Beekeeping (or apiculture) is the maintenance of honey bee colonies or hives. These social species of honey bees live in large colonies of up to 100,000 individuals. A beekeeper or apiarist keeps bees in order to collect honey and beeswax or 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". Apiculture means a scientific method of rearing insects that can produce honey and wax.
Most beekeepers use a "smoker" - a device designed to generate smoke from the incomplete combustion of various fuels. Smoke calms bees; it initiates a feeding response in anticipation of possible hive abandonment due to fire. Smoke also masks alarm pheromones released by guard bees or when bees are squashed in an inspection. The ensuing confusion creates an opportunity for the beekeeper to open the hive and work without triggering a defensive reaction. In addition, when a bee consumes honey the bee's abdomen distends, supposedly making it difficult to make the necessary flexes to sting, though this has not been tested scientifically.
Most beekeepers also wear some protective clothing. Novice beekeepers usually wear gloves and a hooded suit or hat and veil. Experienced beekeepers sometimes elect not to use gloves because they inhibit delicate manipulations. The face and neck are the most important areas to protect, so most beekeepers will at least wear a veil.
|Last Updated on Monday, 15 November 2010 11:21|