Beekeeping in Ukraine

Ukraine is the largest country in Europe. Wide territory causes the variety of natural zones and, accordingly, – a rich assortment of honey species. In Ukraine are gathered: melilot, buckwheat, sainfoin, linden, clover, meadow, hop-clover, mint, grass meadow, sunflower, forest, valley, mountain and many other honeys. And the most precious – acacia honey – we get more than anyone else in the world!

Honey is not the only output of Ukrainian beekeeping.Products: royal jelly, pollen, propolis, beeswax,bee venom  are widely used in cosmetology, pharmacy, food industry and even in aviation and space technologies. In the Western Ukraine bee-breeding and queen selection are highly developed. From here the famous Carpathian bee is supplied not only to other regions of Ukraine, but also to Russia, Kazakhstan, Poland, Germany, Netherlands and many other countries.

Ukraine has beekeepers Association and the Association of apiterathersapist of Ukraine, the National Association of Beekeepers of Ukraine “Ukrbdzholoprom” fund of P.I.Prokopovych. Also is available Institute Library, which contains a number of rare books on the history of beekeeping, beekeeping technologies, processing of bee products. Ukraine has now published three magazines on beekeeping, “Ukrainian beekeeper”, “Apiary”, “Bee” and a number of regional newspapers and journals.

Ukrainian innovative techniques for apitherapy make provision for the new methods of treatment and prevention of various diseases by using biologically active bee-products and the energy of bees. For 35 years on basis of the Drugs Technology department of National Pharmaceutical University in Kharkiv under the direction of Academician Olexander Tykhonov the scientific school of bee-based standardized medicines has been operating. The Kharkiv scholars created more than 50 api-medicines, which are currently on different stages of introduction

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In order that your colony will survive the winter, therefore, you should ensure the


– Check that the colony has a laying queen, eggs and larvae and sealed brood. If there is no queen, unite the colony to a queenright colony, or call   for help. Your colony should have at least five deep frames of bees. I winter my hives on a brood and a half, with no queen excluder.

-Check the weight of the hive by lifting one side from the stand. The hive should feel as if it is nailed to the hive stand. A colony will need the equivalent of about 18kg of honey or sugar syrup to survive the winter. Any late honey stored in September is a bonus. Make a syrup with one electric kettle full of hot water to 3 x 1kg bags of sugar.

-Reduce the hive entrance and feed in the evening to prevent robbing. Aim to finish winter-feeding by early September. Feeding in early September stimulates the queen to continue laying for a while. If you delay feeding until October, the weather may be cold and the bees will not take the feed down.

-It has no diseases .

-It was treated in the autumn for varroa as part of your treatment plan.

-There are two brood boxes for the bees. Some authorities believe that winter losses

are reduced if three boxes are available for the winter.

Because the bees tend to cluster in the empty brood area, ensure these frames are

surrounded by frames of stores (both pollen and honey). These should be in the

bottom brood box. As the bees tend to move upwards during the winter, the upper

brood box should also have frames of stores, especially honey around the brood

frames. Any brood frames that still have brood can be placed up there.

The bees will begin to cluster as the temperature falls below 18°C (64°F). As the

temperature goes lower, more bees will cluster until, at around 13–14°C (55–57°F),

all the bees will be clustered. They cluster to ensure that the brood-nest temperature

remains at 34–35°C (93–95°F). If the temperature goes lower, they will tighten the

cluster; if it rises, the cluster will loosen. If the temperature drops dramatically, the bees

will cluster very tightly and will sometimes remain like this and not move. In this way

they can become divorced from their stores and will starve. It is a pitiful sight to open

up in the spring to find a cluster of dead bees just below the stores of honey.

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Beekeeping in Romania

Beekeeping has a long tradition in Romania, with roots dating back to the time of the ancient kingdom of Dacia. But the modern history of bee-keeping begins in 1900 when beekeepers’ organisations appeared; they formed small associations in Banat, Bukovina and Muntenia.”

Honey production has increased steadily since 2000 to double in 2010 (estimate) , with 24,700 tonnes were produced . The number of colonies grew similarly . Such developments are rare in the Romanian agriculture sector and reflects a healthy . This growth is even more interesting than the domestic consumption is 150g/habitant official , one of the lowest in Europe . The potential for export, but also the potential for growth in the domestic market continues to be so very important. Among the producers in Organic Farming , approximately 15% of beekeepers , giving beekeepers a pioneering role in organic farming . The honey produced in organic farming reached 3200 tons of which 65 % are exported.

