Honey Bee farming
Beekeeping or honey bee farming is a very old tradition followed in our country for the purpose of collecting honey. This business is getting popular every day because of its demand in national and international markets. Honey bee farming is not just helping farmers to earn a good amount of money but also helping agriculture productivity through pollination. Apart from honey, honeybees also produce bee wax and royal jelly which gives farmers additional benefits.
When farmers have a loss in agricultural production, they start inclining towards honey bee farming. It provides them a fair chance of maximizing agricultural production. Farmers who plan to do honey bee farming on a professional basis should consider taking apiculture training.
Classification of Honey Bee
Queen: The queen is the fertile female of the bee colony. The main job of the queen is to lay eggs for her hive. A queen can lay 1,000 to 1,500 eggs per day, depending on food availability.
Drone: Drone bees are the males of the hive and are responsible for mating with the queen. After mating with the queen, the drone bee dies. Drone bees are generally heavy or bulky compared to queen or worker bees.
Worker: Worker bees are found in most numbers and are active members of the hive. Under normal conditions, they cannot produce eggs. The success of the bee farm depends on the number of worker bees.
Different Species of Honey Bee:
There are a lot of species of honey bee but only 5 of them are important ones. And those 5 species are:
- The Indian hive bee
- The rock bee
- The little bee
- The European or Italian bee
- Dammer bee or stingless bee
Types of Beehives:
- Skep – A long time back, there was something used by beekeepers called skep to house bees. This method is no longer used as it was difficult to remove honey from the barn. Also, this particular type of hive is difficult to clean and can become quite unsanitary. Skeps can be a decorative addition to a collection of vintage farm implements even at the present time.
- Top bar – The top bar of the hive is similar to a feeder. Bees make their own honeycomb by pulling it down the wooden bar at the top of the hive.
- Langstroth – The Langstroth hive is a common sight in many parts of the country. The Langstroth consists of stacked wooden boxes, the so-called supers. They sit on a base, the foundation board, and are provided with a lid or lid. Inside, the bees form their combs and fill the cells with honey on waxed frames that hang vertically inside the Super. Langstroth is the hive of our choice.
- Warre – The Warre has been likened to a cross between a hollowed-out tree and a top-joist cane. The Warre Hives are smaller than the Top Bar and Langstroth versions. In fact, I think one day I’d love to try one of Warre’s hives.
No matter what type of hive you start with, use concrete blocks, a table, or stacked pallets to lift the hive off the ground.
How to get started with Honey bee farming?
A little training can go a long way, and you can get basic training from your local beekeeping agency or from government organizations like the National Bee Board of the Department of Agriculture and the Central Bee Research Training Institute, which train farmers in beekeeping. You can also gain practical experience working with farmers who are already working.
The best time to start a bee farm is in the summer, as the flower blooms are there to get enough nectar and pollen. You should always get cologne from a trusted source.
Points to take care of while starting a bee farm in an urban or agricultural area
- Nectar and pollen-producing plants should be in abundance near the colony. A 3 to 8-kilometer radius should be a safe bet.
- A clean water source is essential. The bees use the water to dilute the honey and also to regulate the temperature of the hive.
- Keep out of areas high in pesticides or insects. Pesticides or insecticides should not be used near a hive.
- In summer, colonies should be kept in shady places that are protected from direct sunlight. In winter, the hives can be partially exposed to sunlight.
Things needed for a bee farm:
- Gloves made of soft leather or linen cloth are used to protect the hands from bee stings.
- Bee Veil is used to protecting the face and neck from stings.
- The hive tool is used to separate the hive frames within the hive.
- A container was provided for the bees to build a nest for themselves.
The other factor that had to be considered is the beekeeping methods. There are mainly two categories of beekeeping methods
- Traditional methods such as clay pots, wall hives, tree trunks.
- Modern methods with equipment such as Hive Frame, Super Chamber, Floorboard, Queen Excluder.
Now that you’ve decided which method to choose, it’s easy to get training from your local beekeepers, the government. As it is mentioned above, it is advisable to work together with farmers who already know how to do honey bee farming.
Honey bee enemies: pests and diseases
Mites such as V. Jacobson and Tropilaelaps clarae are the most serious pests for bees. Wax moths, wasps, and birds are other hazards to their hives.
Chalkboard is caused by fungi, bag-hatchlings, and diseases of American and European foulbrood. These are the most common diseases that affect bee colonies.
Profit and loan availability for the business:
Honey is the main product that the beekeeper can sell commercially to clients, companies, or individuals for profit. The demand for pure and raw honey is increasing in the country. If you have some contacts and resources, you can bottle the honey and sell it under your brand, or sell this bottled organic honey to grocery stores, restaurants, and other food businesses yourself. As you may already know, the demand and cost of organic products continue to grow. Other products that can help you make more profit are royal jelly, bee venom, beeswax, and pollen.
If you don’t have enough capital to start your business, then the government is in charge. They provide assistance through loans through nationalized banks. You can easily get loans for 2 to 5 lakhs as this industry falls under the SSI category.