In today’s show I wanted to do a brief primer on beekeeping and the history of bees and beekeeping.
I don’t go really in depth about any particular aspect. I just wanted to get a show out detailing my experiences so far and what I’ve learned-which is very limited.
Bees have been around for a very long time and very unique in the insect world. As far back as 13,000 BC, mankind was raiding beehives for honey. As far back as ancient Egypt (and perhaps earlier, in China) mankind has been keeping bees.
Honeybees are native to Europe, Asia and Africa and are commonly known as Western Honey Bees. There are three types. The queen-one per hive, lays the eggs. She is fed royal jelly during the larval stage for an extended amount of time. Then there are the workers, all females and the only ones with stingers. These are fed royal jelly for a limited amount of time as larvae. Then there are the poor drones, the males. No stingers, no jobs, just bums. Sticking around the hive just long enough to eat the honey, mate with the queen and die!
There are also three main types of hives. Top Bar-the traditional hive (unless you count rope skeps!). The top bar is pretty sustainable but requires the comb to be cut out. They are also hard to get established or so it seems. The next is langstroth which is the commercial type. It is expandable and management intensive but heavy. It is the easiest to harvest. Then there is the Warre which has the advantage of being easy to build and expand but its the hardest to harvest.