A very large proportion of Romanian beekeepers are members of an association of producers and members of the association of beekeepers (the association claims more than 20,000 members of which about three quarters sell their products through commercial channels belonging to the association.) This output comes from the nearly 1 million bee hives registered in Romania at present. Nevertheless, it would be very difficult to rival the production figures before the 1989 revolution, when Romania was home to nearly 1.5 million hives. The huge difference between these figures appeared as a result of a dramatic reduction in melliferous areas in the 90’s. Now the Romanian authorities intend to boost local honey production through a National Programme approved by the European Commission and meant to encourage Romanian beekeepers to continue to improve production capacities.

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Beekeeping in Egypt


Egypt is one of the oldest countries in the world in beekeeping sector. The oldest drawings and paintings on tombs and other monuments in Egypt clearly show how beekeeping is old in Egypt. The Ancient Egyptians, old people of Egypt, not only built the pyramids and sphinx but also kept bees from about 2400 B.C. where the earliest drawings of beekeeping and honey preparation have been seen in Egyptian temples.

Beekeeping in ancient Egypt was characterized by using cylindrical hives, migratory beekeeping using rafts down the Nile River and production of huge amounts of honey. Ramses III was able to offer the Nile god some 14000 Kg of honey as a sacrifice about 1180 B.C.

The native honeybee in Egypt is Apis mellifera lamarckii, the Egyptian honeybee. This honeybee race is small in size with yellow color. The abdomen of workers, drones, and the queen is striped by black and yellow lines. The Egyptian honeybee is very aggressive, has a large swarming tendency, adapted on Egyptian conditions, and resistant to most diseases. Not much study was done on the Egyptian honeybee.

Egypt today is considered the most important country in beekeeping sector in the Middle East, among Arab nations and Africa. The number of hives is about 1344000 and there are about 7700 mud hives (old hives). The number of beekeepers in Egypt is about 270000.
Not many women work in beekeeping (in mud tube hives only) and only in Upper Egypt. In ancient Egypt, women didn’t work in beekeeping but used to use honey and wax as preparations for skin beauty

Beekeeping seasons start from March up to November and winter season lasts from December up to March. There are three main seasons in Egypt; Citrus season during the first two weeks in April, Clover season from May up to the first week of June, and Cotton season during August and September. The production per colony is about 9 up to 15 Kg per year (all three pastures) and the total production is 110000 Kg. Egypt exports honey to different countries. Also, Egypt export beekeeping tools and swarms to different Arabian and African countries.

The Egyptians do not like to consume much honey. The person in Egypt consume about 0.5 up to 2 Kg. per year. The most of Egyptians consider honey as a natural treatment only. Also, most of Egyptians do not like to consume food that contains more sugar. Honey price is relatively high in Egypt – about 20-30 Egyptian Pounds. (3.3 – 5.0 $; 1 $ = 6 Egyptian pounds)

The common diseases in Egypt are the same as in each place of the world. However, Egyptian beekeepers pay more attention to varroa mites than to any other disease. As I mentioned before, Egyptian beekeepers prefer to increase the number of colonies in the apiary rather than increasing the number of boxes in the same colony. As a result of that, beekeepers usually get rid of colonies with AFB (American Foul Brood) or any other weak colonies.

Unfortunately, not many studies were done on Nosema, tracheal mite, viral or bacterial diseases. On the contrary, a lot of studies were done on varroa mites. In Egypt, there is not any specific treatment for Nosema or Fungal and viral diseases. Antibiotics are common against Bacterial diseases and Amitraz is common against varroa mites.

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Beekeeping in Finland



There are no indigenous Apis species in Finland. The first records show that the earliest bees were black bees (Apis mellifera mellifera). They were imported from Estonia and Sweden in the 18th century. The first Italian bees (A. m. ligustica) were imported in 1866 and the Caucasian bee (A. m. caucasica) probably arrived in 1953. The first movable frame hive was imported in 1867 and the Langstroth hive in 1906.

The first beekeepers started in the southwestern part of Finland and later in south and central Finland. During the last decade beekeeping has spread to northeastern Finland. Around 50% of the bees are still located in the southern part of Finland. However, beekeeping in Finland, is being practised as far north as the polar circle.

