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									                          TIPS ON HONEY BEEKEEPING


      Beekeeping or apiculture is the art of caring for and manipulating colonies of
honeybees so they will produced and store a quantity of honeybee products above their
own needs.

        The Philippines has diverse vegetation, which is good source of nectar and pollen
for the bees.      However, during the last decade, beekeepers preferred the imported
specie of honeybee, Apis mellifera to the native. This is because of the high honey yield
on the imported specie.

       There are however certain disadvantages of using imported bees. One is that
they are prone to diseases and parasitic mites, Varroa jacobsini. Another constraint is
the high cost of input.     However, the imported honeybee, apis mellifera, is more
productive. On the other hand, the native species are really suited to our environment,
however, they easily abscond when conditions are unfavorable and less productive. At
present, efforts are being made by the UPLB Bee Program Team to improve the
performance of the native specie.

        Many products are derived from honeybees. Honey be the most important.
Other products are pollen, royal jelly, wax, propolis and bee venom. Today, the role of
bees as crop pollinators starts to be recognized in the country.

Species of honeybee.

        There are two most known native honeybees in the country. These are the Apis
cerana and Apis dorsata. The introduced species, Apis mellifera, is now commonly used
both in backyard and commercial beekeeping.

       Apis cerana, commonly known as “laywan” or “ligwan” is found everywhere. It
is smaller than A mellifera but also constructs multiple combs in sheltered places like
cabinets, tree and rock holes. It is not commercially grown and honey harvest is only
about 3 kg per season.

       Apis dorsata or “pukyutan” builds one large comb with a circumference of about
one meter or more. The single nest is fixed to thick horizontal branch if a tree or under a
roof overhang that protects it against rain and sun during summer.

        Colonies commonly abscond or migrate regularly between the same two [or three]
areas every year, building a nest and storing honey in each.

       Apis mellifera is introduced specie commonly called a European bee. It builds
nest in sheltered places. In the Philippines, A. mellifera cannot survive in the wild.
They produced large quantities of honey and are used in commercial production.         Apis
mellifera is the honeybee to be discussed in this manual.

Composition of the colony.

      A strong A. mellifera colony of 14 frames could have a population of 50,000
workers, a queen, a few drones, 6,000 eggs, 10,000 larvae and 20,000 pupae.

       Queen. The queen develops from fertilized egg the only reproductive unit in the
colony. Pheromones produced by the queen are largely responsible for the coherence of
queen right colony- the fact that adult bees stay together as social unit. The pheromone
production from the mandibular gland is greatest in young and mated laying queen. The
bees feed her and repeatedly lick her body and brush over it with the antenna. By so
doing, the workers obtain minute amount of pheromones from the queen; these
pheromones are translocated on the body surface of each individual bee, and the bees in
the colony.    Ny making antennal and other physical contact, and possibly by taking
regurgitated food, othr workers obtain a share of the pheromone, which is most likely to
9-oxo-2 decenoic acid [ODA].

       Egg laying may begin as soon as 14 hours after she returns, but most start in 2 to
3 days and will continue the rest of life. A queen lays 1,000 to 3,000 eggs a day.

        Drones. Drones are larger and stouter than the queen or workers. They are
designed only for mating and they have no pollen basket, stinger or wax gland. Their
proboscis is shorter than that found in workers, and their eyes are much larger. When
inside the colony, they stay near the brood area where workers between 2 and 26 days old
feed them regurgitated nectar from their crop. First flight are taken in the afternoon
between the 4th and 14th day depending on the weather.

        Orientation flights are of relatively short duration, between 6 and 15 minutes,
whereas mating flights maybe between 30 to 60 minutes. Mating flights occur after they
are 12 days old. Prior to this flight, they engorge lots of honey and thoroughly clean
their antenna and eyes.

        Drone orientates on landmarks rather than use the sun as a compass to find their
own “drone congregation” sites. There is some evidence to suggest that drones mark out
specific areas by pheromones. Whether this area attracts queen is unknown, however,
queens mate with drones from colonies as far as 10 miles away. The average drone will
take about 25 flights in his lifetime over a period of 25 days, and 96% will return to the
colony. A successful mating is fatal to the drone because the genitals are torn from the
body, and like the worker loses its stinger, it bleeds to death. Only a small percentage are
able to fulfill their natural functions since 96% return to the hive.

