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The specialist international beekeeping organisation
People's relationship with honey bees goes back into the mists of time with the plundering of nests for their sweet honey treat. This is vividly shown in Mesolithic rock paintings and is underlined by historic accounts of honey hunting techniques in Asia and Africa. The inclusion of bees in sacred texts or as part of creation myths in so many cultures and religions is an indicator of just how long bees have been important to people.
By the Middle Ages people were regularly harvesting honey crops from specially marked tree cavities in the extensive forests of Northern Europe. True beekeeping began when people discovered how to transport nests of honey bees, perhaps contained in logs, clay pots or woven containers, to places of the beekeeper's choosing. In these hives bees built their combs as if this was a wild nest, with combs fixed to the edges of the hive body. This meant that combs could not be removed without breaking them which often destroyed the whole nest. Nonetheless, many thousands of beekeepers still use these methods both successfully and sustainably. In 17C Greece people used a type of top bar hive that gave them greater control of the bees, but it was not until 1851 that the Rev. Lorenzo Langstroth came to understand the secret of the bee space. He invented a hive where the combs could be removed and replaced at will: this became the foundation of moveable-comb beekeeping which allowed different techniques of colony management.
Worldwide, people have historically exploited several species of bees for the honey they produce. Stingless bees and several of the Asian bee species remain important resources in many countries. The differing biology and behaviour of these species has meant people have developed sophisticated methods of honey hunting or ingenious techniques such as rafter beekeeping.
From the earliest times people have understood that bees provide a cornucopia of delicious, useful and medicinal products. The best known are honey and beeswax. However, minor hive products are also sought after, while value added items are as important today as ever. Apiculture gives some of the world's poorest people the opportunity to enhance their income from the practical and frequently indigenous skill of beekeeping. However, people need to be sure that the beekeeping techniques they use are sustainable so that these precious pollinators and valuable producers survive to serve and enrich future generations as well as they have served us in the past.
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Southwick E.E., published 1995, American Bee Journal April 1995 247-248 PDF on this website
Article (pdf file) in English
published 18/11/2014, Oxford Scientist wins green prize for developing bee fences to reduce conflict between people and elephants. BfD Journal, 101 p7
Click here to open the associate PDF file.
Franc Sivic, published 2012, Bees for Development Journal 105 PDF on this website
Article In Bfd Journal (pdf file) in English
My name is Prosper Agbeti from Ghana. I was born to a low income family. After I completed my Junior High School I was left to find some work in the street of Accra the capital city of ...
Agbeti P, published 2009, Bees for Development Text on this website
Your Story in English
The Trevor Huddleston Association for the Disabled - Rodrigues Newsletter April 2009 CARE-CO Rodrigues Rehabilitation & Production Centre. Long time..... No News ...
Draper P, published 2009, Newsletter April Text on this website
Article in English
Establishing a practical basis for developing mutual trust and respect between farmers and researchers is a great challenge. this paper presents the difficulties the causes and the approaches ...
Nounamo L Foaguegue A, published 1999, Forests Trees and People Newsletter 39 41548 PDF on this website
Article (pdf file) in English
By Horst Wendorf Horst Wendorf is a German sociologist who has worked with beekeeping projects in Zambia for eight years. In the North Western Province beekeepers using bark hives have been ...
Wendorf H., published 1997, Bees for Development Journal 43
Article In Bfd Journal (text file) in English