The total number of bee colonies in Finland is about 50,000. With approximatly 3,500 beekeepers (2,800 organised) to take care of them.Beekeeping is a hobby for more than 80% of the beekeepers. Only 6% have more than 50 colonies and professional beekeepers there are around 2%. About 85% of the hives are Langstroth, 10 % Zander and the rest are of mixed types.

The number of professional beekeepers has increased during the last five years. There are some 400 semi-professional and professional beekeepers now. A beekeeper is considered professional if he has more than 100 colonies. The biggest beekeeper has over 1,000 colonies.Two thirds of the bee colonies are Italian, 25% hybrids, 5% Carnica, 2% Buckfast and 3% Black. Other races are very rare but the carniolan bees have become more popular in the last few years.

The total Finnish honey crop has varied around 1,800 tons annually (1995: 2,100 tons, 1996: 1,100 tons). Average production per colony for the whole country is usually 40 kilos.

Sales of honey are clearly divided into three markets. About one third of the honey is sold directly by the beekeepers to the consumers. Another third covers the honey sold to retailers and the rest for the packers.

The most common diseases are nosema, chalk brood, European and American foulbroods. We have had varroa over 25 years and Acarapis woodi was found in the summer in 1991.

Resources for bee research in Finland are very limited. Permanent bee research at the Agricultural Research Center began in 1974. The investigation and beekeeping section at Jokioinen does research on Varroa jacobsoni, pollination, queen breeding and Acarapis woodi. The varroa research is part of a Nordic project.

Honey bee research is also conducted at the University of Helsinki, in the Department of Agricultural and Forest Zoology. Here the research deals with wintering studies, honey and pollen analyses. This department is the only place to obtain university level training concerning bees and beekeeping.

The Finnish Beekeepers’ Association arranges courses in basic beekeeping, diseases and queen rearing annually.The magazine “Mehilainen” is also published for association members seven times a year (language Finnish, with occasional summaries in English and Swedish).

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Beekeeping in Spain

Spain has a long and illustrious beekeeping history. Mesolithic peoples  between 3000 and 8000 years ago were illustrating their craft on cave walls. To the present day, beekeeping has played an important part in Spain’s agricultural  history.

Statistics usually bore, confuse and can even lie, but I make no apologies for including some, simply to give a picture of the apicultural makeup of Spain. There are about 2,4264601 hives in Spain, of which around 67% are in the hands of professionals and semi-professionals. There are probably more, but perhaps tax considerations play a part in reducing the true figures somewhat (See above about statistics). Purely professional beekeepers form a small percentage of the total, whereas for the rest, beekeeping supplements other occupations, mainly agriculture. Of the professionals it is estimated that 60% are migratory and ‘follow the bloom’.

Total honey production stands at some 30,000 metric tons per year and the most common honeys are multifloral or ‘milflores’ (thousand flowers). The most important single source varieties come from sunflowers, followed some way behind by citrus fruits (mainly orange), rosemary, thyme and heathers.

Europe is the largest buyer of honey in the world and most of the honey that is exported from Spain goes to other European Community countries, the foremost of which is Germany, followed by the UK, France and Italy. Despite this, Spain remains an importer of honey and most of this comes from Argentina, China and Cuba.

Varroa is the chief plague of Spanish bees and when the mite arrived in Spain in the late eighties/early nineties, beekeeping declined. The most effective control is Apistan, but as this is expensive many beekeepers use Klartan, a fluvalinate used as an agricultural product to control mites on large animals. Wooden laths are dipped in the liquid, left for a few hours, then dipped again (‘to make sure Senor’), and then inserted in the hives. These are often left there and, over the years, the accumulation of these sticks in the brood nest only comes to a halt when the bees can’t move any more and move upwards. More and more emphasis is being placed on organic production with EU grants available for bee farmers using organic methods. There is even a complete department at the University of Cordoba dedicated to the furtherance of organic production.

Pollination contracts for cash are few in Spain. Growers usually get their crops pollinated and the beekeeper gets the honey and pollen, (the latter being a major export for Spain). Professional beekeepers with over 100 hives do receive, however, a pollination subsidy from the government of around 10 dollars per hive (it varies according to province). This is paid up to a maximum of 500 hives. If the beekeeper is a member of certain cooperative associations, the subsidy can be more. This is a sensible solution to the problem of getting a decent return from beekeeping and the view seems to be that you can import honey in a free market, but you can’t import pollination, so subsidize it. It helps everyone.