       Workers. Workers are smallest, yet most numerous members of the honey bee
colony. They are underdeveloped females with small ovaries and are not capable of
producing eggs under normal conditions.
Activities and behavior of the colony as an organism

       Development. Workers feed the newly hatch larvae with royal jelly which is
deposited at the base of the cell.

      Royal jelly which is a secretion of the brood food glands [hypopharyngeal] of
young workers, usually 3-13 days old. However, older bees can produce it in case of
emergency. Secretion of royal jelly is hard work an shortens the life span of the

         Royal jelly consist of 66% moisture, 12.34% protein, 5.46 % lipids, 12.5 %
reducing substance, 0.82% ash, and 2.8 % undetermined substantances. It contains
vitamins, sugars, sterols, a number of specific fatty acids, and an antibiotic 10-
hydroxydecenoic acid. It is quite logical that royal jelly should contain and antibiotic
since it is a nutritious material. Lindaeur [1953[ estimates that the labor required from
rearing one larva from egg to capping of the cell involve 2,785 bees, 10 hours, 16
minutes and 8 seconds.

       Development time for honey bees.
     Particular            Queen                    Worker                  Drone
Eggs                3 days                    3 days                 3 days
Larva               5-6 days                  6-7 days               8-9 days
Pupa                6-7 days                  10-11 days             11-12 days
Adult emerges       16 days                   21 days                24 days
Life expectancy     years                     weeks-months           months

        Caste differentiation is determined by nutrition. All the newly hatched fertilized
eggs have the potential of becoming wither a queen or a worker. All larvae are fed and
identical diet of royal jelly for the first 2.5 days. Those destined to become queens are
fed with the same diet for an additional 2.5 days while those who are to become workers
are fed a less nutritious diet of protein and honey.

       Emergence of the adult. After completing the development, the pupil shell split
and the adult bee emerges head first using the mandibles to chew away the caps of the

       Temperature regulation. The honeybee can regulate temperature. It survives
regardless of outside temperature, provided food is available.      The broos area is
maintained between 33-35 degrees centigrade. During warm and hot weather, the are is
cooled by fanning and water evaporation. When the surrounding air temperature drops
to 14 degrees centigrade, bees form a cluster. By metabolizing honey and thoracic
movement, they are able to generate heat.
       Secretion of wax and building comb.       Beewax is secreted by four pairs of
glands on the ventral side of the abdomen. They are full functional when the worker is
between 12 to 18 days old. Younger and older ones can produce wax as well, but not as
efficient. Wax is secreted during relatively high temperature, 33-35 degrees centigrade.
Workers about to secret was engorge honey and hang in clusters as or near the place
where the comb is to be built. One flake is taken off at a time with the hind leg, brought
forward and then grasped with the mandibles and front leg while she stands at her two
center legs and one hind leg.      She chews the flake and add secretions from the
mandibular glands. This secretion plus pigments from pollen give wax its yellowish
color. The average colony used 8 lbs sugar or honey to produce 1 kg of wax.

        Communication.         In 1945, Karl von Frich associated what he called the wag
tail dance with the distance and direction to the source of nectar. He described two types
of movement that a returning worker performs after a successful foraging trip. He called
these round and wagtail dance.

        In the round dance, the worker, with quick short steps, runs in a narrow circle,
often changing direction to the right, then, to the left. She does this for several seconds
or up to a minute, then may move to another part of the comb, and finally to the entrance
to return to the food source. The round dance is performed when the food source is less
than 100 meters from the colony.

        If the food source is more than 100 meters from the colony, the bees perform the
wag tail dance. She makes a narrow half circle to one side, then a sharp turns and runs in
the straight line to the staring point, and makes another half circle in the opposite
direction, thus completing a full circle. When running in straight line, she vigorously
shakes her abdomen sideways.

