Beekeeping for Beginners

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The main pasture



Meadow Sunflower Fruit Lavender Sage

Black locust



In most parts of our country, black locust pasture is one of the main bee pastures. On this occasion, we will present its basic characteristics, starting from its importance, with the aim of helping beekeepers to make the best use of it. The final result of beekeeping in one year usually depends on this pasture in some areas.

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Black locust blooms in the first decade of the fifth month, while in the higher regions it begins to bloom only in the second half, and in some places at the end of the fifth month. In addition to the height difference, the flowering time of black locust also depends on climatic conditions. For the sake of orientation, we remind you that from the time when the first buds appear on the black locust until flowering, about 40 days pass, sometimes even a few days more, which depends on the climatic conditions. When the plum blossoms start, you should know that in a month the black locust will start to bloom. This should be a sign to the beekeepers to make the final preparation of the bee colonies, so that they can make the best use of black locust as the main pasture. By the beginning of black locust flowering, bee colonies should be extremely strong and have the necessary working mood to collect nectar and process it into honey.

The flower stays on the black locust for about 14 days or a little longer. Some black locust mutations bloom earlier and others later, which only prolongs black locust grazing. Also, if the terrain near the beehives is hilly, so we have lower and higher terrains close to useful bee summer, then black locust grazing lasts much longer, because black locust first blooms on lower terrains, then on middle ones, and then on higher ones.

With the migration of bees, two pastures can be used quite simply, and in exceptional cases, three. In the southern parts of our country, black locust blooms much earlier, and in the northern areas later, so these benefits should be used. However, at altitudes of over 700 meters, black locust practically makes no honey intake, i.e. honey intake is very low, so it is not profitable to move bees to such terrains for the sake of the black locust.

Black locust blooms very abundantly, and in full bloom almost the entire crown turned white. In normal climatic conditions, black locust blooms and honeys almost every year, so it can be freely said that it is one of the most stable bee pastures. When there is enough black locust and when there is enough honey, then well-prepared companies can ingest 7 to 15 kilograms of nectar per day. In favorable years, the yield per hectare of black locust forest can be up to 1000 kilograms of honey, often more. It is understandable that it also depends on the conditions for honey, the composition of the black locust forest, the strength of the bee colonies, etc.

Black locust secretes the most nectar at a temperature of about 25 degrees Celsius, if the weather is quiet, if there is enough moisture in the air, etc. It is characteristic that black locust gives extremely large amounts of nectar, and very small amounts of pollen.

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Black locust is most intense honey around the fifth to seventh day after flowering. Then one should be most careful in terms of expanding the space in the hives. Namely, in those days, strong bee colonies, under favorable conditions, can bring up to 15 kilograms of nectar a day into the hives, so it requires two semi-extensions of Dadan-Blat's hive for processing into honey. Without that space, there would be double the damage. The bees would have now place to store nectar, so they would not even ingest it, and the yield of honey would be that much lower.

Due to the narrowed space in the hive, the urge to swarm can occur, so the worker bees lose their working mood to collect nectar and process it into honey, preparing for swarming.

Black locust honey is of excellent quality, bright color, transparent, pleasant smell and taste. It can stand for more than a year without crystallizing, in favorable conditions for up to two years. It is highly sought after on the domestic and foreign markets and belongs to the group of the most expensive honeys. It is often used to improve the quality of other types of honey. Since bee colonies quickly fill and close the frames with black locust honey, it is good to leave these frames as a reserve, because this honey, unlike some others, is also great for hibernating bee colonies.


Meadow grazing



Meadow grazing is especially important for successful beekeeping mainly for the following reasons: meadows and pastures have a variety of honey plants that differ in flowering time and quality, and this grazing lasts a long time, which is important for successful beekeeping. The years, which are especially favorable for meadow bee grazing, can affect that it lasts from the end of the black locust, at the beginning of the sixth month, all the way to the sunflower grazing, which begins in the first decade of the seventh month, sometimes longer. After all, this grazing begins in warm areas and in the lowlands as early as the end of the fifth month, and in mountainous areas only at the beginning of the seventh month, so the migration of bees can be used very well and for a long time.

Although the daily intake of nectar on the average meadow pasture is not large, considering that it lasts for a long time, sometimes 40 or more days, in some years significant quantities of high-quality honey can be obtained from the meadows. Meadow pasture can be considered, like black locust, almost the safest, precisely because it lasts a long time and is diverse. The bee colonies from the black locust pasture come out very developed and should be maintained as such until the next pasture: linden, sunflower, chestnut, etc.

Grazing from meadows and pastures is the most suitable for that because it ensures a continuous intake of nectar and pollen powder, which stimulates the queen to lay enough eggs to permanently lay as many young bees as the old ones die.

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Meadow grazing lasts a long time, so it is one of the safest

Sunflower pasture



In areas where it is grown on large areas, sunflower belongs to the group of main bee pastures. Early varieties of sunflower begin to bloom in the last decade of the sixth month, and later varieties by the end of the seventh month, and beyond. The basic characteristics of sunflower as the main pasture are that it blooms and honeys for a long time (up to 20 or even 25 days) and that under certain climatic conditions (if it gets cold or if there is a long drought).

