Beekeeping For Business
Bees and their products are a wide consumer preference worldwide and they provide sustainable livelihoods to many small-scale farmers in rural and non-rural places.
Apiculture beekeeping has a large potential in profits and requires minimal investments; just invest in start-up equipment and tools sourced locally which will be a regular source of income for family farmers.
Research and proper training can really help for would be apiarists because they would know how to avoid being stung, know the pests that attack hives and ruin honey produce and many more things to ensure the bees will give the best yield.
Unlike domesticated animals, bees find their own food through pollination and they find a water source on their own which makes it easier to become an apiarist.
Bees are intelligent and have brains the size of a poppy seed; they can recognize the beekeeper through body odour and in most cases they are good with faces as they have repeated interaction.
They can also bond wit humans but it would not be easy to trust a bee not to sting especially for a beginner apiarist.
One of the best ways to get started in beekeeping is with the assistance of a practising, local beekeeper. Setting up requires;
- Start small with two colonies is an ideal number for an inexperienced person to keep for one or two years.
- Expand as your experience and confidence grow.
- Start right to avoid discouraging mistakes at the very beginning by thorough preparation.
- Buy new equipment and the experience of assembling new hives are very informative for the inexperienced beginner.
- Beekeeping information is important and there are many good books that are excellent for beginners. Online research is another way of getting information.
- Plan ahead by ordering your bees, hives, and other equipment well in advance. Place your order for bees, hives, and tools in the fall.
- The hives and tools will be delivered in time to be assembled before your bees arrive the following a month after unless you can you can collect for yourself.
- Be ready when the package bees arrive, your hives should be assembled and located on the site selected for your apiary.
Locating An Apiary
The location of the apiary should provide the essential elements for maximum performance by your colonies.
- An abundant source of nectar and pollen should be near the apiary.
- Nectar- and pollen-producing plants that bloom in late summer, fall, winter, and early spring are very beneficial to colonies for brood rearing and overwintering.
- A good supply of clean water should be available within one-quarter of a mile.
- The apiary should be located on a hillside for maximum air drainage to reduce humidity.
- Late afternoon shade is desirable to aid in cooling the colony.
- A good vegetative growth on the North should be available to protect colonies from the cold winter winds. Trees or shrubs are good wind breaks and protect colonies from the cold winds.
- An apiary should be near a hard-surface road. It is necessary to visit your apiary in all kinds of weather.
When To Harvest
Harvesting should be carried out in the evening or the early morning. Honey is harvested twice or thrice in a year or season which is normally done between mid June until mid September; however, harvesting can often be determined by the local climate and plant life.
Poor weather conditions, diseases and pests infiltrate your hives will affect your harvested honey.
Honey And Beeswax Extraction
The honeycomb can be simply cut into pieces and sold as fresh, cut comb honey. Alternatively, the honey and comb can be separated and sold as fresh honey and beeswax.
It is important when processing honey to remember that it is hygroscopic and will absorb moisture, so all honey processing equipment must be perfectly dry.
The comb from which bees build their nest is made of beeswax. After as much honey as possible is separated from the combs, the beeswax can be melted gently over moderately warm water (boiling water will ruin the wax) and moulded into a block.
Honey will keep a long time if it is clean and sealed in an airtight container, but will deteriorate rapidly and ferment if it has absorbed water.
Preventing this from happening is crucial in honey harvesting. How To Raise Bees. Beeswax does not deteriorate with age and therefore beekeepers often save their scraps of beeswax until they have a sufficiently large amount to sell.
Different Species Of Honey Bees
There are four well known species of true honey bees (belonging to genus Apis) in the world and their nesting behaviour
Rock bee, Apis dorsata – have open nesting, built single large comb and attached to branches of trees or rocks. They can produce around 40 kg of honey as they are wild bees and cannot be domesticated though is furious bee.
Little bee, Apis florea – these are open nested single small comb building bees that fair well on branches of bushes. They produce 500 g of honey and cannot be domesticated because of their wild nature.
Asian bee, Apis cerana – they build many parallel combs in nested cavities of trunk trees, hollows of rocks, poles and other places. They can produce about 5 kg of honey in hives and are the domesticated kind.
European bee, Apis mellifera – these bees can produce about 15 kg of honey and are domesticated. Their nesting is the same as the Apis cerana.
Bee Feeding And Watering
Bees are pollinators and they feed in the process, but artificial feeding may be necessary during times of shortage or to build up for winter storing. It is imperative to have water source that will be safe for when they drink so they do not drown. Ensure that bees have access to safer water sources.
Benefits Of Honeybees
Honey –has so many uses.
Beeswax – can be used in cosmetics, candles, etc.
Propolis – used for medicinal qualities.
Bee venom – is used in medicinal properties such as treating bee allergic reaction, arthritis, etc.
Pollination – bees are beneficial in agricultural farming and more bees mean better pollination and higher yields of vegetation.
Royal jelly – used on perishable products.