        Foraging for nectar and pollen. At 3 weeks old, bees start foraging for nectar,
pollen, or water, depending on the needs of the colony. If a worker starts collecting
pollen, there is a good chance that she will stay with this activity for at least 3 or 4
consecutive days, and may stay with same plant species for up to 20 days. If a plant
produces pollen or secrets nectar at a specific time of the day, she will adjust her schedule
to it.

        Upon returning to the hive, the foragers will distribute the nectar to 3 to 4 house
bees, making contact with the antenna and front legs. She regurgitates the materials,
which form a droplet around the base of the proboscis and mandibles. The house bees
ingest it with their proboscis so nectar is transfers without a pill. The house bees begin a
series of manipulations with its mandibles to actively evaporate moisture and blend
nectar with invertase, which splits sucrose into glucose and fructose. The contents of the
honey stomach are slowly regurgitated.            It hands as small flat drolets from the
mandibles, and the proboscis is now lowered to expose the nectare to the air, hereby
evaporating moisture.

        When ready to deposit the unripened honey into a cell, bees crawl in ventral side
up and regurgitate the material, and using the proboscis as brush, pants the nectar on the
upper side of the cell. As soon as the moisture content of honey drops to 18% workers
seal the cell with a thin layer of wax, providing in with air tight cover.
        Foraging of water and propolis. Honeybee workers also forage for water when
nectar is not available and during hot weather when it is necessary to cool the interior of
the hive. Not much water stored in the hive, but the workers deep it in their crop and
released when needed by the colony.

        A few workers collect propolis, which is a glue-like resin secreted by some plants.
Te workers bit off with the mandibles and with the help of the first pair of legs kneads it,
then transfer the material to the pollen basket. Upon entering the hive, another worker
removes it from the legs, manipulates with mandibles, sometimes adding bits of wax.

        Robbing. Honeybee is an opportunist and will seek nectar, sugar syrup, or
honey at highest concentrations. Robbers go directly for honey, ignoring guards and
defenders, and even the queen. There are casualties on both sides, the defenders attack
by biting at the wings and legs of the intruders, and often engage them in direct battle by
stinging, the unsealed larvae and queen may die of starvation. Robbing is one of the
causes of spreading diseases.

        Fanning. Air currents are used to evaporate moisture from the open cells. Bees
rapidly move the winds similarly, forcing air inward to cool the hive.

        Honey bees will also fan, exposing the Nassanoffs gland. Secreations are used to
orientate bees to their hive or cluster.

        Swarming. Swarming is natural event by which a colony reproduces. Signs of
swarm is evident at least 7-10 days before the event happens. Building of queen cup
cells on the lower sides of the comb, in the lower part of the crood nest is the first signal,
although many colonies will build cells, but will not swarm.

         Colony defense. Bees sting only when provoked. Temperament or disposition
is used to describe a colony’s defensive behavior. A colony is said to have gentle
temperature when its workers are less reluctant to sting than those from another colony.
This suggest that defensiveness is an inherited characteristic controlled by multiple


       The equipment to prepare is the following:

       1.      Hive – to house the bees
       2.      Frames and wax foundation – to support the honeycombs in which bees
               will store honey and raise young bees
       3.      Smoker – to blow smoke into the hive to pacify the bees when you want
               to work with them.
       4.      Hive tool - with which to pry frames apart to examine the hive or harvest
               the honey
       5.      Veil – to protect your face and neck from bee sting
       6.      Feeder – to dispense sugar syrup until bees can produce their one food

      When to start. The best time to start keeping bees is in summer. Flowers are in
bloom and should supply the new colony with sufficient nectar and pollen.

        The modern beehive. Although beekeeping is an ancient art, it is surprising that
the modern beehive used so much today is a relatively recent discovery. In 1851, a
Philadelphia minister by the name of Lorenzo Larraine Langstroth, while working with
the European bee discovered that his bees would build combs eaxatly 9.5 mm apart. It
this space was smaller, the bees filled it up with propolis or bee glue; if it were a wider
gap, thebees would fill it up with wax comb. The discovery of the bee space was the
single most important factor in designing a moveable frame beehive.

