What is a Beekeeper?

A Beekeeper is a specialized type of Farmer. Also known as: Apiculturist, Apiarist, Honey Farmer.

A beekeeper is someone who keeps honey bees in boxes or hives. Bees produce honey, pollen, royal jelly and beeswax. A beekeeper will also provide services to vegetable and fruit farmers for pollination purposes and raise queen bees to sell to other farmers.

If you love the outdoors, nature and animals, and are curious about how creatures contribute to our environment, then you'll probably be very intrigued by honey bees. If you like the idea of harvesting your own honey, and farming on a small scale, then chances are you'll enjoy being a beekeeper.

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What does a Beekeeper do?

A beekeeper is, in essence, a manager of bees. He or she maintains and monitors the hives, and once the honey is ready to be harvested, will remove and process it for human consumption. A beekeeper needs to maintain healthy bees, prepare colonies for production, inspect colonies for any sign of disease and replace the queen bee when necessary. Beekeepers also need to follow food safety guidelines when harvesting and processing the honey.

Springtime is when the beekeeper must get the bees ready for the coming honey-producing months, whether it's working with existing colonies, or with new bees that will be going into empty hives. It is during this period that the beekeeper will medicate the bees in order to ensure that they are free of parasites and that the queen is healthy and capable of producing eggs.

It is the beekeeper's responsibility to remove the honey as it becomes ready during the summer months, and to add additional boxes that contain combs if the bees need more space to produce. It's important for honey production that the bees have enough space within their hives, in order for them to function at an optimum level. Therefore, as the honey production accelerates, the beekeeper must be aware of when to provide them with more space.

When harvesting honey, a beekeeper needs to wear a protective suit, gloves and veil, to prevent from getting stung. A smoker (a device that releases light puffs of smoke) is sometimes used to calm bees that are agitated. After the combs have been removed from the hive, the wax coverings on the combs are removed and the honey is extracted. The beekeeper can do this by hand or with the help of a mechanical extractor. The honey is then purified by straining it and skimming any impurities away. The honey is then ready to be jarred and sold.

What is the workplace of a Beekeeper like?

A beekeeper tends to travel quite a bit, examining honey and pollen flora and moving beehives by truck from site to site as plants start flowering. Much of their time is spent out-of-doors and away from home. When the honey is harvested, a beekeeper will have a space indoors where he or she will extract, purify and bottle the honey.

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Further Reading

  • A Day In The Life Of A Beekeeper - As Told By Ray Sciberras

    It is about 11 o’clock in the morning when I go to my hives. This is a calmer time of day since most of the bees are out foraging, which means there are less bees to deal with and those are all occupied guarding their hive and feeding the young...

  • A Day In The Life Of A Beekeeper With Bryer Apiary

    Monday through Thursday, you can find Jeff Bryer dishing psychology advice, but on weekends you’ll most likely find him surrounded by thousands of bees. Jeff has been a “hobby” beekeeper for 12 years and has over 30 beehives in five locations throughout Chester County.

  • Beekeeper

    Beekeepers, also known as apiarists, manage and maintain colonies of honey bees that produce honey and provide pollination services. Income for a beekeeper can vary widely based on experience, education, and type of employment (i.e., hobbyist or commercial production).

  • Understanding The Role Of The Queen Bee In A Hive

    The queen bee is the heart and soul of the honey bee colony. She is the reason for nearly everything the rest of the colony does. The queen is the only bee without which the rest of the colony cannot survive. A good quality queen means a strong and productive hive.

  • How Bees Work

    Over hundreds of years, people have developed many types of manmade hives that provide shelter and living space for bees while making it easier to harvest honey.

  • Getting Started In Bees

    Like any hobby, some consideration in what will be required is a must. How much time is involved? Am I able to keep bees? How much will it cost? How do I go about getting started?

  • Basic Beekeeping Operations

    Bees can be kept almost anywhere; they do not have to be in a "perfect" spot. Choosing the best possible location, however, increases the chances for a strong, productive colony.

  • What Does A Beekeeper Do?

    A beekeeper manages colonies of bees in order to harvest their honey. His job includes caring for the bees and maintaining and monitoring their hives to promote optimal honey production.

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