Bashkiria, the birth-place of honey, the country of worth

Beekeeping (or apiculture, from Latin apis, bee) is the maintenance of honey bee colonies, commonly in hives, by humans.

Beekeeping was known long before our era. Its development went through several stages. At first, wild beekeeping consisted of hunting for honey and beeswax—bees’ nests and their honeycombs were found in tree hollows. The stages of wild-hive beekeeping and stump beekeeping in logs and tree hollows (dupliankas) were followed by frame beekeeping, or the raising of bee colonies in sectional hives with movable frames. With the invention of the frame hive in 1814 by the Russian beekeeper P. I. Prokopovich and of the honey extractor in 1865 by the Bohemian apiarist F. von Hruschka, frame beekeeping became a highly productive branch of agriculture in many countries. 

Rehashing Robert Burns' poem we'd like to present Bashkiria region - the birth-place of honey the country of worth.

In Russia, beekeeping has been widespread for a long time in almost every area of the country. In 1910 there were 339,000 apiaries with an average size of six colonies, totaling 6,309,000 colonies, of which less than 18 percent were in frame hives. The marketable surplus from the apiaries was low. The average amount of marketable honey obtained from one bee colony did not exceed 5–6 kg. During World War I, the number of apiaries in the country decreased significantly, and by 1919 the number of bee colonies had fallen to 3.2 million. After the decree of 1919 of the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR On Protecting Apiculture, beekeeping developed rapidly. In 1940 in the USSR there were more than 10 million bee colonies, 95 percent of which were in frame hives. During the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45, the number of apiaries again decreased considerably, and the number of bee colonies dropped to 4.9 million. As a result of a number of party and government resolutions adopted in the postwar years concerning beekeeping, such as the resolution of 1945 of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR On Measures to Develop Apiculture, beekeeping was reestablished and became a profitable branch of the national economy.

With the amalgamation of kolkhozes, the size of apiaries increased. Specialized industrial sovkhozes and large bee farms have been set up, with the introduction of mechanization of the labor-consuming processes of uncapping and extracting the honey, outfitting the hive frames with wax, and loading and unloading the hives when the apiaries are to be transported to nectariferous areas. At these enterprises the technology of feeding and caring for the bee colonies is being perfected, and the efficiency of labor is increasing—one beekeeper can maintain 150–200 colonies instead of 35-40 as at nonamalgamated apiaries.

The three basic areas of specialization in apiculture are the production of honey, pollination, and bee raising.

In the Urals, Siberia, the Far East, Azerbaijan, Kirghizia, eastern Kazakhstan, and Armenia, where there are vast areas of wild nectariferous vegetation, there are large beekeeping sovkhozes with 4,000 to 20,000 colonies that specialize in the production of honey and beeswax. In intensive-farming areas, such as the Volga Region, the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and the Northern Caucasus, large bee farms with 500 to 800 colonies use the bees primarily to pollinate agricultural crops, for which the apiaries are moved to areas with flowering nectariferous plants. (In most areas stationary beekeeping has been replaced by migratory beekeeping.) In the southern regions of the RSFSR and the Ukraine and in Moldavia, Transcaucasia, and Middle Asia, where the abundant spring and summer nectariferous plants allow the bees an extended honey flow of 2.5–3 months, bee farms specialize in rearing queen bees of the best strains and propagating bee colonies to supply the apiaries of other farms. 

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