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What should you do if your beekeeping hobby turns to be a profitable business with increasing demands for your quality honey? There are two options, you just stay where you are and enjoy your hobby as a great activity, or you can think of something on how to expand your business. As you have done beekeeping for quite a long time, and you see that there are increasing demands with remarkable profits why not expanding your business? It is really a great opportunity to strive for.
You probably may ask yourself why think of an expansion plan, while you do not have enough space to put more beehives to look after additional bees. Or you probably do not find enough flowers or gardens in your neighborhood where your bees can get additional nectar. Or is there something else that holds you, may be your neighbors or your beekeeping license? Well, there are plenty of reasons that will lead you to a “status quo” situation. But here are some ideas that you might consider.
There are some beekeeping practices that have been applied till this moment, which is to rent a piece of land where you can use it as a bee yard or an apiary. An apiary is a place where you can put your beehives as many as you wish according to your plan. You can even pay the rent with some amount of honey that is produced in this apiary. In some instances a honey beekeeper can get paid by the farmer since they need the bees very badly to facilitate pollination.
You can work together with farmers who usually need the presence of bees to pollinate their crops. There are farmers who are willing to lend their land for free to beekeepers for the sake of bee pollination. You can make a long term deal with such farmer, and manage your beehives accordingly to the crop growing cycle. This looks like a good mutual benefit for you as a honey beekeeper and the farmer who needs the help of your honey bees, isn’t it?
Now, let us move forwards and see how to choose a good site for your apiary. A good apiary should meet the following requirement:
Nearness to nectar sources. It should be definitely near a flowering field or crop. Bees are able to look for nectar within a distance of 3 km from their hives, but if they do not find any good stuff they are willing to travel up to 12 km in search for good nectar. If you place it too far, they might move and find another spot closer to the source, and your hives will be empty.
Temperature. Consider a place where the maximum temperature, especially during summer, isn’t extremely hot, since this may melt the bee wax inside the hive. If the bee wax melts, the bees are going to spend more time to cooling the wax by collecting more water than nectar. Please bear in mind that the melting point of bee wax is around 110ºF or 45ºC. High temperature tends to disturb the bees and get angry more easily.
Security of your beehives. Watch out for honey eating animals like the honey badger or ratel. If there are badgers in your place you should provide some extra protection by strapping your hive together using a strong baggage strap. You should also be aware of human thieves and provide the necessary protection.
Protection of passing people. If in case you have some traffic of passing people close to your apiary, it is best if you could place a high board fence with a minimum height of 6 feet. This is to avoid the bees to straightly attack passing people when flying out the hives, since they are forced to fly high above the fence and over the head of a passer.
To avoid somebody get hurt by your bees, make sure that any people, especially children, will not accidentally enter your apiary by posting some signs of precautions.
Avoid windy places. Wind will encourage the bees to leave the hive and look for a better place. Beside that, the bees will create some blockage at the entrance using propolis and leaving some holes to maintain access. This narrow entrance will for sure slow down the bees activities. Another thing is that the bees will become less productive, since they will be spending more time on making the propolis rather than honey.
If you are serious to expand your beekeeping business, managing an apiary for honey beekeeping is a strategy to be considered. And time will come that you arrive at a point where you need to hire other people to help you in developing a successful business.
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