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Mysteries of Beekeeping

Katie Baker, Writer

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In the distant past, depictions of humans collecting honey from wild bees date back to 10,000 years ago, and on pottery vessels, it began about 9,000 years ago in North Africa. Bee domestication appears in Egyptian art around 4,500 years ago. Apiculture, better known as beekeeping, maintains honey bee colonies, which functions as a skillful and precise art that one must master to keep bees properly.

Ancient people used simple hives and smoke, stored honey in jars, and some appeared in the tombs of Pharaohs such as Tutankhamun. Not until the 18th century did Europeans understand bee biology which allowed constructing the movable comb hive so that a beekeeper could harvest honey without destroying the entire colony.

A beekeeper keeps bees to collect their honey and other products that the hive produces, including beeswax, propolis, pollen, and royal jelly, to pollinate crops, and to produce bees for sale to other beekeepers. Unlike in wild nature, they keep them in an apiary or “bee yard”. These colonies commonly live in man-made hives producing honey products for consumption..

Beekeepers usually wear protective clothing, such as long sleeves, long pants, a ‘hat and veil’ or simply a veil, but an all-in-one garment with integrated veil people refer to as a bee suit. This protective clothing helps avoid potential bee stings, a regular event when handling the hive.

Beekeeping sustains importance because bees vitally function in the earth’s ecosystem, pollinating flowers and plants.  Bees provide food for animals and humans, representing a major food source for animals, such as insects, amphibians, birds, and some mammals.

Many apiarists move their bees to create a better pollination system, benefiting the bees, flowers, plants, and ultimately humans. Relocating bees to different locations opportune them to extract good nectar and pollinate crops, creating an even more healthy ecosystem.

Beekeepers function as an important part of the ecosystem benefiting all of society, so always appreciate their work!

 

 

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The School Bulletin of New Caney High School
Mysteries of Beekeeping