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Beekeeping or apiculture is the maintenance of honey bee colonies, commonly in hives, by humans. A beekeeper keeps bees in order to collect honey and beeswax, to pollinate crops, or to produce bees for sale to other beekeepers. A location where bees are kept is called an apiary or “bee yard”.OVERVIEWAt some point humans began to domesticate wild bees in artificial hives made from hollow logs, wooden boxes, pottery vessels, and woven straw baskets or “skeps”.Beekeeping, or apiculture, is concerned with the practical management of the social species of honey bees, which live in large colonies of up to 100,000 individuals.Collecting honey from wild bee colonies is one of the most ancient human activities and is still practiced by aboriginal societies in parts of Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America. Some of the earliest evidence of gathering honey from wild colonies is from rock paintings, dating to around 13,000 BCE. Gathering honey from wild bee colonies is usually done by subduing the bees with smoke and breaking open the tree or rocks where the colony is located, often resulting in the physical destruction of the nest location.Castes of Bees•Workers - Reproductively underdeveloped females that do all the work of the colony.•Queen – A fully fertile female specialized for producing eggs. When a queen dies or is lost, workers select a few young worker larvae and feed them a special food called “royal jelly.” These special larvae develop into queens.•Drones – Male bees.PRODUCTS FROM HONEY BEEHoney from honey bee is the major product.Other hive products are pollen, royal jelly and propolis, which are also used for nutritional and medicinal purposes, and wax which is used in candlemaking, cosmetics, wood polish and for modeling.Propolis is a wax-like resinous substance.Royal jelly is a type of bee secretion that aids in the development of immature or young bees.THE ENTERPRISESThe enterprise is based on the conversion of nectar of flowers into honey by the honeybees. The worker honeybee collect the nectar from the flowers over a period of time and convert it into edible honey. The honeybees store the final product in the combs of the hive. The conversion of nectar into honey by the honeybees is by a biological process. The harvesting of honey from the forest has been in practice since long and huge profits from this enterprise promoted rearing bees in the farms. In the recent past this practise has been adopted gradually by rural communities while diversifying their agricultural practises.MARKET POTENTIALThe products of be keeping are honey and wax. These are the sources of income from local market and can be marketed from the local haat to a big market. Honey has been used extensively by the pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies as an ingredient of medicines and cosmetic. Most of the medicines of ayurveda are honey based. Honey is also used as an astringent. Even at an household level ,honey is consumed daily due to its medicinal properties as has been recommended in the traditional medicinal system. It is also considered beneficial for diabetic patients. Wax is another product from this enterprise which has a flourishing rural market due to its different uses.Production of honey from farmlands can be a secondary activity for farmers as it requires less time as compared with other activities and can be carried out by women and children in a house.Beekeeping Income SourcesYet Pakistan is not able to export honey and its product on large scale because it is not self sufficient in this field.Depending on the part of the country and other environmental factors, a typical colony of bees can produce 80 to 120 pounds of surplus (harvestable) honey and 10 to 18 pounds of pollen in an average year. Besides selling honey and other bee products — such as beeswax, pollen, royal jelly, propolis, bee venom, or queens — beekeepers can also provide pollination services (hive rentals) to farmers and orchardists.On a more modest scale, keeping just a few hives can generate some income, especially with creative retailing of honey, honeycomb, wax, and pollen. In addition, a bee colony can provide valuable pollination on the producer’s own farm.Small-scale beekeepers often ask how they should determine a price for their honey. Prices around the country vary. However, these reports reflect the price of honey that is being produced by large-scale beekeepers and do not indicate what small beekeepers should charge for their honey. The best sources of local price information will probably be other local beekeepers. And some consumers are willing to pay more for value-added products — such as flavored honeys, honey wine, honey beer (mead), and packaged honey gifts — than for plain honey.Following preparations are required for starting beekeeping•Hive:it is the first important part for apiculture.it is the house of bee. •Smoker : It is the second important piece of equipment. This can be made from a small tin .We use the smoker to protect ourselves from bee stings and to control the bees.•Cloth: to protect our eyes and nose from stings at the time of work near the apiary.•Knife: It is used to loosen the top bars and to cut of the honey bars.•Feather:To sweep the bees from the comb.•Queen Excluder:•Match box:HONEYBEE RESEARCH INSTITUTE (PARC)Honeybee Research Institute (HBRI) has practically promoted beekeeping with Apis mellifera in the country. Several attempts were made for introduction of A. mellifera by various scientists from 1927 to 1976 but without any success. However, after 16 unsuccessful attempts, PARC took this challenging job and during 1977 imported some honeybee A. mellifera colonies as package bees from Australia. Out of these some were multiplied at research stations and few were given to progressive beekeepers associated with indigenous honeybee at that time. In this way PARC was succeeded in introducing this species and traditional beekeeping switched to beekeeping A. mellifera in Langstroth modern beehives and most of the beekeepers are now getting optimum results.HBRI has practically promoted beekeeping with Apis mellifera in terms of colony management, queen breeding, honey extraction techniques, reduction in post-harvest losses, nutrition, pests and diseases and pollination of entomophilous crops, improving skills of beekeepers, wax recycling for wax foundation sheets through training to agricultural extension staff, beekeepers, universities, research institutes and technical training institutes. At present scenario, there are 350,000 colonies of this species and honey production increased tremendously. However, carrying capacity of floral source has potential of 10 times. This is the success story of PARC for the establishment of this species in the country.
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