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(Gk. apis bee; culture to rear)

Apiculture Raising and caring (Management) of the bees for honey (mainly), beeswax and other minor products. The place where bees are raised and
Or Beekeeping bred is called apiary; Apiarist or beekeeper is the person who specializes in the occupation of beekeeping
Apiculture History Honey has been in use since prehistoric period as finds mention in religious literatures like Vedas, Puranas, Ramayan, Mahabharat and
Charak Samhita.
Foreign Travellers like Fahiyan and Whenson also discussed the use of Honey for medicines and food.
Ancient (13,000 B C) paintings on a rock in Spain depict collection of honey from the beehive.
Became a commercial preposition in 19th century due to scientific research
Lorenzo Lorraine Longstroth (1951; father of American apiculture) invented artificial (movable comb) beehive; this made rearing of
honeybees & extraction of honey scientific and commercial.
Flourishing industry in developed countries like Canada, USA, Germany and Australia
Importance of Beekeeping Provides valuable nutritive food the honey (primary)
Provides beeswax used in industry
Bees serve as an excellent pollinating agents to enhance agricultural yield (most important)
Qualities of Honey Bee Gentle temperament; prolific egg laying queen; less tendency to swarm; absence of absconding; ability to guard against enemies;
for Beekeeping industriousness; good honey gathering ability; ability to adopt to modern hives and methods of human management
Species of True Honey Bees
Apis dorsata Fabricius Wild Honey Bee; Largest in size; has single honey comb; yields maximum honey (50-80 kg per comb); but due to its ferocious & irritable
(the Rock or Giant Bee, Sarang, nature, migratory habit and specific beehive impossible to domesticate it; comb parallel in dark places like cavities of tree trunks, mud
Bombara) wall, earthen pots
Apis cerena indica Fabricius Size smaller than A. dorsata; very gentle in nature; workers are prolific; low honey production (6 8 kg per comb); it is the best bee for
(the Indian or Oriental Bee) apiculture in India; originally hill inhabitant but now has acclimatized to plains as well; account for 95 % of the apiary honey produced in
Apis florea Fabricius Size smaller than A. indica; not gregarious, forms single small sized comb in hedges and bushes; docile in nature, rarely stings; yield of
(the Little Bee) honey is poor- 200 900 g.
Apis mellifera Fabricius Produces less honey but is found to be the best species for commercial utilization because of - docile nature, easily improvable through
(the European Bee) breeding; its Italian variety is reared in Europe and America on artificial hives; 25-40 kg/colony; account for 5 % honey produced in India;
has gained popularity in J&K, Punjab, H.P., Haryana, U.P., Bihar, West Bengal.
Trigona iridipennis Prevalent in Kerela; efficient pollinator; Sting poorly developed; honey 300-400 g/year
(the Stingless Bee)
Bee Pasturage/ Bee Forage The plants in the neighbour hood of the bee colony which serve as a source of honey and pollen (raw material) for it; about 500 species of
(Flora for Apiculture) flowering plants; can be fruit trees, forest trees, ornamental plants and crop plants
Nectar Yielding Neem, Jamun,
Pollen Yielding Maize, Rose, Sorghum
Nectar & Pollen Yielding Plum, Cherry, Apple, Sheesham, Coconut, Guava, Mustard
Honey Flow Period The days in the year when good number of plants in the locality have nectar to be foraged by honeybees
Major Nectar yield copious from good number of plants of a particular species
Minor Amount of nectar available is small
Dearth Period The days of the year when there is no honey flow
Methods of Bee Keeping
Indigenous Method
Or Traditional Beekeeping Drawbacks:-

Modern Method
Appliances of Modern Beekeeping
Typical Movable Artificial Hive It consists of 2-3 wooden boxes placed one above the other; lower one rests on the wooden stand and is called Brood chamber while upper
chambers are called Honey chambers (supers), crown board at the top covered with roof
Queen Excluder A wire gauge (0.375 cm apart wires) between brood chamber and honey chamber to retain queen in the brood chamber; and allowing
workers to move freely to upper chambers
Honey Extractor A kind of centrifuge used for extracting honey from decapped artificial combs by rapid revolutions without damaging them. The honey is
thrown out of the cells on to the sides of the drum and collected at the bottom; from where honey is obtained through tap
Uncapping Knife Used for removing caps from the honey storing cells of combs of honey chambers

