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Additional resources for A Practical Manual of Beekeeping
They also provide humans with some of the most important products on earth: honey, beeswax, pollen, propolis, venom and (perhaps for future investigation) silk. In some countries their brood is eaten, and so food can be added to this list. But they also provide us with pollination services without which some 75% of crops in some countries wouldn’t exist. In the main, beekeepers start by producing honey and then perhaps move on to other products when they have more experience with bees. This chapter outlines all that the honey-bee can produce and should give you some ideas to think about once you become more experienced.
She also engages in housework, such as hive-cleaning duties that include, for some, undertaker bee duties or the removal of dead bees. She then engages in ventilation and fanning duties, and produces wax. Workers can synthesize the sugars in nectar and honey into beeswax, which they extrude through glands underneath their abdomens. Each worker has four ‘wax mirrors’ from which wax is extruded. Wax is employed to build comb that is used as a nursery for brood, as a store for pollen, a store for honey and as a surface on which to live in the hive.
House bees pack down the pollen and cover it with a light cover of honey in order to preserve it. The pollen is stored near the brood nest and it disappears at a fast rate for use as food. It provides protein, starch, vitamins, minerals and fat in the bees’ diet, and the availability of pollen – especially in the early spring for the brood – is something the beekeeper must ensure by the location of the hives. Get to know your early pollen plants, such as gorse, rock rose and willow. ) These small pollen grains can be removed from the bees’ legs as they enter the hive and collected in what is known as a pollen trap.