        In constructing a moveable frame hive, the dimensions of the bee space must
always be kept in mind each frame is separated from each other, the hive body, the bttom
of the frame to the bottom board, the top of the frame from the inner cover are all a bee
space apart. By utilizing this natural spacing, you can be assured that the bees do not
attaché the comb to the walls or to other sections of comb and frames can be removed
easily. The size of the bee determines the proper bee space.

        A good hive gives the beekeeper the complete control of the combs, which are the
heart of his business. In order to reduce crowding and minimize swarming, the hive
must be large enough to accommodate a prolific queen and all her brood. Additionally,
it is in the hive that the bees need to live and rear their replacements. It is these
surpluses of honey, which the beekeepers removes and markets for his product.

       Wit the modern moveable frame hive, all combs can be taken out, examine, and
replaced or exchanged with those of other hives at will without drastically disturbing the
work of the bees. The combs with a surplus of honey can be emptied by the extractor
without injury and returned to the bees to refilled, thus saving the labor of bees in making
new combs. The queen can be found, examined, and when necessary, replaced, and new
colonies can be made by dividing.

       The location of the apiary is one of the most important decisions of a beginning
beekeeper. A good location for the bee hives will determine the success of failure of a
bee project.

Site selection

        The single, most important consideration in selecting a suitable apiary site is the
presence of nectar and pollen producing plants in the area. Even though an area may be
perfect in all other aspects, lack of sufficient forage will cause eventual absconding
[leaving their hives] of the honeybees. Beekeepers should continually scout for new
locations that offer an abundance of nectar and pollen producing plants. Observe the
flowering of trees, shrubs and field crops in the area surveyed; keep records of these
events and use these data to find locations for bees.

        A source of clean water is important to the honeybees welfare as nectar and
pollen. Colony cooling and dilution of honey sometimes requires large quantities of
water. A good apiary site requires a natural supply of clean water by using barrels or
other suitable containers such as a “banga’ which can be filled up with fresh water daily,
left continually dripping into a wide, shallow dish filled with small pebbles [pebble wash]
to the brim to provide as an alighting platform for the bees to prevent them from

       Areas with very strong winds can adversely affect the flight of foraging bees.
Trees can serve as natural windbreakers and also provide partial shade for the hives and

        Beehives must be protected from large animals such as cows and carabaos etc.
that may knock over the hives. A fence may be necessary in locations where many
livestock are kept.

       Theft can be a serious problem in many areas , so proper precautions must be
taken.    Placing the hives near to the beekeepers or caretakers house is advisable, to
prevent vandalism and theft.

       Site lay-out.

       Beehives should be kept above ground, placed on a hive stand about 18 to 20
inches high.    This will provide ample air ventilation, dryness and protection from
predators such as frogs and toads.

       Beehives should not be kept under heavy shade or damp areas. Hives under
heavy shade tend to be more temperamental and this also makes it more difficult for the
beekeeper to observed and examine the inside conditions of the hive. Damp conditions
favor bacterial growth and disease in the hive.
        Beehives should be positioned away from traffic of people or pathways. A fence
barrier or high bush or shrub can deflect the flight line of the honeybees over or away
from paths or centers of activity of near neighbors.

       Beehives should not be placed too close to each other. Allow at least a foot apart
and avoid lining up your bees in straight lines to prevent drifting.

         Avoid facing hive entrances towards strong direct lights in the evening. Bees are
very much attracted to light and assume it is sunlight, filed bees fill fly around the light
until it tires out and dies.

        Although bees can take being under full sunlight throughout the day, a little shade
is a welcome treat for the beekeeper who has to work the colony.

        Beehives should face towards the East or South directions. When facing East,
the bees can have an earlier glimpse of the sun and starts work earlier. Facing south
protects the entrance from the cold winds.

       Water sources should be kept within the immediate area of the apiary, this will
prevent them from taking water from nearby neighbors especially in the city areas and
from other possible contaminated sources.


        Examining and handling bees        At the very beginning of the actual work of
handling the bees, the beginner should learn how to avoid being stung. Here are some
tips on how to minimize stings.