Smoker Meant for generating smoke to protect the hive handlers from bee sting & also to control the bees. Smoke makes bees lazy & prevents
them to take up honey to their full
Feather To sweep the bees from the comb.
Wax Sheet
Comb Foundation Roller
Queen Cage
Swarm Catching Equipment
Products of Honeybees
Honey Described as a processed nectar and is not a true product of bees ; It is a viscous, aromatic, sweet tasting transparent fluid produced by
Worker bees
Nectar is collected, modified chemically (in crop; sucrose is converted in to glucose, fructose & levulose), regurgitated, stored (in
honey cells of comb) and concentrated (by fanning done by fanner house workers) to form honey; color of honey depends on pasturage.
It takes 40,000 80,000 trips for the forage bees to build 450g of honey.
Used as a Food (nourishment value compared with milk, meat), Tonic (due to minerals & vitamins), Medicine (mildly laxative,
antiseptic, sedative, build up Hemoglobin protects against cough, cold, fever tiredness; blood purification; ulcers of tongue & gut);
other uses - preparation of bread, cake, biscuit, poison baits for fruit fly, bacterial culture media.
Composition of Honey
Sugars (up to 80 %; levulose 38.9 %, dextrose 21.28 %, maltose & other sugars 8.81 % )
Enzymes & pigments (2.21 %)
Ash (1 %)
Water (17.2 %)
Traces of vitamins, minerals & pollen.
Types of Honey Forest Honey It is got from hives of rock bee & is multi-floral, thin, contains large amount of pollen, bee juices & parts, & soil
Apiary Honey - It is collected from apiary hives, thick, has small amount of pollen, contains no bee juices & parts, no wax & soil
particles; 60 % comes from rubber plant forage
Bee Wax True product of bees; but considered byproduct of beekeeping; produced by wax glands located on underside of last 4 abdominal
segments (4-7) ; also obtained from old combs and cappings removed from honey cells; yellowish to grayish brown; complex mixture of
even carbon atom alcohol (C24 C34) & odd carbon atom alcohol (C23 C37); used in cosmetics, catholic candles, face creams, paints,
ointments, insulations, plastic work, polishes, carbon paper, microtomy (block making), comb foundation, pharmaceuticals
Propolis A sticky resin collected by field worker bees from plant buds for cementing crevices between the cells of the comb;
Propolis Balm A special kind of Propolis used for polishing the beehive chambers
Pollen A source of proteins; gathered by workers from their body surface after visiting flowers by pollen brushes and pollen baskets on their legs;
used for preparing royal jelly and pollen bread; there are special storage chambers for pollen.
Royal Jelly (Bee Milk) Highly nutritive nitrogen rich food containg pollen, honey and secretions from lateral pharyngeal glands of the nurse bees.; fed by nursing
bees to diploid larvae to develop in to queen, up to 2 days to diploid larvae to develop in to workers and first half of development of
haploid larvae to develop in to drones.; in nut shell all larvae receive royal jelly at least for 2 days and queen throughout life.
Bee Venom
Pollen/ Bee Bread Mixture of honey & pollen; serves as an excellent source of energy & proteins for developing larvae; after 2 days to diploid larvae to
develop into workers; and later half of development of haploid larvae to develop in to drones.
Enemies of Honey Bees - Organisms that harm bee colony.
Wax Moths (Gallereria mellonella, Achroia grisella)
Wasps (Vespa sp., Palarus sp.)
Black Ants (Camponotus compressus)
Wax Beetle (Platybolium sp)
Bee Eaters (Merops orientalis)
Kingcrow (Dicrarus macrocerus)
Bee Eaters (Merops sp)
Human, Bear
Diseases of Honey Bees
Nosema Disease Characterized by dysentery & paralysis; Caused by a sporozoan Nosema apis;lives in the lining of gut epithelium; transmitted by spore
contaminated food & water; severe during winters & springs
Acarine Disease Caused by a parasitic mite (Acarapis woodi)
Fungal Disease Caused by Mucor sp. & Aspergillus sp.
Scenario of Apiculture
Indian In India beekeeping has been forest based. However, bee farms were established on farms generally not so fertile area. It is taken up as a
part-time occupation. All India Khadi & Village industry Commission; central bee research station Poona is involved in the improvement
of apiculture in India
Establishment of Hives Apiary should be established in a well drained open area close to orchard or agricultural crops which provide nectar, polishes & water.
Protected from sunlight and cattles
Fix ant wells around hive
Keep away from street lights, busy roads, railway track
Establishing a Bee Colony Transfer a wild nest colony to hive or attract passing swarm by
- rubbing old brown comb piece to prepared hive
- capture queen & place it under the hive to attract workers
Feed the bees with sugar syrup to build the hive
Management of Colonies Inspect the beehive once a week during honey flow season preferably during morning hours
Observe regularly for presence of healthy queen/ brood development/ storage of honey & pollen/ queen cells/ bee strength/ growth of
Clean the colony regularly; start from top and go to bottom
Keep colony free from enemies
During Honey Flow Period
Keep colony in sufficient strength
Frames full of honey should be removed to sides of super chamber
During Dearth Period Frames 3/4th filled with honey be taken out for honey extraction
Feed all the colonies of the apiary at the same time with sugar syrup (1sugar:1 water) to avoid robbing
Destroy all the queens & drone cells
Harvesting of Honey Harvesting should be done after 2 major honey flow seasons
Smoke the part of beehive to be harvested
Honey combs are decapped by knife and fitted to frame of Honey extractor, and rotated at high speed to obtain honey
Processing of Honey Crude Honey Loading in Honey Tank Heating to 40-45C Coarse Filtering Medium Filtering Fine Filtering Heating
to 60-65 C Cooling to 40-45 C Moisture Reduction Collection for Bottling
Honey Production Annual production 10,000 tons (1990-91)