Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Careers in Honey Bees

Honeybees are interwoven into many different aspects of our lives and play an incredibly critical role in the pollination of many different crops. Because honeybees are so important to us, there are many different careers which include spending lots of time with these little insects! Here are a few of the careers in honeybees and what they entail.

Beekeepers are the people who manage honeybees year-round. While small-scale beekeepers who maintain only a few hives and keep them in one location may only have to work with their hives every other week, commercial beekeepers who manage thousands of bee hives work with their bees as a full-time job. Commercial beekeepers not only produce honey to sell, they also ship their bees across the country to pollinate many different crops. 

Queen Rearer:
The queen bee in a honeybee hive is the mother of all the other bees in that hive, which makes her the single most important bee in the entire beehive. Because the queen is so important, there are beekeepers who focus just on producing new queens. Queen Rearers focus on raising and breeding healthy new queens to keep our beehives strong. The queens are shipped to beekeepers all over the country once they are ready to begin their duties in the hive.

Apiary Inspectors:
Apiary Inspectors work for the state apiary departments to regulate beekeeping across the country. Apiary Inspectors visit apiaries to ensure that beekeepers are following state requirements which ensure that bees and the people around them are safe. Inspectors also check the health of the hives to make sure the bees are being properly cared for and do not have any diseases which could harm other bees in the area. Another task of an apiary inspector is to educate beekeepers and the public about issues relating to bees, from why we keep them to how to get started for yourself.

Supply Manufacturer/Distributer: 
Keeping bees requires special equipment and the people who manufacture and distribute supplies play an important role in keeping bees. Supply manufacturers make many different items which we need to effectively keep bees. Bee suits to protect beekeepers from stings,  wooden hives to house our bees and nutrient and mineral supplements to feed our bees. Distributors bring those supplies all across the country and make it available to local beekeepers.  

Pest Control Operator/Swarm Catcher:
Honeybees and other insects are great...most of the time. Sometimes bees and others insects become a problem when they decide to move in where they shouldn’t be living and start causing problems for humans. Pest Control Operators and Swarm Catchers are able to capture and remove swarms of bees which have taken up residence where they don’t belong. Pest Control Operators also remove many other types of insects and can exterminate insects if necessary.

Scientists all over the world are researching honeybees to try and learn the causes of diseases in bees, how to best manage our bees to keep them healthy, why bees exhibit certain behaviors, and many other questions. Scientist also help to educate beekeepers with the information they gather in their research. They play a very important role in helping to keep our honeybees happy.

Just like in a beehive where different bees perform different tasks to keep things running smoothly, there are many different jobs in honeybees so that we our bees stay as healthy as possible. The many different aspects of caring for and studying bees are all important roles performed by a wide variety of talented people across the country. What is your favorite honeybee career?

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