        1.     Time of the day. It is important to select a warm and sunny day to work
your bees. Remember that the bees try to maintain a warm temperature inside the hive
of about 94 degrees fahrenheight or 30 degrees centigrade because of its brood. Should
this temperature be changed all of a sudden, then bees are apt to be irritated and are liable
to sting. Working your bees in the morning and early afternoon is also advisable
because these are the busiest working hours of the bees and the hive is not as congested,
many of the field bees any be outside and they tend not to mind your presence so much.

        2.     Color of clothing. Wear light colored clothing and veil. Bees tend to
dislike dark colors may be because most of its natural predators are also dark colored.
Wooly or fuzzy clothing material should be avoided.

        3.    Odor. Avoid wearing musk oil, deodorant, colognes etc. Animal scents
can also provoke the bees from stinging.
        4.   Slow Movement.           When working with the bees, use gentle slow
movements so bees don’t get alarmed. Rapid movements disturb the bees causing more
stings. Avoid crushing the bees, this can also cause alarm in the hive, so move frames
slowly and work in slow motion. Do not also hit and jar the hive. Remain calm at all
times. Bees just like dogs can easily sense hour nervousness and will more likely to
sting you.

How to open the beehive?

       Preparatory to opening the modern beehive, the novice must be equipped with
necessary tools such as the smoker, hive tool and of course the bee veil. The bee veil
should be adjusted so that no bees can enter and strings tied behind the back so it will not
dangle in front while the bees are being worked.          It is also advisable the proper
techniques in handling the bees. Here are some simple steps to follow.

       Stand in one side or in the back of the hive. Avoid standing in front of the
entrance or along the line of flight of the bees so as not to disturb the entrance of coming
and outgoing bees.

        Lights up the smokers with materials that will produce plenty of smoke such as
rugs, dried leaves or old newspapers. Once a good flame is produced, close the lid and
shake the smoker to put off the flames and leave just its smoke. Then blow two or three
puffs into the front entrance of the hive to subdue the guard bees. Be careful not to blow
too much smoke, this will cause the bees to stampede and more difficult to handle.

       Remove the outer cover gently, placing it on one side of the hive, if the beekeeper
is working in one side, place the cover on the other side, leaning it against the hive.

       Take the hive tool and gently pry the inner cover of the hive up and eight of an
inch not wider. It may be necessary to pry from more than one corner in order that the
cover may not come up with a jar.

        Blow a couple puffs of smoke through the gap so made between the inner cover
and the hive, then let the inner cover down for a moment. Gently lift it up again,
following the movement with two or three puffs of smoke. This could be enough to
drive the bees that are on the top bars down between the frames.

        The beginner can now proceed to pry the frames gently and avoid crushing the
bees. Slide the first frame nearest you about an eight of an inch, then gently lift it out,
making sure that the side bars of the frame are parallel and spaced enough from the wall
of the hive so as not to hurt of the bees clinging on the sides.

        After examining the frame, lower it gently about half an inch from the next frame
to be examined, then proceed to the next in the same manner.
What to look for?

        An experience beekeeper does not open his hives frequently as he can usually
diagnose the state of the colony by watching the colony for a few minutes. The beginner
will find it necessary to open the hive more frequently but should follow a standard
procedure to minimize wasting time and undue disturbance of the bees. A simple
procedure to follow when inspecting the bee are as follows.

       Open the hive, are the bees covering most or all the frames? If so, is it in good

         Remove the frame closest to hive wall. It may be empty or contain honey. Look
at the side of the next frame. Does it contain brood? If there is capped brood, remove
the frame, holding it over the open hives and see if eggs are present. Eggs and very
young larvae indicate that a queen is laying and present. No brood on the next frame
may indicate a queenless condition. Slide the frame over into the open space and look
at the side of the next frame to see if any brood is present. If none, continue to look at all
frames, sliding each over into the space left by the previously inspected frame. This
minimizes the disturbance to the bees and is a rapid way to check the total number of
frames in a hive.

Some do’s and don’ts to aid the novice beekeeper

        Do inspect the hive when very large numbers of bees are seen at the entrance in
the afternoons and evenings. This can be a sign of overcrowding and congestion and be
a cause for swarming.

       Don’t inspect the colony just to see the queen. She can be difficult to find and
usually looking at the queen will tell nothing of her laying ability. If eggs and brood are
present in a normal manner, there is no need to worry about the queen.

