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What is Apiculture? Its importance, Advantages and disadvantages

    What is Apiculture? Its importance, Advantages and disadvantages

12 Aug, 2022

The word apiculture sounds new to us, but it is very well used in the agricultural field. 

Apiculture is the practice of beekeeping or rearing bees for the production of honey as well as for wax.

Bees are mainly used for production as well as for the management of honey and wax. Bees’ secrets honey from the sugary secretions through the plants although honey is an important ingredient used in many dishes whereas beeswax too holds a greater significance in the commercial market.


What is Apiculture?

Apiculture or Beekeeping is an agro-based agricultural activity that is being undertaken or performed by the farmers to ‘rear or manage the bees’ to produce honey and beeswax.

Although honeybees are most well-known for the honey they produce, they also play an important economic role in nature by pollinating countless numbers of flowering plants to ensure the development of seeds or fruit. Through ensuring the pollination of cross-pollinated crops, as well as through providing honey and a variety of beehive products, honeybees have been providing services to society. A stable ecology depends on honeybees to maintain the biodiversity of plants.


Different species of Bees

There are different categories or species of bees which are present these are as follows,

1. Rock bee – Apis Dorsata – Apis dorsata is also commonly known as the rock bee which is a giant bee and as it has a huge size it produces around 40 to 42 kgs of honey per colony.


2. European Bee – Apis Mellifera – Apis mellifera was commonly known by the name of European Bee it is a little bee which stingless. This bee is not easily available in the local environment, and it produces higher amounts of honey therefore it is often reared by the beekeepers.


3. Indian Bee – Apis Cerana Indica - It is additionally known as the Indian bee. It is frequently used to produce honey and is simple to domesticate. Each colony produces 2 to 5 kilograms of honey annually.


4. Little bee – Apis Florea - The little bee is another name for it. Since it rarely stings, getting honey out of its hive is simple. Each colony makes roughly 1 kg of honey a year.


Different types of Bees for Apiculture

1. Worker’s bees - are the female members who are incapable of procreation. They are recognized as the colony's most active inhabitants. Age affects how worker bees perform their jobs; they can live for three to twelve months. They carry out inside tasks like scavenging, acting as nurse bees, etc. for the first half of their lives. As scout bees and forager bees, they carry out outdoor tasks in the second half of their lives.


2. Queen bees - She is referred to as the colony's mother, and she is the center of activity inside the hive. She can live for two to five years and produces about 2000 eggs. These eggs may or may not be fertilized. Unfertilized eggs develop into drones, while fertilized eggs develop into both the queen and worker bees.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Apiculture

1. Plant pollination

Bees move pollen from plant to plant as they gather nectar to bring to their colonies, aiding in the pollination of flowers, vegetables, and fruits in the garden. Honeybees' fuzzy bodies attract pollen, which they then smear on the flowers they visit for nectar. The pollen exchange promotes plant reproduction and the development of fruit and seeds. Fruit and seed harvests will be minimal if feral bees aren't there to pollinate flowers and crops.


2. They help in getting useful by-products

Raw honey is always in demand, and wax and propolis are valuable by-products of bee production. Making candles, waxing wooden furniture, shining concrete worktops, protecting bronze and copper, and waterproofing leather are among things that can be done using beeswax. Furniture wax and vehicle wax are frequently created from propolis, a resin-like material bees produce from tree sap. Propolis, raw honey, pollen, beeswax, and raw honey can all be purchased as natural antibiotics and health supplements.


3. Beekeeping is for profit 

Up to 100 pounds of harvestable honey might be expected from a vigorous hive each year. A reduced yield, however, might be brought about by a variety of circumstances. Less honey may be produced because of temperature, weather, and illness.


Disadvantages of apiculture or Beekeeping

1. It stings awfully

The biggest drawback of honeybees is their painful stings, even though they are very advantageous to crops, health, and the production of essential natural goods for the body and home. It's a good thing that they only sting when they feel threatened, as when they're defending their hive from intruders or when they get trampled on or squashed. Their barbed stingers frequently linger inside the skin, producing more venom and causing more pain since they are barbed.


2. Beekeeping is typically not a time-consuming activity. The honey and wax must be harvested twice a year, which takes time. Aside from that, bees are extremely independent as long as they have access to a variety of nectar sources.


3. If your bee’s contract one of the many diseases bees can contract, serious trouble could result. Some of those illnesses are incurable, therefore you must start over with a new hive.


Importance of Apiculture

1. It has been discovered that honey is highly helpful in treating a variety of human conditions connected to digestion, diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach or liver problems. 

2. Honey is regarded as a blood purifier, a remedy for sore throats, stomach and intestine ulcers, colds, coughs, and coughing up blood. 

3. Cosmetics, lotions, and ointments include bee wax. 

4. Taking royal jelly acts as an energizing tonic. 

5. An antibiotic-rich health supplement is called propolis. 

6. Rheumatism, arthritis, and other illnesses of the central nervous system are treated using bee venom. Because honeybee venom contains a protein combination, it can kill the AIDS virus.


How is apiculture practiced or done?

1. Purchase your bees

Order your bees before your start anything. As by the time spring has fully arrived, most sites do not have been for sale. You should order your bees in January for delivery or pick-up in April or May. 

Asking about bees can be done at local beekeeping associations. Additionally, you must choose whether package bees, nucs, swarm catching, or purchasing an established hive are the best options for you. Everyone has benefits and drawbacks.


2. Select your hive

There are two ways used for keeping bees one is a hive system and the other is a Langstroth hive. Supplies must be purchased upfront to keep bees. You'll need to buy a hive once you've chosen the type, but you'll also need some beekeeping equipment, safety gear, and food supplies. Additionally, you can brush up on your knowledge of bees by reading several books on starting beekeeping.


3. Take care of the bees

Bees require constant attention on a month-to-month and seasonal basis. However, they don't take up a lot of time. Although you must occasionally check on them, the majority of what you'll do to keep your bees happy will be observed.


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