Saturday, 25 March 2017

Bee keeping and honey production (article 1) Introduction. Keep bee and make money.

 1.0 Introduction

Modern Beekeeping is known as Apiculture is the improvement of the art and science of beekeeping for man’s economic and health benefits. It is the practice of honey bee rearing that combines the knowledge of the social behavior and biology of the bees with that of the environment; and the use of apiary equipments to maximize honey production and output of other bee hives products. Thus, it is a science-based industry using bees as micro-manipulator to harvest plant foods (pollen and nectar of flowering plants) which otherwise would have been wasted environmental resources and at the same time increasing the yield of agricultural product through pollination.
Apart from bee honey, which is the most popular bee-hive products, other include bee venom. All these are in high demand in the world market, hence good foreign exchange earner for the producer.


Apiculture has some advantages over other types of animal husbandry in that:
1. investment is low and profitable
2. It does not take up valuable land or water body, it only occupies a small portion of land
3. There is no need for daily care since bees do not need daily attention so it allows time flexibility.
4. Women and children are able to work in apiary

5. Basic beekeeping techniques are very easy to learn
6. Equipment involved can be made
7. Locally or improvised
8. All fruit trees will surely increase their yield
9. Absentee farmer can fit into modern beekeeping

All over the world, beekeeping is a serious economic pursuit practiced on a commercial scale.


Honey bees are social insects, which belong to the order of hymenoptera (i.e membranous wings), super family of Apoidae (i.e bees) and sub-family of Apinae.
Of all insects found in the world, honey bees are the most widely studied, partly because they stand out among the social insects. They also represent the highest form of social development among invertebrate animals.
All bees in Nigeria and West Africa belong to a single specie of Apis mellifera adansonii. However, there are several faces of this specie varying in size, color and disposition depending upon their places of origin in the old world. Due to free interbreeding, pure races are becoming very rare.
In view of the social life of the honey bees, they live in colonies throughout the year. A colony of honey bees consists:
 of a queen or mother bee, which is a fertile, egg-laying female
 about 10,000 to 20,000 worker bees, which are infertile females

 The drones, which are male bees. They are always present in the reproductive season but may be kicked out by worker bees during dearth or food scarcity.

3.1.1 The Queen
The queen is the only one responsible for reproduction within the colony. She lays the eggs and because of this, she has a large abdomen. She is the only one that is fed to Royal jelly within the colony. She rarely stings.

3.1.2 The Drones
The drones are the male bees. They are big and strongly built. They are responsible for the fertilization of the queen. They have no sting organ. After copulation/mating, the drones die off, having lost the lower part of the abdomen with their stings.

3.1.3 The Worker Bees
 The worker bees are the busiest within the colony. Their division of labour is superb. One colony may indeed boast of 60,000 to 80,000 workers. The worker bee is a product of a fertilized egg from the queen. Some of the duties of the worker bees include:
 transportation of anything/material in and out of the colony
 the newly emerged worker bee is programmed by nature to know and understand whatever every bee has to know
 conversion of 15kg of honey to 1kg of wax;
 manufacture of combs
Other duties of a house bee in the colony include:
 guard duty
 cleaning operation
 comb building
 feeding or nursing the brood
 administering to the queen
 orientation flight
 ventilating the hive
 pollen, water, nectar or honey packing
 executions


Swarming is the method of reproduction of the colony. Swarming occurs during the period when the workers are able to gather plenty of food, which results, into high population in the colony. When the colony is over-populated, some queen calls are prepared and the larvae are fed to royal jelly to raise a younger queen. At the arrival of the baby queen, the older queen leaves the colony with half of the colony population. This is termed swarming. This is natural with the bees.


Honey bees are part of the natural environment and they have been around before man. They can be found anywhere that can guarantee them safety and quietness. They are nesting under the roof tops, under a shrub, in vehicles or block-moulding machine, under a bridge or any cool, dark places. A colony of bees builds a nest composed of vertical parallel sheets of wax, called combs.

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