Beekeeping refers to the practice of rearing bee colonies. The main purpose of beekeeping is to produce honey, but there are several other reasons why it has become such a popular and profitable activity. Beekeeping is actually an ancient method of food production, and it was first practiced about 15,000 years ago. The Egyptians considered honey as one of their favorite foods, and they were some of the most accomplished beekeepers in the ancient times. Beekeeping is also known as apiculture.
While most people keep bees to collect honey, there are some who do it to get other substances that can be found in beehives, including beeswax, royal jelly, and propolis. These substances are sought after because of their high commercial values. Beeswax can be used for making cosmetics and candles. Royal jelly is a secretion that comes from young worker bees’ hypopharyngeal glands, and it can be used as a health supplement. The substance that honey bees use to repair cracks in their hives is called propolis, which can be used in medical applications such as acupuncture, alternative medicine, and homeopathy.
Another reason why people keep bees is because they can assist the pollination of plants in a garden. Plants need to pollinate to survive and grow, and insects can help increase a garden’s yield and improve the quality of flowers, fruits and vegetables. Honey bees are considered the most important pollination insects in the world, and they are responsible for about 80% of all the pollination activities that are performed by insects. Truly, having a beehive or two in your garden will make you a more successful gardener.
Beekeepers keep their bees in a place called an apiary. The hive that is home to the bee colony is made up of a number of wooden boxes and frames with wax sheets. The bees will use the wax sheets to start building their honeycomb. The honey is found in the top box, while the queen bee and the worker bees reside in the bottom box. The most common type of hive that is used by beekeepers in the United States is the Langstroth hive.
Working with bees can be dangerous, and beekeepers need to take certain safety measures. To ensure that you will not be stung by your bees, you should be properly dressed before you come into contact with the bees. A veil or hat, a hooded suit, and gloves have to be worn to cover up your body. The hooded suit should be lightly colored so that the bees can distinguish you from their natural predators. It is always a good idea to us some kind of garden shed of garden storage box to your beekeeping equipment in. You will also need to use a smoker before you approach the colony. The smoke will prevent the guard bee from raising an alarm, and get the other bees to start feeding, which will give you ample time to perform your inspection and maintenance tasks.
Beekeeping is considered legal in most of the US states, but certain communities do not allow the practice. It is advisable that you check with your local authorities to find out if you can keep bees at the place where you live. Even if you are allowed to keep bees in your neighborhood, you may have to register with the local government.