Bee keeping is the work of maintaining honeybee hives. Besides producing honey, honeybees also pollinate crops. Sometimes during the year farmers will even rent hives from beekeepers to allow the bees to pollinate their fields. The following are common terms associated with beekeeping.
Apiary – From the Latin word “apis”, which means bee, an apiary is the place where bees are kept. Likewise, the keeping of bees is sometimes termed “apiculture”. These can be in rural areas, but more recently the hobby of beekeeping has also expanded into urban areas.
Colony – A group of bees who live in a hive. They are controlled by the queen, who is the only breeding female. A queen can lay up to 2000 eggs a day and most of those eggs will hatch into infertile female worker bees. Finally, a colony is not complete without the male drone bees, who are larger than the workers and exist to mate with the queen.
Bumblebees – These are larger than honeybees, but they do not produce any honey. If bumblebees are kept by beekeepers it is only for their usefulness as pollinators, as they can pollinate several plant species that others cannot.
Africanized bees – Known also as “killer bees”, these bees are a hybrids of the African honey bee with European honeybees. They are called killer bees because they are more aggressive than other honeybees. In Central America Africanized bees are kept domestically by beekeepers due to their increased productivity of honey, despite their aggressiveness and tendency to swarm.
Swarm – In bees, this occurs when the queen leaves the hive with a number of worker bees in order to found a new colony and nest. Swarming usually occurs during the spring.
Beekeepers are professionals that keep and manage bee hives and honey combs. This is something known as apiculture, and it plays a vital role in the production and sale of honey. As you may be aware, each hive has only one queen, and it is essentially the most important part of the beekeeping process. The rest of the bee population consists of male worker bees. Professional beekeepers are found all over the world, and generally utilize diverse apiary equipment and supplies in order to extract substances like honey, pollen, and royal jelly.
Expert apiarists who specialize in this field may do so in a controlled area or in a backyard setting. He or she must help maintain the natural insect colonies so that honey combs and wax are produced. Apiculture requires the use of special gloves, smoker devices, hooded suits and other equipment in order to prevent bee stings. While some apiarists work with bumble bees, which are the larger, fuzzy bees, others deal with mason bees. Mason bees are boring insects that create nests in wood. Regardless of which insects these professionals handle daily, hats with veils are often utilized for protection, and sometimes bee pheromones are used to attract the insects.
Beekeepers can produce mass quantities of honey, or simply have a few hives and sell their products in a local farmer's market or grocery store.