Apiary

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An apiary in South Carolina; Langstroth hives on pallets.

An apiary (also known as a bee yard) is a location where beehives of honey bees are kept. Apiaries come in many sizes and can be rural or urban depending on the honey production operation. Furthermore, an apiary may refer to a hobbyist's hives or those used for commercial or educational usage. It can also be a wall-less, roofed structure, similar to a gazebo which houses hives.  

History[edit]

Apiaries have been found in ancient Egypt prior to 2422 BCE where hives where constructed from moulded mud.[1] Through history apiaries and bees have been kept for honey and pollination purposes all across the globe. Due to the definition of apiary as a location where hives are kept its history can be traced as far back as that of beekeeping itself.[1] For more information on the history of beekeeping see the history and origins portions of the beekeeping article.

Etymology[edit]

First known usage of the word was in 1654.[2] The base of the word comes from the Latin word "apis" meaning "bee", leading to "apiarium" or "beehouse" and eventually "apiary"[2]

Beekeepers may rarely be referred to "apiarists" or "ones who tend apiaries."[3]

Structure[edit]

By definition an apiary is a location where beehives are kept; however, structure may vary by location and needs of the individual operation. Many types of hives exist and make up apiaries, for more information on specific hive structures see the beekeeping and beehive articles. In cases of urban beekeeping they are often located on high ground as they require less space than hives located at lesser altitudes.[4] To direct the bees path of flight in urban populous concentrated amounts of bees could pose an issue beekeepers often contract tall fences to direct the bees' flight higher and widen their search for food.[4]

Location[edit]

Apiary (Bienenhaus) in Upper Bavaria, Germany

Apiaries are usually situated on high ground in order to avoid moisture collection, though within proximity of a consistent water source—whether natural or man-made—to ensure the bees' access.[5] Additionally, ample nectar supplies for the bees as well as relatively large amounts of sun are considered.[5] They are often situated close to orchards, farms, and public gardens requiring frequent pollination to develop a positive feedback loop between the bees and their food sources, as well as to economize on the bees pollination and the plants' supply of nectar.[6]

In the USA, there are beekeepers — from hobbyists to commercial — in every state. The most lucrative areas for American honey production are Florida, Texas, California, and the Upper Midwest.[7] For paid pollination, the main areas are California, the Pacific Northwest, the Great Lakes States, and the Northeast[7]. Rules and regulations by local ordinances and zoning laws also affect apiaries.[8] In recent years US honey production has dropped though the states import 16% off the world's honey.[9] Internationally, the honey producers exporters are China, Germany, and Mexico.[9] As in the United States the location of apiaries varies internationally depending on available resources and the operational need. For more information on nation-specific beekeeping see their respective articles, such as the Beekeeping in Nepal article. 

An apiary may have other hive management objectives including queen rearing and mating. In the northern hemisphere, east and south facing locations with full morning sun are preferred. In hot climates, shade is needed and may have to be artificially provided if trees are not present. Other factors include air and water drainage and accessibility by truck, distance from phobic people, and protection from vandalism.

Size[edit]

Apiary size refers not only the spacial size of the apiary, but also the number of bee families and bees by weight.[10] With ample space there is no limit to the number of hives or amount of bee families which can be housed in an apiary. The larger the number of hives held in an apiary the higher the yield of honey relative to resources, often resulting in apiaries growing with time and experience.[10] Additionally a higher number of hives within an apiary can increase the quality of the honey produced.[10] Depending on the nectar and pollen sources in a given area, the maximum number of hives that can be placed in one apiary can vary. If too many hives are placed into an apiary, the hives compete with each other for scarce resources. This can lead to lower honey and pollen yields, higher transmission of disease and robbing.[11]

The size of an apiary is determined not only the resources available to the beekeeper, but also by the variety of honey being cultivated, with more complex types generally cultivated in smaller productions for more specific details on varieties see the classification portion of the honey article.The purpose of the apiary also affects size: apiaries are not only kept by commercial and local honey productions, but also by universities, research facilities, and local organizations for which they provide community programming and educational opportunities resulting on varying sizes depending on usage.[12]

The maximum size of a permanent apiary or bee yard may depend on the type of bee as well. Some honey bee species or races fly farther than others. A circle around an apiary with a three-mile (5 km) foraging radius covers 28 square miles (73 km2). A good rule of thumb is to have no more than 25–35 hives in a permanent apiary, although migrating beekeepers may temporarily place one hundred hives into a location with a good nectar flow.   

Disease and Decline[edit]

Apiaries may decline due to a scarcity of resources which can lead to robbing of other nearby hives. This is especially an issue in urban areas where there maybe a limited amount of resources for bees and a large number of hives many be affected.[13]

Apiaries may suffer from wide variety of diseases and infestations. In recent years Colony Collapse Disorder due to pesticide resistant mites have ravenged bee populations.[14] Beyond mites there are a wide variety of diseases which many affect the hives and lead to the decline or collapse of a colony. For this reason many beekeepers choose to keep apiaries of limited size to avoid mass infection or infestation. For more information on diseases which affect bee populations see the List of diseases of the honey bee.

External links[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kritsky, Gene (2017). "Beekeeping from Antiquity Through the Middle Ages". Annual Review of Entomology: 249–264. 
  2. ^ a b "Definition of APIARY". www.merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2017-10-29. 
  3. ^ "Apiarist definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary". www.collinsdictionary.com. Retrieved 2017-10-30. 
  4. ^ a b "Massachusetts Beekeepers Association Best Management Practices" (PDF). Massachusetts Beekeepers Association Best Management Practices. 1: 1–6. March 22, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Massachusetts Beekeepers Association Best Management Practices" (PDF). Massachusetts Beekeepers Association Best Management Practices. 1: 1–6. March 22, 2014. 
  6. ^ AGR (2016-04-27). "Apiary Program (honey bees)". Energy and Environmental Affairs. Retrieved 2017-10-29. 
  7. ^ a b "U.S. Honey Industry Report - 2016 | Bee Culture". Bee Culture. 2017-04-24. Retrieved 2017-10-29. 
  8. ^ "Beekeeping 101: Supplies, Plans and How To". Popular Mechanics. 2015-01-29. Retrieved 2017-10-30. 
  9. ^ a b "Honey: World Production, Top Exporters, Top Importers, and United States Imports by Country". World Trade Daily. 2012-07-28. Retrieved 2017-10-30. 
  10. ^ a b c Popescu A. 2013, RESEARCH CONCERNIG APIARY SIZE, HONEY YIELD AND BEEKEEPERS’ INCOME IN TELEORMAN COUNTY. Scientific Papers. Series "Management, Economic Engineering in Agriculture and rural development", Vol. 13 ISSUE 1, PRINT ISSN 2284-7995, 293-300.
  11. ^ "Massachusetts Beekeepers Association Best Management Practices" (PDF). Massachusetts Beekeepers Association Best Management Practices. 1: 1–6. 2014-03-22. 
  12. ^ AGR (2016-04-27). "Apiary Program (honey bees)". Energy and Environmental Affairs. Retrieved 2017-10-29. 
  13. ^ "Massachusetts Beekeepers Association Best Management Practices" (PDF). Massachusetts Beekeepers Association Best Management Practices. 1: 1–6. March 22, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Natural Beekeeping in Your Backyard - Homesteading and Livestock - MOTHER EARTH NEWS". Mother Earth News. Retrieved 2017-10-30.