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    Beekeeping


    • Apiculture (from Latin: "bee") is the maintenance of honey bee colonies, commonly in hives, by humans. A beekeeper (or apiarist) keeps bees in order to collect their honey and other products that the hive produces (including beeswax, propolis, pollen, and royal jelly), to pollinate crops, or to produce bees for sale to other beekeepers. A location where bees are kept is called an apiary or "bee yard".

      Depictions of humans collecting honey from wild bees date to 15,000 years ago. Beekeeping in pottery vessels began about 9,000 years ago in North Africa. Domestication is shown in Egyptian art from around 4,500 years ago. Simple hives and smoke were used and honey was stored in jars, some of which were found in the tombs of pharaohs such as Tutankhamun. It wasn't until the 18th century that European understanding of the colonies and biology of bees allowed the construction of the moveable comb hive so that honey could be harvested without destroying the entire colony.

      At some point humans began to attempt to domesticate wild bees in artificial hives made from hollow logs, wooden boxes, pottery vessels, and woven straw baskets or "skeps". Traces of beeswax are found in pot sherds throughout the Middle East beginning about 7000 BCE.

      Honeybees were kept in Egypt from antiquity. On the walls of the sun temple of Nyuserre Ini from the Fifth Dynasty, before 2422 BCE, workers are depicted blowing smoke into hives as they are removing honeycombs. Inscriptions detailing the production of honey are found on the tomb of Pabasa from the Twenty-sixth Dynasty (c. 650 BCE), depicting pouring honey in jars and cylindrical hives. Sealed pots of honey were found in the grave goods of pharaohs such as Tutankhamun.


      Stele showing Shamash-resh-ușur praying to the gods Adad and Ishtar with an inscription in Babylonian cuneiform.

      I am Shamash-resh-ușur , the governor of Suhu and the land of Mari. Bees that collect honey, which none of my ancestors had ever seen or brought into the land of Suhu, I brought down from the mountain of the men of Habha, and made them settle in the orchards of the town 'Gabbari-built-it'. They collect honey and wax, and I know how to melt the honey and wax – and the gardeners know too. Whoever comes in the future, may he ask the old men of the town, (who will say) thus: "They are the buildings of Shamash-resh-ușur, the governor of Suhu, who introduced honey bees into the land of Suhu."

      — translated text from stele, (Dalley, 2002)
      Period Work activity
      Days 1-3 Cleaning cells and incubation
      Day 3-6 Feeding older larvae
      Day 6-10 Feeding younger larvae
      Day 8-16 Receiving nectar and pollen from field bees
      Day 12-18 Beeswax making and cell building
      Day 14 onwards Entrance guards; nectar, pollen, water and

      propolis foraging; robbing other hives

      Stage of development Queen Worker Drone
      Egg 3 days 3 days 3 days
      Larva 8 days 10 days 13 days :Successive moults occur within this period 8 to 13 day period
      Cell Capped day 8 day 8 day 10
      Pupa 4 days 8 days 8 days
      Total 15 days 21 days 24 days
      World honey production and consumption in 2005
      Country Production
      (1000 metric tons)
      Consumption
      (1000 metric tons)
      Number
      of beekeepers
      Number
      of bee hives
      Europe and Russia
      Ukraine Ukraine 71.46 52
      Russia Russia 52.13 54
      Spain Spain 37.00 40
      Germany Germany (*2008) 21.23 89 90,000* 1,000,000*
      Hungary Hungary 19.71 4
      Romania Romania 19.20 10
      Greece Greece 16.27 16
      France France 15.45 30
      Bulgaria Bulgaria 11.22 2
      Serbia Serbia 3 to 5 6.3 30,000 430,000
      Denmark Denmark (*1996) 2.5 5 *4,000 *150,000
      North America
      United States United States (*2006, **2002) 70.306* 158.75* 12,029** (210,000 bee keepers) 2,400,000*
      Canada Canada 45 (2006); 28 (2007) 29 13,000 500,000
      Latin America
      Argentina Argentina 93.42 (Average 84) 3
      Mexico Mexico 50.63 31
      Brazil Brazil 33.75 2
      Uruguay Uruguay 11.87 1
      Oceania
      Australia Australia 18.46 16 12,000 520,000
      New Zealand New Zealand 9.69 8 2602 313,399
      Asia
      China China 299.33 (average 245) 238 7,200,000
      Turkey Turkey 82.34 (average 70) 66 4,500,000
      Iran Iran 3,500,000
      India India 52.23 45 9,800,000
      South Korea South Korea 23.82 27
      Vietnam Vietnam 13.59 0
      Turkmenistan Turkmenistan 10.46 10
      Africa
      Ethiopia Ethiopia 41.23 40 4,400,000
      Tanzania Tanzania 28.68 28
      Angola Angola 23.77 23
      Kenya Kenya 22.00 21
      Egypt Egypt (*1997) 16* 200,000* 2,000,000*
      Central African Republic Central African Republic 14.23 14
      Morocco Morocco (*1997) 4.5* 27,000* 400,000*
      South Africa South Africa (*2008) ~2.5* ~1.5* ~1,790* ~92,000*
      Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

      • a queen bee, which is normally the only breeding female in the colony;
      • a large number of female worker bees, typically 30,000–50,000 in number;
      • a number of male drones, ranging from thousands in a strong hive in spring to very few during dearth or cold season.
      • Denmark: beekeeping.com (1996)
      • Arab countries: beekeeping.com (1997)
      • USA: University of Arkansas National Agricultural Law Center, Agricultural Marketing Resource Center
      • Serbia
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