Overall most modern methods used in Northern Europe or the USA, are known about and used in Spain and, indeed, much advanced research is carried out by Spanish scientific institutions and universities, but for some beekeepers, modern ideas still come as something of a shock. Annual or two yearly requeening being a case in point. Some do it. Most don’t. The average Spaniard, though, is still closer to the land than most Northern Europeans and even though many still use primitive methods, their basic instinct and knowledge of the countryside is ingrained. I always learn something whenever I speak to them.

The more professional beekeeping enterprises tend to use the Langstroth or Dadant hives and a beekeeper from any advanced beekeeping society would recognize almost all aspects of these beekeeping operations. Many of these hives are modified for migratory beekeepers with each box having a revetment around it’s base so that it ‘slots’ into the box below. This simple feature ensures that the boxes don’t separate during transport.

Another popular hive, especially amongst migratory beekeepers is the ‘Layens’ type. This is a single story hive with a hinged lid, a fixed floor and 12 to 14 large combs. These hives can be moved rapidly and easily from crop to crop and combs of honey removed as and when the hive becomes full. It seems to fit the bill with many beekeepers, but, to my mind, cannot compete with stacking hives in terms of production, hygiene, or number of useful manipulations. The government is trying to persuade beekeepers to change to either Langstroth hives or Dadant types.

Many types of primitive hive are also used for producing honey for the family. In the far South of the country, where there are huge cork oak forests (I live in one), round cylindrical hives made of cork are popular. Cross sticks are placed in the hive for the bees to hang their combs on, a lid and floor also made of cork are nailed on, two small holes are made near the floor, and there you have it, a cork hive. Honey is removed by cutting out the combs and squeezing out the honey. Increase is made by attracting swarms to the hives. Other hives are merely a variation on this, using wood for construction, and would be similar to the ‘gum’ hives that used to be used in the USA.

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Beekeeping in India


In India beekeeping has been mainly forest based. Several natural plant species provide nectar and pollen to honey bees. Thus, the raw material for production of honey is available free from nature. Bee hives neither demand additional land space nor do they compete with agriculture or animal husbandry for any input. The beekeeper needs only to spare a few hours in a week to look after his bee colonies. Beekeeping is therefore ideally suited to him as a part-time occupation. Beekeeping constitutes a resource of sustainable income generation to the rural and tribal farmers. It provides them valuable nutrition in the form of honey, protein rich pollen and brood. Bee products also constitute important ingredients of folk and traditional medicine.

India has a potential to keep about 120 million bee colonies, that can provide self-employment to over 6 million rural and tribal families. In terms of production, these bee colonies can produce over 1.2 million tons of honey and about 15,000 tons of beeswax. Organized collection of forest honey and beeswax using improved methods can result in an additional production of at least 120,000 tons of honey and 10,000 tons of beeswax. This can generate income to about 5 million tribal families.

About 10,000 tons of forest honey are produced annually. Apiary honey produced under the KVI sector is estimated to be a little less than 10,000 tons in 1990-91. Over 95 per cent of this was from the A. cerana colonies, the rest being from the European bee colonies. Forest honey, mostly from rock bee hives, is usually collected by tribals in forests and is procured by forest or tribal corporations as a minor forest produce. Quite a large quantity is also collected by groups or individuals on their own. Forest honey is usually thin, contains large quantity of pollen, bee juices and parts, wax and soil particles. The honey collector gets between Rs. 10 and Rs. 25 per kilogram of the forest honey. Forest honeys are mostly multifloral.

Indian honey has a good export market. With the use of modern collection, storage, beekeeping equipment, honey processing plants and bottling technologies the potential export market can be tapped.

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Beekeeping in Poland

Poland is one of the leading producers of honey in Europe. Nevertheless, honey consumption is significantly smaller than in the rest of the European Union. Annual honey production in Poland amounts to approximately 18,000 tons.

There are approximately 41,000 active beekeepers in Poland at the moment; the number of bee families is estimated to total about 1 million. Honey production in Poland reached almost 20,000 tons. Undoubtedly the systematically growing number of youngest beekeepers (below 35, about 10.7% of all beekeepers in Poland) and the increasingly higher quality of bee products are some of the most beneficial changes in the beekeeping industry that have taken place during the last  years.

The results of quality controls of honey, performed by the Agricultural and Food Quality Inspection (IJHARS) in the period from 2004 to 2007, show that the honey offered on the Polish market is of very high quality.

