Petro Prokopovych

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Petro Prokopovych
Petro Prokopovych
Петро Прокопович

Mytchenky (Митченки), Russian Empire
Died1850 (aged 74–75)
Known forFounder of commercial beekeeping

Petro Prokopovych (1775–1850, Ukrainian: Петро Прокопович) was a Ukrainian revolutionary,[1][2][3][4] beekeeper, the founder of commercial beekeeping and the inventor of the first movable frame hive.[5] He introduced novelties in traditional beekeeping that allowed great progress in the practice. Among his most important inventions was a hive frame in a separate honey chamber of his beehive. He also invented a crude queen excluder between brood and honey chambers.[6][7] Petro Prokopovych was also the first to ever model a 'bee beard' after delineating and calculating 'bee swarm behaviour", inspiring students for generations.[8]


Prokopovych was born in Ukraine (then part of the Russian Empire), in the village of Mytchenky [uk] near Baturyn on June 29, 1775, into a clerical family of priests of Ukrainian Cossack descent.[9] Starting at the age of eleven, he studied at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy for eight years. After studies he committed to a military career. He resigned his commission in 1798, bearing officer rank, and enjoyed retirement at his brother's apiary. By 1808 Prokopovych had 580 beehives.[10]

Prokopovych's beehive system.

Prokopovych studied the biology of bee colonies and strove to improve existing methods of beekeeping.

Ukrainian stamp honoring Prokopovych, 2000.

His main intention was to develop methods that allowed the least disturbance and damage to bees. These efforts resulted in 1814 in the invention of the world's first frame hive, which allowed an easier honey harvest.[11][12]

Another invention was a wooden partition with apertures passable only by worker bees, now called a queen excluder. It made possible the harvest of pure honey from the frames. Prokopovych's inventions represented a landmark in the history of beekeeping and marked the beginning of commercial beekeeping. His scientific work resulted in more than sixty articles in printed media such as newspapers and magazines.

Prokopovych's revelatory invention of the world's first dismountable and portable frame hive allowed keepers to freely inspect the bee colonies and remove honey without destroying the bees. Previously the usual practice was to kill all the bees with smoke before taking the honey.[13]

Commemorative coin featuring Prokopovych, 2015.

Another passion of Prokopovych was teaching. He set up a beekeeping school that prepared more than 700 qualified beekeepers over its 53 years of existence. As a beekeeper, Prokopovych owned 6600 colonies and became wealthy.[14]

Prokopovych was buried in the village of Palchyky, currently in Nizhyn Raion of Chernihiv Oblast, where his beekeepers' school was located. A monument to Prokopovych stands there, and the Ukrainian Institute of Beekeeping is named after him.

In 2015 a 2 Hryvni coin was crafted to commemorate his contribution to Ukrainian beekeeping and sustainable commercial agronomy.[15]


  1. ^ Graham, Joe. "American Bee Journal". American Bee Journal. 105. The man who was responsible for the introduction of comb honey to the markets of Europe was Petro Prokopovych , a Ukrainian beekeeper , teacher and scientist . He was born June 29 , 1775 , in the village Michenky in Ukraine .
  2. ^ Carroll, Thomas. Starting Beekeeping in Ireland - The No Nonsense Guide. ISBN 9781540128669. A Ukrainian man whom I had never heard of before called Petro Prokopovych (1775-1850) was a Ukrainian beekeeper who invented the movable frame in the early 1800's.
  3. ^ "Ukrainian Petro Prokopovych – founder of rational beekeeping". 17 February 2016.
  4. ^ "Fursov V.N. Out of the past. Petro Prokopovich remembered. Review of the Scientific Conference "Petro Prokopovich place in the world of beekeeping", January 26, 2013, Kyiv, Ukraine. – The Beekeepers Quarterly (Liverpool, UK). – 2013. – Vol. 111, March. – P.49-53. (in English)".
  5. ^ "2 Hryvni Petro Prokopovych".
  6. ^ Haydak, M.H. (1957) Petro Prokopovich – Ukrainian beekeeper, teacher and scientist. American Bee Journal 97(12): 474-475
  7. ^ Crane, E. (1999) The world history of beekeeping and honey hunting. Duckworth; London, UK.
  8. ^ Mingo, Jack. Bees Make the Best Pets: All the Buzz about Being Resilient, Collaborative, Industrious, Generous, and Sweet-Straight from the Hive. Conari Press.
  9. ^ Graham, Joe (1965). "American Bee Journal". American Bee Journal. 105: 53.
  10. ^ Ясь О.В., Прокопович Петро Іванович , an article in the Encyclopedia of the History of Ukraine [uk]
  11. ^ Petro Prokopovych Beekeeping in Ukraine, accessed May 2011
  12. ^ 20 Facts on Beekeeping in Ukraine Archived 2011-08-11 at the Wayback Machine Apimondia 2013, accessed May 2011
  13. ^ "Ukrainian Petro Prokopovych – founder of rational beekeeping". 17 February 2016.
  14. ^ Biography of Petro Prokopovych
  15. ^ "2 Hryvni Petro Prokopovych".