Apiculture and its economic importance

Apiculture and its economic importance


        Author: Saad Ramzan, Tahwar Ali Syed, Muhammad Ahsin Ayub and Naeem Arshad Maan  

        Ayub Agriculture Research Institute (AARI), Faisalabad.


  • Introduction:

The practice of scientifically rearing honeybees for the production of honey, along with some secondary products like wax, propolis and Royal jelly etc is called apiculture

Species of honey bee:

  1. Apis cerana F.
  2. Apis mellifera L.
  3. Apis dorsata F.
  4. Apis florea F.

Life cycle:

Serial #     Caste        egg    larvae      pupae     Life span
1Queen    3 days   5.5 days7.5 days16 days
2Worker    3 days   6 days7.5 days21 days
3Drones    3 days   6.5 days14 days24 days


  • Facilities require for rearing:
  • Two story langstroth
  • Comb foundation mill
  • Wiring board
  • Comb foundation
  • Protective clothing
  • Smoker
  • Hive tool
  • Queen-excluder
  • Wire entrance guard
  • Queen-cage
  • Division-board feeder
  • Swarm catching basket
  • Queen-cell protector
  • Queen-introducing cage
  • Uncapping knife
  • Honey extractor
  • Storage tank



  • Enemies of honeybees


  1. The wax moth:

The larvae of this moth make silken tunnels in the comb under cover of which they feed upon beeswax. When attack is severe, the comb is covered with silken tunnels with numerous black particels, the fecal matter of the caterpillars. In such cases, bees absond


  1. Wasps:

Four different species of wasp destroy bees at the entrance of the hive and in the fields.


  • Black ants:

They take away honey, brood and pollen. They fight with bees. When infestation is high the bees abscond. They can be controlled by placing the bee-hives on wooden stands with the legs in earthen cups containing water.

  1. Mites:

Some mites are the worst enemies of the bees.

Control of enemies:

Spray malathion or dichorvos for the control of above mentioned enemies


  • Diseases


  1. Stone brood (fungal)
  2. American fowl brood (bacterial)
  • European fowl brood (bacterial)
  1. Chalk brood (fungal)
  2. Sack brood


  • Seasonal management


  1. Spring management
  2. Study condition of queen, quantity of brood, and amount of honey present.
  3. Clean the hives.
  • Give more comb space if required.
  1. Swarming takes place during spring period.

Control of swarming:

  1. Relieve congestion
  2. Provide ample comb space and ventilation
  • Clip wings of old queen
  1. If necessary, transfer brood frames to a queen excluder and give new frames with comb foundation in the brood chamber.
  2. Search and destroy queen cells regularly.
  3. Place wire entrance guard so that queen is not able to go out.


  1. Summer management

In this period, bees abscond and colonies become weed due to adverse climate, attack of wax moth and lack of bee flora. So control absconding and unite bee by way of two queen system, multiple queen system, better ventilation, ample honey and watching bee enemies

  1. Two queen method:

A condition of two colonies held together but working independently. Two parts of hive separated by queen excluder each queen working in its own territory.

  1. Multiple queen system:

More than two queens in the same brood chamber without partition. This provide better situation, ample honey storage and close watch on bee enemies


  1. Winter management


  1. Protect by packing 3 inches grass etc. and place in wind protected place
  2. Keep strong colonies with plenty of honey and good queen.
  • Unite week colonies with strong ones.


  • Feeding of honey bees

During scarcity period, feed them on honey or sugar syrup. Before winter 2 parts of sugar and one part of water, otherwise 50:50. Put solution in air tight tin or in dishes with straws following on surface.


  • Honey extraction


When honey flow has stopped and ½ to ¾ cells capped; take out frames and remove the bees. Uncap combs with a hot uncapping knife and put frames in extractor and revolve. Honey will come out by centrifugal force

Allow the honey to settle down for 3-5 days and then put it in bottles.



  • Economic importance


  • First year expenditures for 10 colonies
110 colonies with hives

(3000 rupees/ colony)

30,000 rupees
2100 basic frames

(20 rupees/frames)

2000 rupees
310 kg wax

(100 rupees/kg)

1000 rupees
450 kg sugar

(50 rupees/kg)

2500 rupees
5Rearing tools 500 rupees
6transport2,000 rupees
 Total expenditures39,000 rupees



  • First year income
1Honey 200kg/colony

(1000 rupees/kg)

210 bee swarms

(1500 rupees/swarm)

320 queens

(150 rupees/queen)

415kg wax

(100 rupees/kg)

 Total income219,500


Total income = 219,500

Total expenses = 39,000

Net income = 49,500 – 39,000

Net income = 180,500 rupees


  • Second year expenses

Ten more colonies

110 bee hives

(1500 rupees/hive)

2100 boxes/frames

(20 rupees/frames)

320 super

(50 rupees/frame)

4Wax 20 kg2,000
5Sugar 100 kg5,000
6Transportation 2,000


  • Second year income from 20 colonies
1Honey 200kg/colony

(1,000 rupees/kg)

210 bee swarms


340 queens

(150 rupees/queen)

415kg wax

(100 rupees/kg)

 Total 222,500


Total income = 222,500

Total expenses = 27,000

Net income = 222,500 – 27,000

Net income = 195,500


Prices of every things may vary













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