Animal Husbandry (Livestock) - Apiculture (Bee Farming)

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Topics

  • Apiculture
  • Types of Honey Bee
  • Useful product of Honey Bees

Notes

Bee-keeping (Apiculture):

  • Bee-keeping or apiculture is the maintenance of hives of honeybees for the production of honey.
  • Bee-keeping is an age-old cottage industry. 
  • Although bees are active all year, they become lethargic in the winter and incredibly active in the spring.
  • Honeybees are sociable insects with polymorphism and effective work division.
  • A typical bee hive has a diameter of 30-90 cm. The number of bees in it is estimated to be in the 50-60 thousand range.
  • Hive of Bees: One of the few tamed insects is the honey bee. Bee colonies are being raised in artificial wooden cages to maximise honey and wax output. The hive is an artificial box where the bee colony is kept and regulated. 
  • The apiary is the location where hives are kept and handled. 
  • The hives should be placed in an area with a lot of flowering plants.  
  • The environment should be tidy and free of offensive odours. Because each bee colony requires two glasses of water each day to survive, there should be clean drinking water nearby. 
  • Pollinators for sunflower, Brassica, apple, and pear include bees. 
  • A highly organised division of labour is found in the colony of the honey bee.
  • Each colony has 40,000 to 50,000 individuals consisting of 3 casts - queens, drones and workers. 

Important varieties of Honeybees: 

  1. Apis dorsata, popularly known as the sarang bee, is a type of rock bee. It has the greatest size and generates the most honey. It is, however, a highly aggressive and migratory species that is not ideal for human keeping. 
  2. Apis indica (Indian Mona-bee): This species is smaller than the sarang-bee and can be found throughout India. It has a gentle temperament, making it easy to control during rearing. Mona-bee hives produce approximately 3-4 kg of honey each hive. 
  3. Apis florea (Bhringa-bee): This bee is the tiniest and most cautious of the species. Each hive barely produces roughly 250 grammes of honey. As a result, it is unsuitable for commercial use.
  4. Apis mellifera (European bee): Apis mellifera is a kind bee. It produces 9-10 times the amount of honey as the mona-bee. For commercial purposes, it is the most useful bee. By far the most important variant of this species is the Italian one. 

Social Organization of Bees species:

  • Queen bees: The queen bees are fertile females which lay thousands of eggs. Queen secretes Anti queen substance/Pheromones. 
  • Drones' bees: The drone bees are fertile males and their job is only to help in fertilizing the eggs laid by the queen.
  • Worker's bees: Worker bees are sterile females who do the actual work of collecting nectar.

Useful products of Honey Bees:  

  1. Honey: Honey is a complex substance made when bees ingest nectar, process it, and store it into honeycombs. Honey is a food of high nutritive & indigenous medicinal value.

  2. Beeswax (real product): Secretary product from a series of abdominal wax glands/hypodermal glands.  Beeswax is used for the production of cosmetics and polishes. 

  3. Propolis: It is resinous mixture collected by bees from tree buds, flow saps etc. used as a sealant for unwanted open spaces of hives.  

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