The sunflower flower secretes a resinous sticky mass to which bees stick and often die there. The latter is the main reason why some beekeepers believe that their beekeeping societies will weaken if they move them to sunflower pasture. However, the flower of the new selected sunflower hybrids generally does not secrete these resinous sticky substances, or secretes them in insignificant quantities. In normal years, about 20 kg of honey per hive per season can be obtained on sunflower pasture, sometimes up to 30 kg.

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It is characteristic that sunflower in some areas is good honey, and in other areas weaker. Some varieties of sunflower give more, and some less nectar. If we are talking about some domestic high-yielding varieties, we can count on safe and rich bee pasture.

By collecting nectar from sunflower flowers, bees significantly increase yields and improve the quality of sunflower seeds.

Sunflower honey is light yellow in color, crystallizes relatively quickly, and does not belong to the group of higher quality honey, so its market price is slightly lower. However, in recent times, some experts point out that sunflower honey is also of high quality, primarily because it contains a lot of pollen powder and other properties. In any case, with the use of sunflower pasture, it is far easier to achieve high honey production and high income from beekeeping, so that pasture should be used whenever possible.


Fruit pasture



Bee grazing from fruit is not one of the main pastures, because it is practically not, although in extremely favorable grazing conditions, strong bee colonies can collect a lot of nectar and pollen from certain types of fruit. However, this bee pasture is of great importance, for the following reasons:

  1. This grazing lasts a long time, and there are practically no interruptions between the flowering of certain species and varieties of fruit, starting from the earliest to the latest.

  2. It arrives early, in March and April, when, as a rule, there is no other pasture.

  3. Some types and varieties of fruit have a lot of pollen powder, which is the most needed by a large number of bee colonies at this time of year.

  4. Fruit pasture can be very well used to make honeycombs from wax bases. Namely, many beekeepers make the mistake of allowing bee colonies to build honeycombs during the main grazing period. For the production of wax, since honeycombs are built, bees need large amounts of honey and pollen powder, as well as time, so they are quite exhausted. That is why it is far more useful for bee colonies to focus on making honeycombs during fruit grazing, because then there are all the conditions, while during the main grazing of the society one should focus exclusively on honey production.

  5. The worker bees, collecting nectar and pollen powder from the flowers of the fruit trees, do an extremely important job. By pollination, they increase yields and improve the quality of the fruits of cultivated plants.
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Bees are also very happy to visit wild fruit species, which are often more honey-bearing than tame ones. As bee pasture, it is significantly stone, apple, berry and some types of nuts.


Lavender



Lavender is a plant of the coastal areas, although there are some species in the continental part of the country. Lavender blooms in the sixth and seventh months, quite a long time, usually about 25 to 35 days, which depends, first of all, on climatic conditions.

Lavender abundantly copper. If the bee colonies are well prepared, i.e. if they are strong, with a lot of worker bees of favorable age structure, if the climatic conditions are favorable, the daily intake can be 4 to 6 kilograms, sometimes more, in such conditions during one seasons of lavender can be obtained about 40 and sometimes up to 50 kilograms of honey per hive.

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The main characteristic of lavender is that it gives a lot of nectar, and very little pollen powder. If at the time of lavender flowering there is no other bee pasture nearby that has pollen powder, it usually happens that the brood in the hive is greatly reduced, and sometimes it disappears. That is why it is best if the bee colonies spend as long a time as possible on the pasture, which is rich in pollen powder, before lavender. Societies then thrive and provide sufficient amounts of pollen. In that case, during the grazing on the meadow, the beehive will develop almost normally, remain strong until the end of this one and remain so during the new grazing, for example heather, rosemary, etc.

Lavender honey is very aromatic, i.e. it has a strong pleasant smell of the plant from which it originates. Its color is light yellow and it is quite bright. It is considered to be a better honey in terms of quality, although its taste is quite sharp. Lavender is the essential oil used in pharmacy and cosmetics, and is used in the fight against moths. In order to obtain the essential oil, lavender is also grown in pure culture.


Sage



Sage is a perennial shrubby plant, which can grow up to 70 centimeters in height. The bush is thick with a lot of shoots. Early sage begins to bloom in the fourth month, and grazing ends in the sixth month. It first begins to bloom in the lowest areas, especially by the sea, and then in the higher terrains. That is why sage lasts longer on undulating terrain, which is especially useful if the entire such terrain is in the area of useful flight of nectar-collecting bees.

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The flowers stay on one plant for about 20 days, with flowering first starting at the bottom of the plant, and then the flowers gradually open towards the top and finally at the top. Sage is best honey when it is warm and has a lot of moisture in the air, especially if there has been a lot of rain before, so the plants are well developed and lush. However, when there is a period of dry weather, and stronger winds, honey production is greatly reduced. Under normal conditions, sage gives a lot of nectar, so honey yields are quite good. That is why a large number of beekeepers move bees to sage.

Sage is of special importance for coastal karst areas, not only because there is no other significant pasture during its flowering, but also because in some areas after sage there is a dry and grazing period, so beekeepers leave sage honey in reserve, for feeding bee colonies in this grazing period which can last even longer.

Sage honey has a specific scent of sage flower. Its color is light yellow, although it leans slightly towards greenish color. The great advantage of this honey is that it does not crystallize for a long time, and when it does its crystals are somewhat larger. Sage honey has a pleasant taste, with a light dose of bitterness that is not unpleasant. Sage honey belongs to the group of the most expensive honey. Since sage is also a medicinal plant, honey is also attributed with a higher medicinal property, especially for the respiratory organs.

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