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Apiary | Beekeeping
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What is an Apiary?

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An apiary, which is also known as a bee yard, is a place where beehives of honey bees is reared and kept. Beekeepers are also known as apiarists.  Apiary or apiculture, which derives its meaning from Latin word apis which mean bee, is maintenance of honeybee hives by humans. An apiarist might keep bees with the objective of collecting honey and beeswax or with the objective of pollinating crops or producing bees for sale to other apiarists.  Beekeeping apiary is one of the oldest forms of food production.

To start an apiary, two bee colonies is considered an ideal number. You can expand it in few years as you gain experience.  It is assumed that a single hive produces 50 to 100 pounds of honey every year. Start with right type of hive.  Assemble bees in hive using experts.  You can either build your own hive or get one build from local tinsmith.  You can also order all the parts of hives from a store. 

Plan bee apiary in upcoming season by ordering bees, hives and other apiary supplies and equipment well in advance.  Fall is the best time to buy all the supplies.  All the equipments should be assembled in winter so as to make arrangement for bees to be placed after arrival.  Then place hive at the designated place for the apiary.  At this juncture, you can become member of local apiary association to gain further information about beekeeping.  This will also help you in sharing your problems with more experienced apiarists who will eagerly help you out. 

Location of apiary is very important.  It is advantageous to place apiary where there is plenty of pollen and nectar source such as flowers and corn, ornamental trees and plants.  Apiary should be near a good source of clean water.  It is prudent to provide water source so as to prevent bees from moving into neighbor’s area in search of water. A bee apiary must face south or southeast along with a windbreak behind.  The area must not be damp and must have sufficient shade.  The apiary must be easily approachable for you to work around it.

Selection of correct apiary equipment is very essential.  Buy new equipment if you are new to beekeeping apiary.  If you purchase colonies or equipment from other beekeeper, get it tested by concerned department for any disease or pest stains.  Irrespective of how and from where you purchase your apiary equipment, it needs to meet the standard required by you.  Buy all the protective gear required for beekeeping apiary such as overalls, gloves, masks, veil and smokers so as to protect from bee stings as well as facilitate easy handling of bees.

Take precaution against spread of disease.  Use Terramycin twice every year before and after the honey flow so as to prevent foulbrood disease.  Use Fumadil "B" (Fumagillin) to control Nosema disease which inflicts adult bees.  Hive should be tilted slightly so that water does not accumulate inside.  The hive should be properly ventilated from top.  Food supply should be ensured to prevent bees from dying due to hunger.

Beekeeping in Maryland

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Beekeeping in Maryland has a long history and beekeeping is widely done in Maryland due to advanced and traditional knowledge related to beekeeping that has been passed on over the years. Beekeeping in Maryland is done under aegis of Maryland State Beekeepers Association. The Maryland State Beekeeper Association is a non-profit organization whose history dates back to 1908. It has been involved in improving beekeeping skills and advancement of beekeeping in Maryland.  The membership of this association is available at $10 for annual membership and $100 for lifetime membership. The members benefit by getting expert advice on beekeeping, bee biology and genetics along with host of other topic related to beekeeping. Association publishes newsletter, the “Beeline” which keeps members updated on news and events associated with beekeeping. Classes are conducted in Maryland which are delivered by local beekeeping association and clubs. These are held in spring each year and include instruction and hands-on experience with beehives.

Maryland State Beekeepers Association provides members with supplies that are helpful in beekeeping. The supplies include bees, hives, clothing, protective gears along with tips for its usage and care. These are supplied by members who have experience in beekeeping. Associations also have registered suppliers of finished products like extracted honey, cut comb honey, comb honey, crystallized honey, pollen, beeswax etc.

Another association helping out beekeepers of Maryland is Central Maryland Beekeeper’s Association Inc. Its history dates back to 1966 and it was incorporated in 1977. The membership fees of this association is $5 annually. The members benefit by meeting several associates who discuss on various topics of beekeeping, pests control, bee biology, candle making along with mead making in several meetings organized by the association. Association publishes newsletter the “Hive Tool” regularly which helps in keeping abreast of news and events associated with beekeeping. Other benefits of membership are five minutes update by Jerry which brings updates on state and national level developments in beekeeping.

The association has an extensive library which houses books, DVDs, videos, CDS on beekeeping related topics. It also has transcripts of colony collapse disorder which is common disorder associated with beekeeping. These transcripts are provides by various experts and researchers from Universities and beekeepers groups.

Central Maryland Beekeeper’s Association Inc. provides lists of members who are experts in bee equipment and are dealers in the same. Different products that are produced by members can be sold through County fair held on various dates. The dates can be checked on the association’s event calendar.

Association apiary inspectors check hive registration, swarms and guide beekeepers regarding laws of beekeeping in the state.

Also, bee events like club meetings and county fairs are held that help members and public in general to learn more about beekeeping and allied activities.

Thus, it is clear from so much activities in these associations that Maryland has a sound history of beekeeping and beekeeping is one of popular form of employment that is undertaken not only to earn a living but due to love and passion for the activities involved in beekeeping.