Beekeeping is a growing sub-sector in the global agriculture economy. It provides farmers with a means to diversify their livelihoods and reduce poverty, as well as generate income through pollination services.
A recent study demonstrates that beekeeping can increase household income in rural areas. This contribution is primarily through pollination and additional investment in inputs and agricultural services.
The basics of beekeeping are relatively simple, and anyone can keep a few bees in their backyard. Bees can be a great addition to your garden or homestead and they’re an excellent way to save money by producing your own honey.
One of the first things you should do is make sure your property is ready for bees. They need a sunny spot with plenty of space to store nectar and pollen, fresh water nearby, and privacy.
Bees are also susceptible to disease and parasites, so you’ll need to take steps to protect your hives from these agents. The most important thing to remember is to avoid putting your hives on a property line and to put them at least ten feet from homes, garages, playgrounds, pools, and pet areas.
Another tool that beekeepers can use is a smoker, which makes aggressive bees more docile. This is especially helpful if you plan to move your hives frequently, as the smoke will help them stay away from you when you’re trying to do this.
Beekeeping equipment is designed to make the job easier and safer. It includes hive components, protective clothing, smokers and bee tools.
Hive components – A basic hive has three main parts: the brood box (often called a deep super), frames and a vented inner cover. Often, these are affixed together with screws, but some hives have the parts connected with metal clips.
Frames – A hive frame is a square box made of wood or plastic with a mesh top for bees to fly in and out. Bees can build comb anywhere within the frame, but most frames are spaced close to each other to allow bees to move about more easily.
A bee brush helps to remove the last few stubborn bees that refuse to fly away from a frame. A bee brush has long, soft bristles that won’t hurt the bees.
Bee brushes are inexpensive but useful utensils that won’t leave you regretting your purchase. They also come in handy for removing nails and other hive fixtures.
Colonies are the homes of thousands of honey bees, including workers, drones and queen bees. Their activities depend on a complex system of communication and chemical pheromones.
Bees cannot survive and reproduce by themselves, so beekeepers must manage colonies carefully to ensure that the bees’ needs are met. These include feeding, monitoring the health of the colony, and controlling the number of mites that are present.
If a colony is weak, its strength can be restored by uniting it with another strong colony. This involves collecting brood combs from a strong colony and carrying the bees to the weaker one.
Before doing this, the beekeeper must smoke both the colonies or swarms to calm them and make them more receptive. Then he should change the position of the weakened hive to that of a strong one, in a time when the bees are busy.
There are many ways to harvest honey, but it’s important to choose the right method for your long-term goals and current product mix. Choosing the correct harvesting method will also keep your bees safe from disease.
The most common method for harvesting is to uncap the honey and pull it out of the hive. Some beekeepers use a tool called an uncapping fork that slides into the cells of the honeycomb and gently pulls the wax cover off.
This is a time-intensive process. Another method involves using a honey extractor that takes the liquid honey out of a honeycomb without destroying it.
Harvesting honey is a vital part of beekeeping. It helps keep the colony healthy and ensures the bees have enough food to survive the winter.