       Do inspect the hives especially during the swarming season. The swarming
season will vary in different areas of the country. Even beekeeper will have to determine
his own swarming schedule.

       Don’t hesitate to feed your bees if there is no honey in the hives, and few flowers
are available. It is more economical to feed than to catch new swarms later on. Mix
sugar with equal volume of water in clean ice water plastics and put above the frame.
Use division board feeder if available.

         Don’t harvest uncapped honey. The moisture content will be too high and honey
bottled with too much moisture will ferment much sooner. The only other way to save
this is to dilute it with water and turn it into vinegar.
What bees need?

       Bees need 4 basic materials: nectar, pollen, propolis and water. They make
honey out of nectar. They make pollen into beebread [food for the young bees]. They
use propolis to seal cracks and waterproof their hive. They dilute honey with water
before eating it, and they use water in their hive for cooling.

Uniting colonies

        Uniting a colony with another is one way to strengthen another colony. In case
your colonies have not reached considerate strengths and population right before the
honey flow is to start in your area. It would be best to choose the stronger ones to be
strengthened further by uniting weaker colonies to such. Remember it is better for a
colony to go through a flow that is twice its size, for it can harvest more than twice as

         Another reason for uniting colonies is when a queen dies by accident or it is
superseded by a new queen when there are no drones present in your area. In the former,
if there are no immediate queens available, this colony should be united so as not to loose
its continuum in terms of population. In the latter, it would be a waste of time and risk
should your queen not get fertilized.

Steps in uniting 2 colonies

       1. Choose the colony with stringer population, usually having a better queen.
       2. Place a sheet of newspaper between the hive body and inner cover of the
          colony to be united.
       3. Take out the queen of the weaker colony, leave her to one frame with bees,
          brood and food and transfer her to the different location.
       4. Place the weaker queenless colony on top of the stronger queen right colony.
       5. Leave untied colony alone for at least 3-4 days.
       6. Take out newspaper shreds and compose the frames according to their natural

Splitting or dividing colonies

       Colonies are equally divided to increase or to decongest overpopulated hives;

       a.      Split to increase the number of colonies.

               1.     Prepare complete hive assemblies or nuc boxes according to the
                      number of splits to be made.
               2.     Look for the queen of the colony to be divided and mark the box
                      where she has been transferred.
             3.       Distribute the frames of bees, brood and food equally among the
                      splits, making sure they have enough bees, brood, food to sustain a
                      new colony as soon as a new queen is introduced.
             4.       The divided colony should be transferred from its original position,
                      if the new splits are going to remain in the same area.
             5.       To disorient the older bees from coming back to the same hive.
                      Distribute and arrange the splits in a circle around the original
             6.       Leave the splits queenless for 24 hours.
             7.       Introduce a queen to each of the splits.
             8.       Check after 6-7 days if queen have been accepted.

      b.     To decongest overpopulated hives

             1.   Choose emerging or sealed brood frames from the strong colony.
             2.   Shake off bees from the frame.
             3.   Place in weaker hives who need bees.
             4.   Replace pulled out frames with extracted combs or frames with wax

Introducing a Queen

      A new queen is introduced to a hive for the following reasons:

      1.     Queenlessness due to disease or accident
      2.     To change a defective or old queen
      3.     When making splits or divides

Steps to follow when introducing a queen

      1.     Make sure that the colony to be introduced does not have queen, in the
             case of number one. If the colony has not been inspected recently, it is
             very possible that a queen cell or virgin queen may be present. Locate the
             queen cell, and destroy. If there is a virgin queen, dispose her.

      2.     Leave the colony queenless for 24 hours. This will make the colony
             realize it is queenless and will desire to make another or easily accept

      3.     Take out the cork from the candy side of the cage.

      4.     Insert the queen cage between two frames in the brood section with the
             candy side facing up and the exposed portion pointing towards the inside
             of the hive.

      5.     Leave in the hive for 3-5 days.
       6.      Do not disturb the hive, as undue disturbance may cause the bees to hurt
               the new queen.

       7.      Check if queen has emerged and accepted successfully after 3-5 days.

       8.      Pull out cage and return the frames to its normal position.

How to move a colony?

