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Any novice or experienced beekeeper is constantly faced with the fact that others have a poor idea of the specifics of working with bees, replacing knowledge with superficial myths.
And the specialized press not so much pays attention to aspects of beekeeping, its place in the life of society, as it is engaged in self-admiration and self-praise.
Leafing through such magazines, it may seem that everyone around is simply happy with bees, feeds exclusively on honey and appreciates the hard work of beekeepers. In fact, there are many people who simply hate bees and everything connected with them.
Therefore, it is worth paying attention to debunking the most persistent myths about beekeeping, because, taking root, they also cause practical harm - they create an atmosphere of distrust, cause resistance and misunderstanding.
The beekeeper exploits the bees, squeezing all the juices out of them and thinking only about the greatest amount of honey. To begin with, let us note that people come to beekeeping in different ways. Someone is involved in childhood, and someone comes to this occupation already in adulthood, making a deliberate choice. In any case, everyone subsequently understands that the breeding of bees and their maintenance is a very hard, painstaking and laborious work. But, regardless of the motives, beekeeping, whether mercenary or noble, in any case, it will be necessary to take care of the bees, ensure their vital activity as much as possible, treat and protect in every possible way. Otherwise, the beekeeper will not receive any material benefits and satisfaction from the work. Bees cannot be exploited just like that; it will immediately affect their lives. If in the fall more honey is taken from insects, then the bees will not have enough of it for wintering, they will begin to die. Therefore, unwise actions against insects will harm the environment, because bees are the main pollinators of flowering plants, which include fruits and vegetables. Many people do not realize such a simple fact that bees are one of the factors in the availability of crops in our dachas and gardens. Perhaps it will be a discovery that in many advanced countries the main source of income for beekeepers is not the sale of honey, but the payment for the contract for pollination of fields and orchards.
Beekeepers obtain honey by feeding the insects with sugar syrup. The modern theory of rational beekeeping provides for feeding bees with sugar syrup, but it is stipulated that this is possible only during certain seasonal periods, for a specific purpose. For example, if the year was bad, then you can thus replenish stocks, in the case of feeding medicines through syrup. In most common cases, feeding sugar syrups is not justified, especially during the massive collection of flower nectar. Yes, using such a trick will actually increase the amount of honey, but its quality will noticeably deteriorate. Whether to use sugar syrup or not is the moral choice of every beekeeper. And it is possible to identify the consequences of using syrup in finished honey using laboratory tests, which will undoubtedly affect the reputation of the beekeeper. I recall the case of a man who kept ordinary honey for himself, and honey, which was produced by bees that ate syrup, went on sale. So, the sale of such honey was extremely difficult.
Bees recognize their master and do not sting him. This myth is very old and relatively harmless. Although beekeeping is a branch of animal husbandry, these insects cannot be called domesticated animals. There is no fundamental difference between wild bees and those who live in apiaries. Accordingly, there is no other organization of the nervous system, the presence of reason, consciousness. Therefore, you should not rely on the gratitude or affection of the bees. Bees are ordinary insects, therefore, despite our attitude towards them, they retain the instinct of pity. It would seem that the bees should be obliged to the fact that the beekeeper patiently creates their new families, regulates the number, but this is not the case, insects live by themselves, according to their own laws and do not feel obligated to anyone. Therefore, if the situation develops accordingly, the bee, without hesitation, will sting its owner. There is simply a difference in how these bites are transferred. By definition, the beekeeper tolerates stings more easily and forgets about it faster. It seems to others that if the beekeeper does not run around the apiary in horror and does not scream from numerous bites, it is only because the bees recognize their owner and do not sting him.
The usual harvest from one hive is one flask (can). How many beehives there are in the apiary, so many flasks of honey will work. In fact, if such productivity were in Russia, the country would be inundated with cheap honey, while one can only dream of such a harvest. For example, not in the most successful region for bees, in Bashkortostan, collecting from one family from 10 to 15 kg of honey is already considered successful. At the same time, it is also necessary to take into account that it is not necessary that there may be a healthy family in the hive, it is quite likely that there is a layer or a sick family there. And the hive can be abandoned altogether. So the myth of a beehive that consistently yields a jar of honey is most likely spawned by envious neighbors.
