Apiculture: Definition & Importance

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  • 0:03 Apiculture at a Glance
  • 0:21 Apiculture Housing
  • 0:59 Not Just Honey
  • 2:13 Agricultural…
  • 3:28 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Bryan Cowing

Bryan is a freelance writer who specializes in literature. He has worked as an English instructor, editor and writer for the past 10 years.

What is apiculture? Why is it important? If you are curious about these questions, or if you have a test coming up that covers this topic, you've come to the right place. This lesson will give you the latest buzz on apiculture.

Apiculture at a Glance

If you think beekeeping sounds complicated, you're correct. There are many important details that a beekeeper must take into consideration when working with bees. While apiculture, a fancy way of saying beekeeping, can be lucrative, it also benefits the environment in a few important ways.

Apiculture Housing

One of the first important details about beekeeping is where the bees are housed. One option is to harvest wild honey from natural hives. Natural hives happen in trees, fallen logs, and even underground. Since the location and structure of a wild hive makes it challenging to collect, this is not a common method in modern times. In fact, many wild hives have to be destroyed in order to collect the honey.

Since wild harvesting is destructive and not very sustainable, most apiculturists use human-made hives to raise bees. The most common hive is simply a wooden box with wire screens to help separate the different parts of the hive.

Not Just Honey

While most people automatically think of honey, bees also create a number of other products for apiculturists to collect. One such product is called propolis, a reddish sort of resin the bees make from tree buds. Bees create and use propolis to help seal small cracks in the honeycombs. Propolis is touted by some as a natural remedy for skin infections. The FDA says otherwise, but this doesn't stop people from purchasing the product.

Another resource that apiculturists are concerned with is pollen. If you have ever seen a bee covered in yellow dust, you already know what pollen looks like. Pollen is the sperm of a male flower, and when bees rove from blossom to blossom, they collect the pollen to bring back to the hive as food. Apiculturists can collect pollen and sell it for supposed alternative health benefits.

Royal jelly is another product the bees create. This product is created by worker bees and fed to all of the larvae in the hive. If the larva is a queen bee, worker bees will continue to feed it royal jelly while drone and worker larvae are only fed royal jelly for about three days. Royal jelly is collected by apiculturists and sold as a supplement with various (mostly disputed) health benefit claims.

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