Polish beekeepers take extreme care of the quality of their products. Polish honey is very popular with the consumers from Western Europe. It is not filtrated or processed physically, thereby contains microelements and pollens, and is characterised by an exceptional aroma. Polish products are many a time safer than the ones produced in the west.

Honey is still a product purchased very rarely in Poland and its consumption is low. Annually, Poles consume on average 400g of honey per capita; while in Germany, this figure amounts to 1400g

In recent years, honey production in Poland has gone up. Several factors have had influence on this situation. Relatively good conditions and increasing honey productivity of a hive are the two most important of them. It is not without significance that the structural changes imposed by various support mechanisms (the Rural Development Plan or the National Program for Support of Apiary) have positively affected the condition of the Polish beekeeping industry.

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Beekeeping in Brazil



History of beekeeping  in Brazil  began in the 1830s, with the first honey bees imported from Europe (Apis mellifera mellifera) by immigrants from the Old World.  This is the same honey bee that was introduced into the U.S., often called the German or black bee.  Like most other places in the New World, introductions of Carniolan (Apis mellifera carnica) and Italian (Apis mellifera ligustica) soon followed.  Beekeeping at the time was sedentary and not of great importance, being mostly a religious activity (for the beeswax to make candles) and/or a hobby.  Honey production was less than 400 tons per year.

In 1956, Dr. Warwick Kerr introduced African honey bees to Brazil.  Originally identified as Apis mellifera adansonii, they have been since renamed to Apis mellifera scutellata.  Either way they have characteristics different than European bees, especially when it comes to defensive behavior.  The story is well known about the bees’ escape into the wild, where they became well established as a poly-hybrid with mostly African characteristics and behavior.

The year 1970 was a seminal one with the first Brazilian Beekeeping Congress in Florianópolis.  Since then, slowly but surely over the years, beekeeping has come back rather like a phoenix rising from the ashes.  The next twenty year period would see an explosion of both scientific and beekeeping activity towards understanding the Africanized bee as it became an established part on the Brazilian landscape.

Again, most of this recent beekeeping activity is based on the Africanized honey bee, according to Dr. Gonçalves.  Brazilians have come to prefer this bee due to its capacity to adapt to many of the ecosytems found in the country and its inherent tolerance to parasites and diseases.  It continues to confound many elsewhere and delight Brazilians that the Varroa mited (Varroa destructor), although universally present, does not result in wholesale deaths of colonies.  As a result there is no need to chemically treat colonies. Honey contamination by producers is not yet a threat in Brazil ,Brazil and Argentina, continue to have their honey sales restricted (banned in some countries) due to contamination .

An article in the Natal newspaper says the number of beekeepers in the state of Rio Grande do Norte has increased by a factor of six in the last two years.  Over a million kilograms (1,100 tons) of honey left the port of Natal in 2003, bound mostly for Germany.  The article says a “beekeeping boom” began in 2000, and one company, Mel Brasil Tropical, will export about 1.5 million kilograms (1,700 tons) in 2004. Brazil is also a leader in many other bee products besides honey.

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Beekeeping in Cuba

Cuban honey comes from flowers that are pesticide and insecticide free. This honey has a high nutrition value, delicious aroma and taste that satisfy the most demanding consumers. For the true honey lovers Cuban polyfloral honey floats off your tongue leaving you to savor its subtle, yet rich, tropical essence. All honey is subject to systematic laboratory analysis and inspections to warrant and verify composition and quality factors together with a biological control system that guarantees the product’s veterinary certification in all the stages. All honey lots are certified by Honey Lab of Bremen (QSI) in Germany in a way to have a safe and continuous quality control certification of Cuban honey.there are five centers in the province for raising queen bees, which annually accounts for replacing more than 75 percent of honeycombs, as established by normative techniques to avoid diseases. BCS Okö Garantie, the German company in charge of the organic certification of honey producers across the island. There are more than 470 producers, 900 apiaries, and nearly 3,000 beehives certified as organic In Cuban province of Villa Clara there are five centers in the province for raising queen bees, which annually accounts for replacing more than 75 percent of honeycombs, as established by normative techniques to avoid diseases. The region also known as El Cabo (the Cape) has over a hundred honey bearing species that are free of contamination due to their location in a maximum preservation zone. Cuba announced that its organic honey production is going to increase. According to forecasts, the Country may manage to export into main international markets an average volume of 1,000 tons per year.

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