Insects > Bees > Beekeeping

Beekeeping


Honeybee farming is a joyous leisure activity, or at the same time a part or full time business. Depending on the type of the farming, you can do it anywhere, even in the urban areas, by simply buying the colonies off from the beekeepers or those captured from the wild. Packed bees or queens are also available in the markets, ready for relocation to the bee-farmer’s site.

Preparing the Farm

Any place, bearing plenty of flowering trees is ideal for honeybee hives and for collecting pollen grains and nectar to generate honey. Shady spots, not exposed to cold or damp, are favorable for bee farming. However, avoid heavily populated public grounds or spots near playgrounds or parks. Only a minimum amount of 150 $ is enough to gather the basic equipment for setting a bee farm.

Bee-Farm/Hive Structure

Based on the nature and size of the farm, you may have one or more hives. The artificially substituted beehives have a board at the bottom or the stand of the hive, frames of wood, which grasp the bee wax sheets along with the hive or the chamber. The huge wooden box, known as super can accommodate about 10 frames of the combs that serve to rear the brood and for the bees to store honey. You can also find an exclusive spot for the queen bee in the nest. The bees preserve the extra honey in the supers used for harvesting honey. An inner cover inside the farming hive prevents the Honeybees from attaching the comb outside the wall, allowing air in, while the outer layer acts as a shelter against the weather.

Getting Colonies

If you want to start keeping bees, you can get the bee farming kits plentiful in the markets along with the bees. Fill the empty artificial hives, with the bees from original hives or packages. Since property owners usually want beehives off their homes, grabbing a natural hive is easy and you can begin farming at almost no cost. People who intend to buy packaged bees and queens usually get them in two to five sets, usually delivering about 9,000 to 22,000 bees.

Farm Management


Maintaining the bee farm is the most vital part to make sure of maximum honey generation for harvesting. Start feeding and medicating bees from as soon as the New Year sets in, January-February. This is the time, for the queen bee to lay eggs. Feeding a mixture of one part of sugar and water, along with medicines and pollen supplements during this time, will keep diseases and pests away. As soon as the hive is full of bees, and harvesting has begun to give a good yield, the process of re-queening starts in spring or fall with the disposal of the old  queen bee. Annual re-queering is ideal for maintaining the hive population.

Processing Honey

After collecting the honey, the bee farmers sell them in liquid form in bottles, or as honeycombs, replete with honey. They also offer a profitable combination of both, called chunk honey, where the honey has a comb suspended in it. For commercial purposes, bee-farmers use specialized equipments for easy honey extraction. However, you can collect and sell comb honey conveniently and inexpensively without these equipments if you have just started your business. Beekeeping industry is now thriving.

Threats to Beekeeping

Mites

Varroa and Tracheal are two mites that threaten beekeeping. The 1996 report of the Back Yard Beekeepers Association claims that they have accounted for the untimely death of about 40 percent of the entire bee population, and have significantly reduced the bee population in the USA.

Disease

Usually, several diseases that do not harm human beings bees affect bees; for example, “Foul Brood” and “Nosema”. To avoid this, medicate the bees, and manage the hives properly.

Urbanization

Development of urban areas have resulted in a real challenge for bee farming, as the space available for this purpose is rapidly diminishing. Fairfield County and similar areas offer a nice combination of nectar and pollen grains for honeybees.

Africanized Bees

Reports are coming in that the “killer bees”, especially in the southern states, are causing trouble for the beekeepers. Under numerous restrictions due to the negative publicity, the beekeepers find it really challenging to continue farming.

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