Honey Bee Agriculture – There is simply no denying the fact that the term agriculture is synonymous with life, existence, and the presence of human life. From as long as time can tell people have been dependent on a wide variety of agricultural forms not juts as a mode of survival but also as a mode of sustainability, income, and livelihood. Now we all know that there are many diversified types of agriculture and their processes. One such form of agriculture that has been an impressive part of not just the USA alone but also many parts of the world is that of honey bee farming.
Apiaries and their History
Even though the human race has been utilizing the wonders of nature from forever, it was the thrust for adventure, sweetness, and taste that drove the human race to cultivate their passion for bee farming. It is believed that it was from Egypt that the entire concept was conceived. From there it went to Germany and soon this form of agriculture became popular in many parts of the world including America. The ancient people used a large variety of vessels such as wooden boxes, logs, pottery vessels, woven straw baskets, etc. to domesticate the wild bees. It was very early that the humans came in terms with the fact that to utilize the nectar of this species, the way was to go their way and not by using the regular hunting and killing tactics.
It is very interesting to note that the depictions of humans collecting honey from the honey bees dates back to almost 10,000 years ago. It is believed that beekeeping in pottery vessels began almost 9000 years back in North America.
Evolvement in Bee Agriculture with evolvement in Technology
Needless to say, from then to now, there have been tremendous changes in bee farming, which is also very popularly known as apiculture. In ancient times, the beekeepers gathered the honeycombs, crushed, and heated them to extract honey. It was not until 1852, that an American clergyman, Rev.Langstroth invented the first simple wooden beehive with a removable frame. And then again, it was fifteen years later, that an officer in the Italian army, namely, Major Francesco De Hruschka, came up with the very first centrifugal honey extractor. It was finally with the use of this extractor that the bees could use the existing honeycombs and also stay unharmed and undamaged.
From then to now, there have been tremendous advancements and developments not just in the field of bee farming but all sectors of the world. Clearly, with moderations and technology, processes have not just been made simpler but also more effective and efficient.
What you must know before you head towards constructing your apiary
Good planning is an extremely important part of bee farming. If you are someone who is fascinated by the idea of bee farming and is eager to start one soon, then here is a list of factors that must be kept in mind.
- First things first, a good location for your apiary and the amount that you will be needing to get started.
- Second, the number of colonies you wish to start with.
- Your source or the place from where you will be buying your bees.
- To arrange the right set of equipment like hives for bees, honey processing equipment’s and most importantly all the safety gear for the beekeeper.
- Always ensure that your apiary is set in an area where there is an abundant growth of flowers, shrubs, food crops, and cash crops.
- Water is essential for the bees for multiple purposes so make sure that there is the availability of water
- Protection in the forms of shelter or shady areas is a must to let the strong winds and other weather conditions restrict them from turning hostile and rowdy.
- Flat and gently sloppy lands are a preferred choice for apiaries.
- Your apiary site should be at a safe distance from other fields which regularly uses pesticides to avoid bee-harming and contamination of honey.
Because nothing is stronger than the power of knowledge
Once you have made up your mind and you are done with all the above points, you might think that you are ready to take upon the apiary by the storm, but wait there is still a lot more that you need to know, and the best ways to do it by following these steps.
- There is an end number of books available in the market that guide you rightly in the direction of beekeeping. Read read and read and make yourself ready with all that information that you are surely going to be needing.
- Before you start any work, you need to understand the process step by step and in detail. So, understand just how exactly is it that bees construct their nests in nature, how do they extract the nectar from the flowers, how do they bring it back to the hives, and finally just how is it that it slowly becomes honey?
- Always keep yourself in the loop with the local beekeeping organizations. Not only can their experience and knowledge be priceless for you but also help you tremendously in sailing smoothly for the first season.
- Now in the wild, bees build their hives in old trees or other sheltered places, but since you are cultivating them, you must know how to provide the right space and construct the hives for them.
- The best months to start your apiary is towards spring, as it is from here that the process of accumulating honey begins which stretches up to the winters.
What makes Bee Agriculture and cultivation of honey a growing and leading sector?
Now that we have a decent amount of information on how one can go about the entire process, it is also vital that we know that just why is it that this form of agriculture is gaining popularity with each and every passing day. Well, we know that it is a lot easier to go to your grocery store and get a bottle of honey, but the fact is that there are endless advantages of Bee Agriculture and many reasons why more and more Americans should become a part of apiary or honey Bee Agriculture. Let’s have a quick look.