Propolis is actually bee feces, so it cannot be treated. In fact, propolis is nothing more than a resinous product that bees collect from the buds and bark of certain tree species, from bushes and grass. The name includes the particles "pro" (front) and "polis" (fortress), which is due to the fact that propolis is used to narrow the passage to the hive. The very same funds have been used in medicine for a long time, which already says a lot. Yes, and in modern medicine, propolis is successfully used as a means with antimicrobial, regenerating, antiviral and other useful abilities. The complex effect of this product is better than any modern medicine. It is not surprising that preparations containing propolis are successfully and justifiably used in various fields of medicine - in dentistry, surgery, dermatology, pediatrics, therapy, and so on. Therefore, to argue about the dangers of propolis means not to understand the obvious things, to try to discredit a useful remedy.
Any beekeeper is able to give his bees a drink so that they can steal honey from neighboring hives. This myth is based on the unshakable faith of our people in the power of alcoholic beverages. Indeed, many miracles are possible under the influence of vodka, but for bees to rob honey from their own sisters is complete nonsense. Surprisingly, this myth lives on among the beekeepers themselves, who periodically reproach each other for using this technique. Hardworking insects can indeed be artificially addicted to alcohol. Initially 0.1% of vodka is added to liquid sugar syrup, then the dose and frequency are increased, as a result the bees become "alcoholics". But the result becomes corresponding - the bees cease to be engaged in their direct duties, relationships are broken. Instead of feeding the offspring, carrying pollen and flying outside, bees begin to cluster around the entrance, conflicting with each other. Departure from the hive occurs only in order to find the source of alcohol in nature, which may be spoiled jam, fermented fruits, etc. In such a situation, the hive may itself be robbed, which will sadly affect its future fate. This will be followed by the mass death of bees, which will entail the inability to defend against uninvited guests. Even if the hive remains intact, the consequences of drinking will not go unnoticed. The family will no longer be complete, since the time of honey collection is no longer of interest to her. In such a situation, it remains only to disperse or destroy, or even create a new family by changing the uterus. So this myth is absolutely groundless, real facts refute it. Regarding the theft itself, it should be noted that this happens infrequently, and even then - through the fault of the beekeeper himself, who did not take the necessary precautions. The thieves will not necessarily be insects from a neighboring apiary, it may well be bees from neighboring hives. After all, for them there is no difference whether their own apiary or someone else's, any bees from a neighboring hive are perceived as strangers.
Beekeeping is not difficult at all, because the main thing is to set up beehives, pump out honey in summer, and put them underground or in autumn in autumn. Of course, those who professionally deal with bees do not adhere to this opinion, claiming that working with bees requires a lot of effort, materials and nerves. For example, new diseases of bees constantly appear, old, seemingly already forgotten ones come back, all this causes economic harm. Do not forget that beekeeping largely depends on the weather, which means that no one will give guarantees of the harvest, while lean years can drag on. Do not consider beekeeping to be a seasonal occupation, since directly or otherwise they will have to be engaged almost all year round. In winter, it's time to prepare inventory, make new hives, frames, cores, it is necessary to control how bees winter, prepare waxes, provide medicines, and that's not all. Only now all this is often not seen by others, who see only part of the iceberg - setting up hives in the spring and working with them throughout the summer. And it's not so easy - to control the growth of families, organize layering and all this in the very heat, later you will have to collect frames full of honey, pump it out, fight with wax moth, rodents, ants, wasps, and so on. The problems seem to be insignificant, but they may well affect the final result, if you do not pay due attention to their solution. Of course, there are some pleasant moments in beekeeping, like pouring golden honey from a honey extractor into a jar, this action is accompanied by a delicious aroma containing the smells of summer. But, of course, it would be a mistake to think that this is the main job of the beekeeper.