It is important to identify an ideal area from where 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 by .
The surrounding environment should be clean and away from contaminants which ultimately interfere with honey quality.
The following factors should be considered:
- Availability of forages –an apiary should be established within a range of 2-3 kilometers of abundant pollen and nectar producing plants . A beekeeper should have good knowledge of bee plants near his apiary.
- Source of clean and fresh water – there should be a clean source of water near the apiary. Provide clean fresh water in suitable containers if there is no permanent source. Water is an essential part of the bee diet and lack of it adversely affects their nutrition, physiology, brood rearing and their normal behavior. Contaminated water will interfere with honey quality at the end.
- Shelters –bee colonies should be sheltered from high temperatures and strong winds by use of artificial or natural shelters.
- Drainage – a well drained location should be chosen to avoid absconding by the honey bees due to high humidity. This will cause fungal growth and prevent honey from maturing hence interfering with quality.
- Accessibility – it should be easily accessible for colony management and transportation of equipment.
- Proximity – site it away from cultivated fields, schools, highways, hospitals, and industries and residential Estates. The recommended distance from these utilities is more than 300 meters.
- Pests – avoid areas that are heavily infested with pests that attack and destroy bee colonies.
- Fire Hazards – areas with frequent bush fires are not suitable for beekeeping as 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. It is recommended that each apiary should hold not more than 50 colonies.
- Pesticides – site the apiary far from fields which are sprayed with pesticides to avoid bee poisoning and honey contamination. Avoid spraying when plants are flowering or during peak foraging periods.
It is important to use bee-friendly pesticides. These insecticides, herbicides and fungicides that are applied to crops and 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. Some 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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