TLDR: Beekeeping is the practice of taking care of bee colonies in man-made beehives. Beekeepers keep bees to collect honey and other products of the hive, such as beeswax, propolis, bee pollen, and royal jelly. They also help with pollination of crops and raise queens. Beekeeping has been around for thousands of years and has evolved over time with the development of movable comb hives and other equipment. It is a popular hobby and also used for commercial purposes.
Beekeeping, also known as apiculture, involves the maintenance of bee colonies in man-made beehives. The most commonly kept species of bees are honey bees, but other honey-producing bees like stingless bees are also kept. Beekeepers collect honey and other products of the hive, such as beeswax, propolis, bee pollen, and royal jelly. They also help with pollination of crops, raise queens, and produce package bees for sale.
The practice of beekeeping dates back thousands of years, with evidence of honey production in ancient civilizations like Egypt, Greece, and China. The invention of movable comb hives in the 19th century revolutionized beekeeping, allowing beekeepers to harvest honey without destroying the entire colony. Since then, various hive designs have been developed, including vertical stackable hives and horizontal top-bar hives.
Beekeepers wear protective clothing, such as gloves and veils, to protect themselves from bee stings. They use tools like smokers to calm the bees and hive tools to scrape off burr-comb and separate frames. Bee stings can cause pain, swelling, and itching, but some beekeepers believe that regular stings can decrease the reaction over time.
Beekeeping is not only a hobby but also an important industry for crop pollination and honey production. It has become more accessible with advancements in beekeeping technology, and urban beekeeping has become a growing trend. Beekeepers play a crucial role in supporting bee populations and ensuring the health of these important pollinators.