        If you need to move your colony, get the bees oriented to the new location.
Unless you move at least several kilometers, the bees will find their way back to their old

        If you want to move your bees only few yards, take them several miles away and
leave them for a week or more. After they get used to the distant location, move them to
the nearby site you originally desired and let then get oriented there.

        It is not advisable to move bees during the period of honey production. The
honey already stored will add extra weight; new honeycomb may break loose; and you
will disturb your bees and cause a slow down in honey storage.

       If the weather is unreasonably warm and the colony is strong, do not seal the hive
entrance. The bees might be suffocated.

How to deal with bee stings?

        The sting is a weapon for defense of the colony.      The minimize the chance of
being stung, observe the following:

       1.      Handle the bees when they are flying actively in favorable weather.
       2.      Wear protective clothing.
       3.      Use smoker when necessary.
       4.      Bees are attracted to the scent of perfumes and body lotions; avoid using
               them when you intend to do work with your colonies.
       5.      If you are stung, remove the stinger immediately by scraping it off with
               fingernail or any straight edged instrument. Do not try to pull it out,
               because this will force more venom into your skin. Since the stinger is
               barbed, rapid removal can greatly reduce the effect of the sting.

Obtaining initial colonies.

       Buy bees from reliable source preferably a good member of a beekeeper
association. Start with queen right colony. You can buy a three framer colony and
check the following:
      1.     All stages of broods [eggs, larvae, and pupa] should be present.
      2.     A good laying queen
      3.     Pollen and nectar must be present
      4.     Free from mites and diseases.

      Make sure that there is adequate ventilation when transporting the colonies.
      Transfer the bees carefully to the standard hive. Feed the bees with sugar syrup
      if there are not enough stores.


       As with any agricultural venture, beekeeping is a seasonal activity. The
Philippines has such a variety of climatic conditions that a written timetable for
beekeepers to follow is difficult to write. The reason may roughly be divided as:

      Dearth period. [lack of nectar and pollen sources]

      1.     Few flowers are in bloom, usually corresponds to the rainy season in the
      2.     Queen laying decreases due to lack of pollen which supplies the protein
             requirements needed to produce bee milk and royal jelly.
      3.     Colony population decreases
      4.     Hive activities such as nursing, comb building and foraging decreases due
             to lack of nectar which supplies the starch and carbohydrates of the bees
             diet and thus is their basic source of energy.
      5.     Low body resistance to diseases and viruses
      6.     Robbing of food from other hives becomes evident.
      7.     Overpopulated, congested colonies may swarm due to lack of food.

      Build-up period. [ increase of nectar and pollen sources]

      1.     More flowers are in bloom, this is usually the period right after the rainy
      2.     Queen laying increases due to ready availability of pollen
      3.     Colony population increases
      4.     Hive activity increases, bees are starting to build new combs because of
             incoming nectar to give the queen more laying space.
      5.     Body resistance improves. Mite infestation increases.
      6.     Robbing decreases
      7.     Strong colonies may develop the swarming urge [natural process of colony

      Neat flow [surplus nectar sources]
       1.       Majority of flowers are in bloom, usually corresponds to the dry or
               summer months.
       2.      Queen laying is constant
       3.      Colony population sustains increase.
       4.      Hive activity at its peak, most obviously of these are comb building and
       5.      Body resistance and stamina are generally goods.
       6.      Swarming may occur only for congested or overheated hives.


       This period may vary as some beekeepers harvest their honey crop as the combs
ripen. This is possible even at the early stages of the nectar flow; other beekeepers
however would rather wait for all the combs to ripen towards the tail end of the nectar

        Hive activity, conditions and performance is identical to that of the nectar flow
period. But as the dry or summer months come to as close and rainy season sets in, we
then start over again at the beginning of the cycle which is the dearth period.

Measures and manipulations techniques during the seasonal periods

Death Period

       1.      Ensure that bees have ample food reserves. Feed pollen substitutes or
               sugar syrup if necessary.
       2.      Extra combs not being worked by the bees should be set aside and stored
               and sealed to prevent wax moth attacks.
       3.      Pest and disease alert
       4.      Reduce hive entrance to prevent robbing.
       5.      Over populated hives may be divided in order to prevent swarming due to
               low food supply.
       6.      Apiary site improvements; painting, constructing new hives etc.
       7.      Plan for next honey season.

