Honey Bee Keeping

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  • Topic: Beekeeping, Honey bee, Honey
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  • Published : October 16, 2012
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Agrodok 32

Beekeeping in the tropics

P. Segeren

© Agromisa Foundation, Wageningen, 2004.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form, by print, photocopy, microfilm or any other means, without written permission from the publisher. First English edition: 1988

Third revised edition: 1991
Fourth English edition: 1996
Fifth English edition: 2004
Author: P. Segeren
Printed by: Digigrafi, Wageningen, the Netherlands
ISBN: 90-77073-57-4
NUGI: 835

Foreword
You can keep bees as an interesting hobby, or as a main or an extra source of income. This booklet mainly provides information on how to work with honey-bees that nest in cavities. In most of the world regions this will be the European bee Apis mellifera, but in large parts of (sub)tropical Asia the quite similar species A.cerana is mainly used. Although the composition of a honey-bee colony is basically the same all over the world, the management of bees must be adapted to the species and race, the climate and the vegetation.

If you want to start keeping bees it is recommended to work with an experienced beekeeper for at least one year. The finer skills of this occupation can only be learnt from experience.
You can obtain information from your Ministry of Agriculture or Forestry. In many cases this Ministry has a Department of Apiculture, which organises demonstrations and courses, offers assistance and sometimes also provides bee colonies.

If you want to improve beekeeping in your area, start with the existing local methods and try to improve these step by step instead of introducing an entirely new method. This booklet therefore stresses the importance of starting at the local level and to experience the profits beekeeping might offer. Low input techniques, implying the use of local bees, local knowledge and local material can be the basis of a successful development of beekeeping for individuals as well as large scale programmes.

The Authors

Foreword

3

Contents
1
1.1
1.2
1.3
1.4

The value of beekeeping
Honey
Wax
Pollen and Propolis
Pollination

6
6
6
7
8

2

Species and races of bees

9

3
3.1
3.2
3.3

Composition of the colony
The Queen
The workers
The drones

12
12
13
16

4
4.1
4.2
4.3
4.4
4.5
4.6

The daily life of a colony
The swarm
The development of the bee
The development of the colony
Swarming
Absconding from the hive
Replacement of the queen

17
17
17
18
19
21
22

5
5.1
5.2
5.3
5.4
5.5
5.6
5.7
5.8
5.9

The practice of beekeeping
Some basic characteristics of bees
Handling bees
Beehives
Fixed comb hives
Beehives with movable combs (top bar hives)
Hives with frames
Further requirements
Preparing the hive
Setting up the apiary

24
24
25
26
26
28
32
38
43
45

6

The first season

49

4

Beekeeping in the tropics

6.1
6.2
6.3
6.4
6.5

Hiving a swarm
Administration
Inspection
Feeding
Management during the growth of the colony

49
51
51
52
54

7
7.1
7.2
7.3
7.4

Preparing for the honey harvest
Thorough inspection
Enlarging a colony
Migratory beekeeping
Swarming

58
58
59
62
64

8
8.1
8.2
8.3

The honey harvest
Collecting honeycomb
Extracting the honey
Storing the honey

68
68
69
74

9
9.1
9.2

Processing the wax
Straining the wax
Solar wax extractor/uncapping tray

75
75
76

10

Collecting pollen

78

11 Diseases and pests
11.1 Diseases
11.2 Pests

79
79
82

Appendix 1: Sizes and dimensions

87

Appendix 2: Uses for beeswax

88

Further reading

89

Useful addresses

90

Contents

5

1

The value of beekeeping

1.1

Honey

Honey consists mostly (± 80%) of sugars that are readily absorbed by the body. It is therefore an extremely suitable food for children, sick people and those who perform heavy manual labour.
? it can be used as a sweetener for food and drink.
? it can be used to treat...
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