Saturday, February 1, 2014

The World of Beekeeping

Beekeeping is gaining popularity everywhere. There are around 212,000 beekeepers in the United States and many more throughout the world. Each place in the world, including the United States, has its own ways of beekeeping. Let’s explore two of these amazing and unique ways of beekeeping!

A beekeeper in Nepal collects honey.
One interesting way of beekeeping is in the high Himalayan foothills of central Nepal where teams of men come to harvest honey twice a year. Before harvesting honey from the honeybees, the community holds a harvest ritual where they gather together to pray and sacrifice flowers, fruits, and rice. Then, a fire is lit at the base of the cliff to smoke the honeybees from their honeycombs, allowing the men to gather the honey. From above the beehives, a “honey hunter,” or beekeeper, travels down the cliff using ropes attached to a ladder. The beekeeper then cuts out chunks of honey from the honeycomb while the honeybees are flying around (the smoke makes them leave their hive). For hundreds of years, the skills to perform this fascinating task have been passed down through generations in Nepal. 
The inside of a honeybee hive in Uganda.
Another place with a fascinating way of beekeeping is Uganda. Beehives in Uganda are traditionally constructed from timber or woven from bamboo plants. Honey in this area is normally harvested twice a year between March-June and August-October. Beekeepers in Uganda commonly use grass torches and fire at night to smoke the honeybees out of the hive to harvest honey. A few of the honeys they produce are Savannah bush honey and golden blossom honey. In Uganda, honey is most often eaten directly from the comb instead of in liquid form. 

There are many different areas in the world that keep honeybees. Looking at these examples from Nepal and Uganda, you can see that there’s a variety of places and ways you can manage honeybees. Remember, anyone can be a beekeeper! If you're interested in learning more about becoming a beekeeper, click here.

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