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Beekeeping remains one of the most important sectors of the economy for many modern countries. The fact is that bees are unique creatures that allow humanity to enjoy honey and obtain the necessary ingredients for industrial needs. But how is the beekeeping industry developing around the world? Let’s find out with the example of modern countries.
Fixed vs. Top-bar Comb Hives
First of all, it is worth starting with how beekeepers worldwide create conditions for the bee population. People used to use fixed comb hives because it was very cheap. It is enough to find a suitable box and install frames for honeycombs there. But the problem with this design is that you cannot take honey or combs without damaging the entire hive. Most modern countries consider this to be barbaric and have banned such a design.
But some countries in Africa, Asia, and South America still choose fixed comb hives. The main reason is that it is cheap. But the top-bar comb hives can be modified without harm to the bees. In addition, many companies have learned to automate honey and honeycomb collection by simply replacing individual parts of the structure. It does not harm the bees.
China is the undisputed world leader in honey production. Until 40 years ago, this country used primitive comb hives and manual labor to collect honeycombs. But now, Chinese bee farms are fully automated. Each hive has a sealed structure with controlled humidity, temperature, and ventilation. This makes the swarm feel more comfortable. Innovation has enabled China to harvest over 300,000 tons of honey per year.
China uses genetically modified bees that are more immune to disease and can produce more honey. Besides, these bees are less aggressive, which reduces the possibility of stings. In addition, Chinese companies have developed special ventilation suits that block out any odors. This is very important to prevent bees from attacking people while collecting honey and combs.
American farmers often use vertically stackable hives because they are very convenient for collecting honey and placing large bee colonies in one place. Thanks to modern technology, America produces more than 70 thousand tons of honey per year. Urban or backyard beekeeping is less common as ordinary people need to get permission to place beehives.
Unlike China, the United States has more environmentally friendly fields. This allows you to spend less time cleaning the product. In addition, American farmers have developed a special method of combined crops, thanks to which several crops, flowers, or plants are planted in the same area. This allows you to create different flavor combinations of honey.
Argentina is one of the largest honey producers. Local companies annually produce over 90 thousand tons of these sweet and healthy products. It is worth noting that local farmers are supporters of natural beekeeping. Only about 40% of companies use modern comb hives. Most bee farms use wooden structures that were popular 40-50 years ago.
Argentine honey is considered to be one of the tastiest and healthiest since producers place hives in flower meadows where pesticides and other chemicals are not used. It should be noted that manual labor is still used in this country, in contrast to automated companies in China and America.
This is another country that is one of the five leaders in the production of honey worldwide. Most local companies choose natural beekeeping technology. The flat territory and the abundance of steppes with flowers provide the bees with the necessary pollen. Ukraine is one of the first countries where the automated collection of honey and wax was used for the first time. Today it is a world leader exporting over 50 thousand tons of honey all over the world.
It is worth noting that the food industry is far from the main reason why people create bee farms. Various components are used for the needs of cosmetology and medicine. For example, scientists have learned to use royal jelly, bee bodies, and propolis to treat certain diseases. Bee venom is also used in tinctures and beauty products. Wax and bee bodies are used as an antibacterial ingredient in many creams and lotions.
Natural Beekeeping Problems
The modern bee industry is experiencing certain difficulties associated with innovations in the agricultural industry. This primarily concerns the use of pesticides and herbicides. Various chemicals are used to kill insect pests. But the problem is that some of the pesticides and other substances remain on the plants.
When bees collect pollen, many chemicals can enter the hive. That is why many of the world’s leaders in honey production are setting up bee farms away from agricultural land. Some companies even have to rent huge areas to plant certain flowers and plants. This requires additional financial expenses and affects the cost of honey.
If international companies do not find a compromise, then prices for wax, honey, and other bee products could rise significantly in price over the next five years. Nevertheless, automation and modern technologies still allow keeping the cost at an acceptable level. Also, breeders have learned to create new species of bees that are resistant to disease and can fly long distances in search of plants.