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Honeybee Farming


Honeybees follow a seasonal cycle. In temperate regions it is easier to understand the cycles, while in tropical regions it is quite difficult. The colony cycle can be subdivided into three periods: build-up, honey flow and dearth. In temperate regions, these periods are well defined, with only one for each period of the year, while in the tropics and sub-tropics periods are variable and more than one of each can occur in a yearly colony cycle.

Bees responds to the nectar and pollen flow. The nectar and pollen flow are defined by weather and seasons. If there is a good flow of both nectar and pollen then the colony will rise its brood (egg laying). As colonies grow in size, the ratio of brood to adult decreases as more adults go out for forage.

Good management is necessary to obtain a large adult population in accordance with nectar flow, resulting maximum honey production. In tropical and sub-tropical regions there is often one major flow of nectar followed by several lesser flows. This is a challenge and this usually occurs after the rainy season or may come after initial rains following a long dry period.

A healthy colony requires a queen that has a good capacity to lay eggs, availability of nectar and pollen, space in the hive and as wells as for honey storage, along with a good worker bee population to perform all the activities. Good management of these factors in terms of enhancing and improving them are important. Managing bees with low cost inputs is a privilege of small scale beekeepers and the most viable in terms of business. Using local materials for hives and tools is a way of keeping input costs down.

Labors are the most important part of good management. They needs to ensure that bees have good storage of honey and pollen for the dearth period. Moreover, they needs to manage space in the colony when it is needed. Extra space is needed in the nectar flow season while in the dearth period less space is required and hence unused comb needs to be removed. It is essential that management practices are done at the appropriate time.


Selection of right time to start a colony is very important. It should not be started too early because the bees will be unable to find food and keep them warm. If it is started too late then the bees will not have enough time to make honey for the winter and there will be less pollen and nectar. Hence, beekeeping should be started at appropriate time of spring. Beekeeping is not as complicated as most people think. It involves focusing on basic beekeeping methods. There is no need to engage in too much experimentation. Things such as honeybees, hives, smokers and protective gear are necessary for every beekeeper. They are the regarded as the fundamentals of honey-bee-farming. When starting out bee farming, Italian bees are best to start. They are readily available and are easier to handle.


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