Beekeeping business is very lucrative and moderately challenging. There are different species of honey bees based on genetic makers.
Farmers select those that have high growth and production rate. There are also sub species and hybrids domesticated for farming. To farm commercially you need landed property, hive and safety gear. The amount of startup capital depends on the cost of the land and equipment.
Types of Bees
There are different species of domesticated bees. We have the Africanized bee, German bee Apis mellifera mellifera and Apis mellifera caucasica the Caucasian bee. Other species are the buckfast bee, Apis mellifera carnica the carniolan bee, Russian bee and Italian honey bee.
The Italian bee has a gentle nature and produce huge quantity of products. Carniolan bees are docile, swarm regularly with fast production and growth rate.
Buckfast are resistant to certain pesticides, has an aggressive characteristic and forage regularly. The Africanized bees are the most aggressive strain of honey bees and swarm regularly.
Honey Bee Species
- German bee
- Caucasian bee
- Buckfast bee
- Carniolan bee
- Russian bee
- Italian honey bee
- Africanized bee
Honey Bee Characteristics
The characteristics of honey bees differ based on species. Some build up rapidly during spring and can withstand cold weathers.
They may display low aggression, docility or high aggression depending on the specie. Others are good pollinators, a prolific honey, wax, propolis producers. Basic colorations are black and yellow.
There are serious considerations before bee stocking. Stock the bees based on species, region and productivity.
The first is location, type of production, geographical area and temperature of environment. Others are swarming rate, production capacity, and equipment. The bees should be disease, environment resistant with low mortality rate.
Selecting the Bee
- Select a native specie
- High productivity
- Take into account your location
- Type of production
- understand the swarming rate
- Production capacity
- Best equipment
- purchase disease resistant bees
- Low mortality rate
Honey Bee Products
There are many products derived from honey bees. We have the royal jelly, bees wax, honey and propolis. Others include bee bread, honey products, mead and be pollen. Mead is used to make alcoholic drinks while bees wax is the material of the honeycomb.
Bees wax is common in cosmetic products, skin creams, polish, candle making. The bee bread is the food fed to the larvae of the insect and a mixture of honey, pollen, digestive enzymes and bees wax.
Medical applications include treatment of digestive tract disorder, reduce cholesterol. It contains enzymes, flavonoids and vitamins. The bee pollen is obtained from flowering plants and mixed with the digestive enzymes of the insect.
Propolis are sticky resins found on a tree bud. The resin mixed with saliva of the insect produces a glue-like substance. The substance has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, antibacterial and antiviral properties.
The queen is fed the royal jelly a blend of different secretions. The bees are marketable including the venom and larvae. The raw secretions or primary products require processing to become useful products
Products from Beekeeping
- Royal jelly
- Bees wax
- Bees bread
- honey products
- Sell the bees
Beekeeping Business Equipment
You need to buy the appropriate gear to protect against stings. You also need a good secluded location, hive and bees. Common equipment are a starter kit, gloves, bee brush.
Others are jacket with hat veil, hive tools and smoker. The hive tool is ideal for scraping, removing propolis, detach comb. The gloves, jacket with veil protects the handler’s body. While the smoker makes the bees docile and easy to manage.
- Starter kit
- Bee brush
- Jacket with hat veil
- hive tools
- Lemongrass oil
- swarm bag
- Protective hat and veil
- pruning shears
- Ventilated box
Build an Artificial Hive
There are lots of instructional videos and tutorials to building a bee hive. You could purchase a ready made one of build one yourself. You need wood, glue, nails, saw and a hammer.
First build the base, the block then assemble a rack. Add a second block and rack before adding the roof. The hive needs a gate to control the movement of the bees.
How to Populate a Hive
Once your hive box is build you need to populate. Honey bees swarm in search of nectar, create new hive or for defense. They reproduce through swarming by leaving the hive with an old queen to scout for a new location.
A beekeeper looking to start a colony only needs to capture the swarm and introduce to the prepared location. Swarming bees are full of honey and are more docile than when protecting a hive.
Best time to locate a swarm is early summer and gather information from local beekeepers, associations and beekeeping websites. Once you locate a swarm determine the best approach to gathering the bees.
You can shake from low hanging branch, use pruning shears, spray with water, sugar solution or use a trap. Wear protective gear at all times and move the cluster into the box. Make sure the queen is present by observing the bee’s behavior.
Close the box and leave in same position till nightfall. Then transport them and install the swarm early next day. You might decide to use a mini-hive (nuc box) to catch the swarm instead of a box. This will afford the swarm catcher more time for the bees to acclimatize and easier transportation.
Swarm Catching Equipment
Basic swarm catching equipment are lemongrass oil, swarm bag, protective hat and veil. Others are pruning shears, bee brush, ventilated box and tarp.
Pure honey is in high demand and attracts premium price. You can sell to food and beverage companies. Another way is to bottle you product for export or local market.