 AD, white settlers brought bees from Europe to America.
+ Scientific name of the bee: Anthophila
+ Bee’s Speed: 32 km/h
History of Beekeeping
There is archeological evidence that man has known about honey and bees since the beginning of mankind. They have used honey, which is hunted from the natural habitats of bees, as food.
“Mummies” found in tombs provide evidence that ancient Egyptians used honey and beeswax to cover corpses. The Egyptians, who lived about 2000 years ago, started domestic beekeeping. Migratory beekeeping has also been started by them.
There is a 2000-year history of beekeeping, but a change in the equipment or methods used during that time is only seen after 1880.
Around the year 1851, Lorenzo Langstroth, an American priest, realized that there was a certain distance between beehives, and designed a bee box with frames accordingly. This discovery was the beginning of modern crop management. With this device, it is possible to remove the nectar without damaging the breeding part of the bee colony. With this, beekeeping became a popular industry.
Let’s identify the members of a Bee Colony
The main member of a colony is the queen. The queen’s job is to lay eggs and produce pheromones. She has a yellowish brown belly and a black head. The queen’s abdomen is larger and longer than worker bees. She is feathered. Although the queen bee is equipped with fangs, it will only attack another queen bee.
The queen bee is not adapted to foraging and is fed by worker bees. The life span of a queen bee is about 3-4 years.
Worker bees are controlled by a pheromone produced in the queen’s pituitary gland. By touching the queen bee, these pheromones attract worker bees to them, giving the colony a characteristic scent. Therefore, this pheromone is also known as the Queen Scent. This scent helps worker bees identify the presence of the queen in the colony. This scent varies from one queen bee to another. This gives them the ability to distinguish and identify bees in individual colonies.
When the queen bee is removed from the colony for some reason, this scent disappears in about 6 hours.
In a bee colony, members are born from eggs laid by the queen bee. From the queen bee’s juvenile stage, until about 2 years of age, the queen bee’s ability to lay eggs and pheromone production is good, after which it gradually declines. If the feed is good, the spawning rate will increase. Queen bees stop laying eggs completely during periods of food scarcity.
The queen bee lays eggs in two forms. They are fertilized eggs and unfertilized eggs. Fertilized eggs produce females and unfertilized eggs produce males. The queen bee lays eggs daily.
The worker bee:
She is a female. Her head is black. A triangular shape. The abdomen of the worker bee is striped and yellow. When the body is located at the rear end, it attacks the enemy. In order to perform all the functions of the colony, body parts are arranged. The lifespan varies from 6 weeks to three months.
The development of the worker bee’s reproductive system is halted by the queen’s pheromone, but in the absence of the queen bee in the colony, the pheromone is not available, so by developing their reproductive system, they are also able to lay eggs. It produces only male bees.
Tasks performed by worker bees :
- Cleaning the hives.
- Removal of dead waste such as wax fragments from the colony.
- Guarding and providing security at the gate of the colony.
- Maintaining a constant temperature in the colony.
- Collecting nectar and pollen.
- Making nectar into honey.
- Storing enough food.
- Beeswax production, binding of hives, comb cells, and nectar-filled chambers, covering with wax.
Male bee :
Male bees hatch from unfertilized eggs. He is black. Larger than worker bees. But smaller than the queen bee.
Male bees are fed by worker bees, as they are not adapted to foraging. Therefore, in periods of food scarcity, it is a natural phenomenon that male bees die due to lack of food. Then the male bees breed again when food is plentiful.
The male bee’s only job is to mate with a newly born queen bee.
Methods of providing bee colonies
- Buying bee colonies from a current beekeeper.
- Incorporation of bee colonies living in natural habitats in the environment into bee boxes.
- Placing a bee trap to draw in a swarm of bees that splits.
Placing bee colonies in boxes
- The best time to put bee colonies in boxes in the natural environment is when the colonies are growing due to the flowering of the environment.
- Before planting a bee colony, be aware of the weather conditions in the environment. It is easier to lay a bee colony on dry mornings.
- If the weather conditions are hot and sunny, use early morning or late evening to lay colonies. This will prevent damage to young larvae and pupae.
- Avoid placing bee colonies, in rainy weather conditions.
- Before placing bee colonies, prepare the surrounding area to work well.
- It is essential to provide a protective suit, a smoke diffuser, materials for tying the hive, a container of water, and a sharp knife for cutting the hive.
- In the case of a bee colony in the natural environment, the beehive should be cut by hand to minimize disturbance to the bee colony.
- Smoke at the beginning and remove the bees from the hive in the bee colony. Do not apply fumes to paralyze the bees.
Field placement of bee boxes
- A post made of cement can be used as a support for placing the bee boxes.
- Set the height of the support post to be 2 1/2 feet from the ground.
- In ant-infested areas, build a water tank at the base of the pole.
- Place the transported bee colony on the support post in your prepared location.
- After about half an hour, open the bee hatch.
- Be careful as the crumbs come out all at once.
- Allow the debris to drain like this for half an hour and again apply for the gate plate with the holes facing down on the gate post.
Caring for bees
- Supplying sugar as a liquid feed for several days helps to prevent the chicks from leaving the colony.
- Dissolve 100g of sugar in 75ml of boiled water, put it in a cup after it cools well, and put some pieces of sticks in it to support the bees and place it in the box.
- Keep an eye on the colony until you see bees bringing pollen to the colony. Bees bringing in pollen is a sure sign of colony stability.
- About a day after placing the colony, check the hives inside to see if they are broken. Put the broken hives back into the frames and tie them together. Be careful not to smoke too much at this point.In the maintenance of bee colonies, it is necessary to check the condition inside from time to time.
By examining the bee colony here,
- Whether or not there is a queen bee in the colony,
- Whether the eggs, larvae, and hatchlings are in good condition,
- Whether there is reserve food in the colony,
- Whether disease and pest damage has occurred,
- Whether there are male bees,
- Whether queen bee cells are made,
The beekeeper can observe such things.
Extraction of honey
Honey can be extracted from bee colonies when the honey is deposited in the colony boxes. The periods during which this nectar is deposited vary. Use only beehives in honey boxes to extract honey.
Remove the honeycomb covering 90% of the chambers on both sides of the hive for honey extraction. For honey extraction, use a honey extractor. Use non-stick equipment when using the equipment. Remove the wax with the wax remover. Separate the honey extract into jars with the honey tap located at the bottom.
The separated honey should be filtered, melted to the right consistency, and offered for the market. For this, it is essential to have experience and good knowledge of scientific methods. Water in honey offered to the market should be less than 20%. A bottle of pure honey is transparent in nature. No residue should be visible in it. There is a huge demand in the market for this kind of honey bottle. Therefore, beekeeping is considered a profitable as well as a mind healing industry.