/Beekeeping

Beekeeping

Activities during the 3-Day Beekeeping Training in pictures.

WHAT IS BEEKEEPING

Beekeeping also known as Apiculture is the rearing of the insect bee.  The main reason for beekeeping is to produce honey.  Bee honey is a natural sweetener easily digestible by children and adults. It provides an incredible punch of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, proteins and amino acids.

Uses of Honey

Natural pure bee honey could be used for several curative purposes and it is highly recommended for those with various ailments such as:

  • asthma
  • boils
  • whitlows, burns,
  • cold/catarrh, severe coughs
  • gastric ulcer
  • hypertension, heart related diseases
  • Libido
  • Menstrual problems, etc.

Honey is a readily tradable commodity and can realize cash with ease.  It is becoming more marketable for its medicinal and cosmetic properties. Bee wax is a valuable by-product of honey production, used locally for making candles.  Propols or glue, a gum-like substance with medicinal value and anti-biotic properties is also a marketable commodity.

The greatest value of honey-glue lies in their capacity for plant pollination, thus, keeping bees can increase the fruit and seed production of many crops.

Bee pollen is increasingly being regarded as a product in its own right and may be harvested from hives with the aid of pollen traps.

Its greatest value could be as a protein-rich food or local consumption.

Royal jelly is a glandular secretion used by the bees to feed their larvae. The larvae of a queen bee is fed on royal jelly only. Royal jelly can be collected from queen cells in the hive via a specialized operation and the jelly must be cropped at all times. Royal jelly is used in manufacturing expensive beauty products and sold as a specialized food product.

 

 

Bee venom can be collected by making the bee sting a latex rubber sheet stretched over a wooden frame.

 

 

 

The new technologies in modern beekeeping have made many people self-sufficient.

The business can be combined with other farming activities such as fish farming, snail farming, etc.

People are encouraged to own apiaries and derive maximum benefit from the venture because it is inexpensive to establish and highly rewarding economically.

 

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS AND REQUIREMENT FOR APIARY/BEEKEEPING

TYPE OF VEGETATION

Any areas that support vegetation, including urban areas can support bees.

 

CLIMATE AND FORAGE

Plants yield most nectar when it is neither too hot nor too cold.

To obtain a good honey crop, it is essential that there are periods when there is extensive flowering within 1km of the beehive.

 

BEEHIVE

A beehive provides a suitable home for a colony of bees.

A well-designed hive will shelter the bees from adverse weather and pests and will allow the honey to be harvested with minimal disturbance to the bees.

Good hive design makes it easier to manage the bees and harvest the honey.

 

MANIPULATION OF BEES AND THEIR COLONY

Honeybees exist either naturally or introduced by humans.

Expertise and other resources are more readily available to offer ideal conditions for honey production.

 

AVAILABILITY OF BEEKEEPING EQUIPMENT

Top-bar hives:

The Kenyan top-bar hive is a long hive normally made of timber and designed to take 28 top bars. The most important part of a top-bar hive is the top bar itself. Top bars should be made from any reasonable quality wood that is well seasoned so that it does not warp. Hardwoods, if available, will last longer than softwoods.

 

 

 

Langstroth:

Langstroth beehive is the house built for easy manipulation and easy management of the bees and bee colonies. Langstroth hive is any vertically modular bee hive that accepts frames that are locally referred to as “Langstroth” frames.

 

Smokers

A smoker is a device that enables the beekeeper to puff smoke into and around a beehive to drive bees out during harvest. It is made from thin sheet metal formed into a firebox and attached to a pair of bellows.

The bellows pump air into a vent at the base of the firebox so that smoke is forced out of the funnel at the top of the smoker.

 

Hive tools

A hive tool is metal implement that is used to pry open a beehive and remove the lid and top bars.

Gloves

The best gloves are made from thin, soft smooth leather. Rubber gloves may be used but they are hot and uncomfortable and cause the hands to sweat.

Bee suit

All –in-one overall make the best bee suits.

Bee veil

This protects the face and can be made in several ways. Sewing mosquito mesh directly onto a stiff straw hat with a wide brim is effective.

 

Footwear

Long boots and gum boots can be used. Feet should be well protected by tucking the overalls in to the sturdy shoes. Others include honey buckets, filter, storage containers and packages.

 

                

 

 

 

GOOD MANAGEMENT

The following are hints on good management strategies of beekeeping:

  • Capital and operating costs are relatively low
  • Bees place no extra burden on the land
  • Bees improve production of many crops through pollination
  • Bees diversify the returns from mixed farm enterprise
  • The farmer is not dependent on a single crop
  • Bee products, properly prepared, will keep without depreciating for years, until consumed or sold
  • Good record keeping
  • Knowledge of life cycle of bees
  • Readiness to move bees from one place to another

 

INVESTMENT COSTS

Bee hives are materials used for housing the bees for honey production. In traditional method, bees used local pots, baskets, gourd and hollow parts of trees as their hives. Some of the modern hives in use today are langthroth hive and Kenyan top-bar hives.

A beehive costs between ₦10,000 – ₦20,000 depending on its size and height. The capital investment depends on the scale of production (small, medium and large scales). The materials are cheap and the technology can be easily practiced.

 

PROCESSING TECHNIQUE

Modern method of bee keeping involves the use of well-constructed hives (boxes) making use of frames and top bars which are removable to enhance multiplication of the bees within the colony and thereby ease the process of harvesting honey. It is good to locate apiary very near citrus and mango.

 

PROCESSING AND PACKAGING OF HONEY

Honey is easy to process. It does not require complicated machinery. Hands could be used to press the honey on a small scale while we can also engage the use of honey presser or extractor for the frames with combs.

The honey so processed would be neatly collected and sieve with fine sieve of tiny mesh. The honey could be packaged in bottles or plastic containers.

 

MARKETING/INCOME

Honey has long been one of man’s most highly desired food. It has value for its sweetening properties coupled with medicinal value makes it a better substitute to sugar. Honey has no side effects to health and the demand keeps increasing daily. A beehive can produce as much as 20 litres within three months.

If you have 10 beehives then you can produce about 200 litres of honey within few months.