Last Updated on April 24, 2021 by cmoarz
Apiculture, What is it?
In this article, we will talk about what apiculture is and how it can be applied to your life. Apiculture is the practice of keeping honeybees for their product (honey) and for pollination services. The word “apiculture” comes from the Latin word “apis”, which means bee. Honeybees are considered one of our most important agricultural animals as they provide food products like honey, wax, pollen, and royal jelly while also helping with natural crop pollination. As such, it’s important that you know more about apiculture so that you can better understand these benefits!
The Phylum-Arthropoda, Class-Insecta, Order-Hymenoptera, and Superfamily Apoidea are the four groups of insects that make up Honey Bees.
The Family Apidae is divided into 11 subfamilies which include: Andreninae, Colletinae, Dasypodainae, Melipondainaeand, etc.
The Genus Apis includes all the species of Honey Bees, with A. mellifera being the most common and best-known variety in North America while A. cerana is found mostly in Asia and Europe.
Most common types of bees
- Apis Mellifera: The Italian honeybee has a unique dance routine to indicate food availability and its sting is less potent than the little bee. Although the animal is not native to this area, beekeepers often rear them because of their high honey production.
- Apis florea: Honey production by bees is referred to as apiculture. It produces about 1 kg of honey per colony per year and rarely stings humans thus honey extraction from its hive is easy.
- Apis indica: The Indian bee. They are easily domesticated and typically used for honey production. The average annual yield of honey per colony is 2 to 5 kgs.
- Apis dorsata: It’s also called the giant honeybee, and it produces around 38-40 kg of honey per colony. These hardworking bees really know how to produce!
Now that you’ve totally memorized bee genetic lines and species classifications (Just kidding!), What is apiculture? Like we said in the opening paragraph, Apiculture is the study of beekeeping. Apiculture is the practice and science devoted to breeding honeybees, native bees, mason bees, bumblebees, and other pollinators for their benefit in commercial agriculture and field crops as well as plant health.
It’s a mouthful, But short and concise, It’s beekeeping.
So what are the main things beekeepers (Apiarists) do exactly?
They breed honeybees, native bees and other pollinators to provide them in commercial agriculture. They research beekeeping methods, equipment and technology used for the breeding of honeybees and other species. They manage pests that might harm their colonies (meaning things like varroa mites). And they spread awareness about our need for these important insects.
Their main exports are honey, beeswax, and observational data. (It’s good to have many eyes on the bee population, their problems, and their progress).
Importance of apiculture
And of course, they keep the honeybees healthy so that we can have a steady supply of honey from them!
In fact, beekeepers are major contributors to our agricultural system by providing pollination services for crops like almonds, apples, blueberries and watermelons, among many more. Without these important insects, and people that take care of them, many plants would not be able to grow at all because they provide up to one-third of the world’s food on their own. They also make an enormous contribution in maintaining biodiversity with over 20% of global plant species relying on bee-pollinated blooms. And finally, without bees, you wouldn’t have any kind of chocolate or beer – two things that I don’t think anyone could live without!
A bee colony consists of three types: queen, workers (female) and drones (male). The queen mates with up to ten-twenty males during her lifetime while worker honeybees help build their nest by secreting wax from small glands on the underside of their abdomen. A worker will only live for about six weeks but can produce a couple of pounds of honey if they stay healthy throughout that period. Drones mate with queens outside the hive and die shortly after mating or when winter arrives whichever comes first.