Build-up Period

       1.      Provide sufficient egg laying space for the queen. Return extra combs set
               aside during dearth period of and new frames with foundations.
       2.      Optional feeding of syrup to speed up colony growth.
       3.      Initiate mite control
       4.      Unit weak and queenless colonies to be strengthened in order to harvest a
               good honey crop
       5.      Gradually increase hive entrances as colony population grows
       6.      Queen rearing can be initiated at this time if drones are in abundance.
       7.      Check for queen cells every 7 to 10 days especially in congested or
               populous colonies and provide additional space if necessary in order to
               prevent the swarming urge.

Nectar flow

       1.      Wired frames with foundations and supers should be available and ready,
               prepare supers in advance of colony needs
       2.      At eh start of the nectar flow, colony strength should be at least 10 frames
               strong in order to harvest a good honey crop
       3.      Mite fumigation is discontinued during this period
       4.      Colonies may be transferred to selected locations
       5.      Continue swarm control measures
       6.      Queen rearing may continue on even until harvest
       7.      If increase or propagated of colonies is desired, the nectar flow is the dieal
               time for it.


       1.      Select ripen combs of honey
       2.      Extract and pack
       3.      Return extracted combs to the hives for cleaning and repair.
       4.      Leave only enough frames that bees can work on unless there is still nectar
               expected to be brought in
       5.      Prepare beeswax from the cappings
       6.      Market and distribute.


       Good bee health program will insure the population growth of the bee colony
eventually of good harvest. A failure in prevention and control of bee pest predators and
diseases can result to a total destruction of the colony and the whole industry in general.

Common pest and diseases of honey bee and their prevention and control.

            Pest                   Mode of Infestation           Prevention and Control

1. Birds                       - the birds will eat the - net trapping
   - Philippine Spinetailed      foraging bee resulted to - deterring through sounds
     Swift {Chaetura sp.]        sudden weakening of the    and the presence of eagles
   - Philippine bee eater        colonies.                - spreading the colonies
     “Pirik-pirik”                                        - moving the colonies
      [Merops sp.]                                        - shooting the birds
             Pest               Mode of Infestation             Prevention and Control

2. Wasps [Vespa sp.]         - the wasps will catch the - chemical positioning
                               bees in front of the - manual catching
                               colonies                 - hunting their colonies

3. Toads                     - Eat the bees at the bee - raised the hive stand
                               entrance of the hive      beyond the reach of the

4. Ants                      - Eat the bees especially the -     provide protectants like
                                weak colonies                     used oil for every hive

5. Wax moth                  - The moth will eat the wax - keeping strong colonies,
                                in the combs preventing    removing any unattended
                                the bees to emerged from   combs and treating stored
                                their cells because of     combs with naphthalene
                                their silken threads.      balls

           Parasites            Mode of Infestation             Prevention and Control

1. Varroa mites              - attack both adult and - treat it with miticides
                               brood of the bees

2. Tropelailaps              - a parasite that attack both - treat it with miticides
                                adult ad brood of the bee

Diseases                        Mode of Infestation             Prevention and Control

1. European foul brood       - it attack the brood of the -       treat it with oxytetra-
                                 colonies                         cycline
2. Sacbrood                  - a virus that interferes with -      requeening or always
                                 the moulting process late        maintain    a   strong
                                 in larvae life                   colony
3. Chalkbrood                - attack the brood of the -          Strengthen the bee
                                 bee colonies                     population

       The first line of defense against contamination from bee disease is to maintain
strong and healthy colonies. Avoid using suspected diseased supplies, combs, and
equipment from other beekeepers. Treat suspected disease at one or sends samples of
disease bees to:
1.   UPLB Beekeeping Program
     Institute of Biological Science
     University of the Philippines
     Los Baños Laguna

2.   National Apiculture Research and Development Institute
     College of Agriculture
     Don Mariano Marcos State University
     Bacnotan, La Union

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