- As we all know honey is an excellent health supplement that does many wonders to the overall fitness of a person. It is rich in nutrients like riboflavin, niacin, copper, iron, pantothenic acid, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, etc. As if the long list of nutrients is not sufficient, honey with its sweet taste has only been known to be a natural remedy for ailments regarding boosting memory, soothing coughs, treating wounds, prevention of low white blood cell count caused by chemotherapy, killing antibiotic-resistant bacteria, resolving scalp and dandruff problems, etc.
- Wax which is a product of bees can be used for making multiple things such as candles, creams, cosmetics, lip balms, lipsticks, etc.
- Bees are highly beneficial in not just ensuring the good health of your flowers but also fruits through the process of pollinating.
- Very low on maintenance. Once you have set up the hive, all you need to do is dedicate a maximum of up to 30 minutes a week and be assured that the bees are sure to do all the hard work on their own.
- By keeping your hives, you are significantly contributing to the preservation and conservation of bees and playing your role in controlling their extinction.
- Last but not the least, by becoming an active member of a healthy ecosystem, where you are naturally creating honey with the use of bees and flowers can, by all means, be one of the most enriching experiences of your life.
Stay ahead and updated with the best technology and advancements and the use of right tools
Like mentioned earlier, with the rise in developments and advancements, there have also been significant changes in the ways that bee farming is done today. As a beekeeper, nothing is more important for you then to ensure the proper care and maintenance of your hives and course bees. Thanks to the tremendous developments in the field of beekeeping, even amateur, and new beekeepers can find the right ways to keep their bees healthy, safe, and most importantly happy. Let’s have a look at some of the tools that can not only help you in upgrading the quality of your apiary but also make you a better beekeeper.
- Thermosolar hive – this is one of the best and the most effective ways with the help of which you can safeguard your colonies from the attacks of the pests and also from harsh chemical treatments. The Thermosolar hive comes with a rooftop solar panel that warms up just enough to not harm the bees and cerate thermo solar energy which can boost the expansion of the colonies. It has also been known to enhance the honey collection up to 75%.
- Hive tracks – just like any other business or enterprise, it is very important to keep a check on records in the apiary as well. This cloud-based software helps one to keep a check and record hive conditions, such as brood pattern, temperament, population, honey stores, etc. it also enables you to click snaps with the help of which you can maintain a check on the feeding and inspection parts.
- Buzz box – BuzzBox is a mini inspection tool that can be easily attached to the side of your hive and help you in monitoring the sounds inside your beehive. It consists of artificial intelligence which is used to detect certain issues like the missing of the queen, presence of parasites, etc. It does not just keep a check on the factors such as humidity, temperature, barometric pressures, etc. but also updates you with a notification in case anything goes amiss.
- Bee smart – a pollinator gardener app that helps you in the elevation of the right plants and flowers for your apiary. Even though this app was originally designed to help and guide the gardeners, it is of equal use to the beekeepers as they need their spaces full of the right flowers.
- Flow hive – an excellent innovation in the field of high-tech design, this tool allows the beekeeper to harvest honey by turning on a liver. This not only means that there is an effective way to extract honey but also that it can be done without harming and disturbing the bees.
It will not be wrong to say that with the use of the best in technology you are sure to devise successful plans which are not only going to make bee framing an easy process for you but also a fun one.
The future of apiculture and honey bee farming
There is no hiding the fact that if you are investing a large amount of money, time, and efforts in a project, you will want it to do well and bring you success and growth. If you are considering becoming the proud owner of an apiary but still have your doubts, then be assured that this is going to be a long-term project which is surely going to be highly beneficial for you. According to an analysis of the last 50 years on bees from the United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization, there has been an increase of 45% in the domesticated honey bee population.
It is not just the honey which is on large demand in the global market but also the wax, bee glue, etc. which is extracted from the hives that are contributing to the growth of this culture of farming. As per the United States Honey Production in 2019, the total of honey produced was 157 million pounds, which was 2% up then the total production in the year 2018.
In the end, we would just like to summon it up with the fact that bee farming, apiary, or bee agriculture is without a doubt one of the most flourishing careers ahead. With the rise in health awareness in not just America but many parts of the world, you can be assured that the demand for this amazing health supplement is only going to increase. Be assured that the amount of income you have made in the first season is sure to multiply by many times in your second or third harvest. So, put on your suit and we wish you happy farming.
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