Posts Tagged ‘honey beekeeping’


  

What is an Apiary?

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.

Honey Beekeeping

Honey beekeeping is very lucrative and interesting activity. Honey bees are hugely popular and economically advantageous creatures.  They provide honey and beeswax.  With modern techniques, honey bees can be kept in artificial hives.  Though majority of people venturing into honey beekeeping do it for earning money, some honey beekeepers are hobbyists who keep a few hives.  They just enjoy working with honey bees.

Once you decide to become honey beekeeper, you can keep bees almost anywhere.  Choose such area that has flowers as they help in production of pollen and nectar which is transformed into honey. The site must provide protection from winds and should be shaded.  It is prudent to avoid low spots so as to avoid dampness.  Inform your neighbors about it so as to know whether they have any objection to it or not.  This is mandatory by law.  Select a site that does not place hive on paths of sidewalks or playground along with any public area. Provide bees with water source such as a container so as to prevent them from venturing into neighborhood for water.

Next step in honey beekeeping is acquiring beekeeping equipment.  The first equipment required is bee hive.  There are movable hives, simple package hives which have a screened box that has honey bees and a queen bee, fixed-comb hive, etc.  Next equipment is bottom board which is a wooden stand that helps in resting hive.  It should be kept off the ground.  Next, hive body should be procured so as to help honey bees to rear brood and store honey.  Queen excluder should be placed between brood nest and the honey supers.  This helps in keeping queen in the brood nest.

Honey supers should be installed so as to store surplus honey.  Next, inner cover and outer cover should be installed so as to prevent bees from attaching comb to outer cover along with insulating dead air space and provide protection from inclement weather.  Smokers, gloves and gowns help in protecting from bee stings.

Next important step that honey beekeepers should follow is to get bees for the hive.  A simple package of bees can be opted that has a screened box along with honey bees and a queen bee.  These bees can be transferred in the hive and the colony can be allowed to be built.

After this, honey beekeeping management schedule should be followed.  Honey beekeeper should take care of feeding and medication so as to derive maximum nectar flow.  Once queens lay eggs, brood production speeds up and supplementing the bees with feeds and nutrition becomes important. Care must be taken to prevent disease and pest from attacking bees. 

Last stage in honey beekeeping is to process honey.  This can be done with the use of hot knife and slicing off the cappings away from comb of honey.  Uncapping of tank can also help in collecting honey that drips through the bottom of the tank. Other methods include extracting, straining and using storage tanks.