Honey bee Keeping
Honey beeHoney bees (or honeybees) are a subset of bees in the genus Apis, primarily distinguished by the production and storage of honey and the construction of perennial, colonial nests out of wax. read more
Apis ceranaApis cerana, or the Asiatic honey bee (or the Eastern honey bee), is a species of honey bee found in southern and southeastern Asia, such as China, India, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Bangladesh and Papua New Guinea. read more
Apis melliferahe western honey bee or European honey bee (Apis mellifera) is a species of honey bee. The genus Apis is Latin for "bee", and mellifera comes from Latin melli- "honey" and ferre "to bear". hence the scientific name means "honey-bearing bee". read more
Beekeeping (or apiculture, from Latin apis, bee) is the maintenance of honey bee colonies, commonly in hives, by humans. A beekeeper (or apiarist) keeps bees in order to collect honey and other products of the hive (including beeswax, propolis, pollen, and royal jelly), 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". Depictions of humans collecting honey from wild bees date to 15,000 years ago, efforts to domesticate them are shown in Egyptian art around 4,500 years ago. Simple hives and smoke were used and honey was stored in jars, some of which were found in the tombs of pharaohs such as Tutankhamun. It wasn't until the 18th century that European understanding of the colonies and biology of bees allowed the construction of the moveable comb hive so that honey could be harvested without destroying the entire colony.
Life cylce of Apis mellifera
In the temperate zone, honey bees survive winter as a colony, and the queen begins egg laying in mid to late winter, to prepare for spring. This is most likely triggered by longer day length. She is the only fertile female, and deposits all the eggs from which the other bees are produced. Except for a brief mating period when she may make several flights to mate with drones, or if she leaves in later life with a swarm to establish a new colony, the queen rarely leaves the hive after the larvae have become full-grown bees. The queen deposits each egg in a cell prepared by the worker bees. The egg hatches into a small larva which is fed by 'nurse' bees (worker bees which maintain the interior of the colony). After about a week, the larva is sealed up in its cell by the nurse bees and begins the pupal stage. After another week, it will emerge an adult bee.
For the first 10 days of their lives, the female worker bees clean the hive and feed the larvae. After this, they begin building comb cells. On days 16 through 20, a worker receives nectar and pollen from older workers and stores it. After the 20th day, a worker leaves the hive and spends the remainder of its life as a forager. The population of a healthy hive in mid-summer can average between 40,000 and 80,000 bees.
The larvae and pupae in a frame of honeycomb are referred to as frames of brood and are often sold (with adhering bees) by beekeepers to other beekeepers to start new beehives.
Both workers and queens are fed "royal jelly" during the first three days of the larval stage. Then workers are switched to a diet of pollen and nectar or diluted honey, while those intended for queens will continue to receive royal jelly. This causes the larva to develop to the pupa stage more quickly, while being also larger and fully developed sexually. Queen breeders consider good nutrition during the larval stage to be of critical importance to the quality of the queens raised, with good genetics and sufficient number of matings also being factors. During the larval and pupal stages, various parasites can attack the pupa/larva and destroy or damage it.
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