When you set up an apiary, it is important to consider various factors. identify an ideal area to rear honey bee colonies. Quality honey production begins with choosing the best site to hang the hives or place the hives, and good apiary management. The surrounding environment should be clean and away from contaminants which ultimately interfere with honey quality.
Ten Factors to Consider:
- Availability of forages within a range of 2-3 kilometers with abundant pollen and nectar producing plants. A beekeeper should have good knowledge of bee plants near his apiary.
- Nearby source of clean and fresh water – provide clean fresh water in suitable containers if there is no permanent source. Water is an essential part of the bee diet. Lack of it adversely affects their nutrition, physiology, brood rearing and their normal behavior. Contaminated water will interfere with honey quality at the end.
- Shelter bee colonies from high temperatures and strong winds by use of artificial or natural shelters.
- Choose a well drained location to avoid absconding by the honey bees due to high humidity. This will cause fungal growth, prevent honey from maturing, and interfere with quality.
- Easily accessible for colony management and transportation of equipment.
- Proximity – site it at least 300 meters away from cultivated fields, schools, highways, hospitals, industries and residential estates.
- Avoid areas with pests that attack and destroy bee colonies.
- Fire Hazards – areas with frequent bush fires are not suitable for beekeeping. The smoke will interfere with bee activities and colony.
- Distance between Apiaries – this depends on the acreage of floral sources and the number of colonies within the area. Ideally, apiaries should be at least 2-3 km apart. Each apiary should hold not more than 50 colonies.
- Pesticides – site the apiary far from fields with pesticides to avoid bee poisoning and honey contamination. Avoid spraying when plants are flowering or during peak foraging periods. Use bee-friendly pesticides. Insecticides, herbicides and fungicides reach bees through pollen, nectar, the air, water or soil. This occurs when bees are on the flowers at the time of application of the insecticide, and the bees die instantly. Other types of pesticides allow the bees to return home and then they die. Such types are easy to identify than the first ones.
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