Bee farming is a very lucrative business and also in return demand lots of attention.
The business can be started by anyone both educated or not and located anywhere.
The business is literally protected, the bees will guide their honey comb with their lives.
Though bee farming has many good side there are also risks.
The farm require special skill for harvesting the honey, stings from bees hurt as though you were pierced with a needle.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
The following questions have been asked about beekeeping.
Many people who developed interest in this business abandoned it due to the wrong answers or the fear encountered as a result of the answers.
How much do I need to start Bee farming?
Bee farming is a very lucrative business, lots of gains are expected.
The business can be started with less than One hundred and fifty thousand naira.
There is no fear of additional expenses in the future.
The business only need the initial capital and maybe maintenance charges which is optional though.
How many hours should I deposit into beekeeping on daily basics?
Unlike other animal or insect related business, bee farming doesn’t require day-to-day check and also you won’t bother about what they’d like to eat, where to buy them feed.
The only time you deposited into the business is the harvest and processing period.
How can I make money form bee farming?
Honey is not the product gotten from bees, wax (used for making candles, furniture polish and crayons), propils (used for repairing damaged honey combs), royal jelly (foods for queen bees), pollen (used in cosmetic, medicine and food preparation and also hand pollination), venom (used for medicine preparation) and much more.
Selling the above product will surely fetch you money. The bees do most of the work and you most of the sales.
What are the requirements for setting up a bee farm?
The required equipment and inputs are not far fetched, they can be sourced around.
Like I earlier said, it requires a relatively small start up capital (money used to start a business) compared to other animal related businesses.
Moreover you won’t by the bees in the market (no additional cost).
The bees do not need your help to look after themselves all they need is a nearby source of food (nectar, pollen, water) and a place to live in (hive).
What other benefits are attached to bee farming other than making money?
Bees are agents of pollination, flowering plants and trees will also undergo pollination process as it is clear that fruits are not possible except pollination occurs.
Trees such as mango, cashew, orange, papaya, and others could be pollinated if located near the bee hive.
The farm can be sited on wastelands, it is not mandatory the land belongs to you.
Why should you Start Bee Farming?
Bee farming should be encouraged and practiced because of the following main reasons.
- The nutritional value of honey to human.
- Honey contains carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins.
- Honey keeps the mind alert and also keeps the body strong and fit.
- Provides raw materials for the production of medicines.
- Improves Farmers’ income and adds to the country’s GDP.
- Honeys are used to produce cosmetics.
- Bees pollinates flowering plants located in the farm thereby increasing farm yield.
What is the total cost of seting up a bee farm?
The total cost of establishing a bee farm in the country (Nigeria) is determined by you.
The equipment and tools that are required to setup a bee farm include.
- The Bee Hives.
- Tables and Chairs.
- Honey extractor and separator. This it recommended for large scale farms. For smaller bee farms a seive can aswell do the job.
- Site to process harvested honey.
Consider adding the following equipments.
- Protective Gears (Clothing)
- Smoker ( Locally made or you can fabricate yours).
- Trays and others, hive tools.
The answers above is expected to clear you of all doubt.
Starting a Bee Farm.
There are three major ways to set up your own bee colony.
They are as follows;
- Acquire a colony from a hive.
- Obtain a swarm.
- Get a nucleus.
Judging from the three, which do you think is easy? Yes, to acquire a colony from a hive. This will cost you a token amount of money.
Acquiring a colony from a hive.
Judging from the phrase, it means starting a new colony from an existing one.
This is easier and faster than the remaining steps.
All you need to do is approach a beekeeper, tell him want you want, bargain with him for the bees, pay and collect your bees.
The bees are then taken to your already setup hive, farming begins.
Starting a nucleus.
This method involves establishing a new colony out of nothing, thus you’ll have to begin a colony from the very scratch.
This can be done by capturing the queen bee, drone and worker bee from a hive. (make sure you are properly guarded).
Feed them, sugarcane and water for the moment.
Later, make provision of enough hives piped with bee wax and place them in environments and locations favourable to bees.
This will attract the bees and cause them enter the hives.
Bees lives in wild colonies and are not tamed by any one.
The only way to get them is to bait them – by rubbing bee wax onhives or boxes and scatter them into the locations favourable to bees.
The location for setting up a bee hive should be temperate, filled with flowering plants and water.
Bees Seasonal Cycle
Beekeeping like all other animal related businesses has seasons easily tracked in temperate regions than the tropical regions.
The colony cycle is one for each year in a temperate region while in sub tropical regions, it varies as more than one colony cycle can occur within a yearly cycle.
The colony circle is made up of the buildup, honey flow and dearth.
Ensure that each season cycle is managed well.
Each part is left with a unique duty assigned to maintain the hives to ensure the best is gotten out of the bees.
What is a Hive?
Bee hives are built boxes used for keeping bees.
These boxes can be made from the combination of different materials, and the beehives makes it easier for the bees to build their nest and as well mange their nest easily.
The hive also enables easy transportation of the bees since their home (nest) is attached to the hives.
Bees want a place as large as it could be for the whole colony to offer as a store and place of refuge (protection) to shield them from harmful weather and intruders.
If your hive can serve the purpose, be rest assured, you have a colony of bees.
Categories of hive.
Bee hives can be categorized into three, namely.
- The fixed comb hive,
- Moveable hive.
- Moveable frame hive.
Recommendations for setting a hive.
- Place your hive close to water sources and also in a shady environment to protect them from sun.
- Paint your hives with the colors that reflect other than absorb lights. This will help the hive maintain a cool temperature. colours like white and orange should be considered.
- Incase natural shades are lacking in the location where your hives are placed, erect artificial shades this will also protect them from hot temperature if placed well.
- Make sure you put the hives near source of water and in shades of green leafy trees to prevent hot temperature.
Location of a bee hive.
The location of a bee hive should not be the major concern.
The following factors will guide you select a good location for your hives.
- Availability of food.
- Availability of water.
- Ensure there is no pesticide applied on plants nearby.
- Ensure there weather is climate or favourable to the bees.
- Build man-made shades where the natural shades are lacking to protect the bees from hot temperature.
- The bee hives spould be located far from homes, schools, hospitals, churches, mosques or any human gatherings to avoid bee stings/attack.
- The hives should be secured from any form of theft.
- Make sure the hive is not licking in anyway to prevent water from entering.
- Begin your hive with about ten colonies and if the location is favourable increase when needed.
Harvesting the Honeycombs and Processing.
The honey should be allowed to mature before the harvest can begin. This should be about 10 – 12 months.
The honey harvest should be at the end of the flowering season, this is when you pick ripe honey from the extreme combs with an envelope of thin layer of white beeswax.
While harvesting the honeys, ensure you leave the combs containing pollen and/or developing bees.
After establishing your colony of bees, the harvest can be scheduled for 7-8 months interval, you’ll no longer need to wait for the earlier stated 10-12 months.
Crush and strain the honey combs to extract the honey, using any type of filter or process available for utilisation.
This will seperate the honey from the beeswax.
For Top Bar beehives expensive extractor is not needed as the above procedure is relatively cheap and for sure will save you money.
There is still “market” for the honey comb, just cut them into smaller pieces and sell to buyers (The profit won’t be as that of a finished process).
For frame bee hives, the honey can be obtained by spinning the frames in a “motorized circular extractor” or “hand crank extractor“.
After the seperation process is complete, begin to melt the beeswax over water into a block.
Gather and store enough for sale and/or consumption.
After the procedure return the empty combs to the hives.
The bees will need it to produce more honey.
Honeys need no preservative of any kind, they don’t usually spoil with time except strange substance was introduced or something went wrong.
The equipments and the method used in harvesting the honey depend on the size your farm (most especially), amount of the honey and the market.
Quality Certification and assurance.
The following dos and don’ts will be your guide to ensure quality from the start.
Always make quality your number one priority .
Dos / Don’ts in Bee farming.
- Don’t adulterate the quality of honey by feeding bees with substitutes such as sugar can.
- Do allow bees to source for nectar and pollen
- Don’t add any form of addictive to honey.
- Don’t add any flavor to your honey.
- Do not add any fragrance
- Don’t allow honey to ferment.
- Don’t allow the honey to foam, no matter what.
Species and duty of Bees.
As someone who is new to the business, you’ll want to know more about the bees you want to keep.
There are several species of bees that do not live in colonies.
The Apis Mellifera is the bee specie used in producing honey all over the world and they ofcourse live in colonies.
Melipona and Trigona are species found in the tropical regions.
The bee colony is comprised of the female bees (queen), male bees (drone) and the bee workers.
The Queen bees lay about 2,500 to 3,000 eggs daily during her first year of existence.
The drones are responsble for mating the queen.
The workers at left to feed the queen bee, protect the hive, guard the eggs, repair damaged combs, clean the comb and control the hive temperature.
Disease and Parasites in Bee farms.
Just like any other animal business, the bees also suffer from diseases and parasites.
If any disease is noticed in the hive earlier in the business.
Treat the infected hives seperatly or betterstill call a vet doctor he should know what to do.
Join Association of Beekeepers.
As a novice in the bee farming business, becoming a part of an association will be of great help to you.
It will increase your product marketability and also give you a better chance of getting good price.
Also you can receive regular training and tutorials, and have access to government loan facilities.
Who and Where to Sell Your Honey
The association you joined will enlighten you more on the market.
The price, the demand (the amount people want to buy) and the supply (the amount you should sell given a particular price).
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