Breeding in Apiculture

About Beekeeping

​Beekeeping activities have been carried out by Anatolian people as a tradition since time immemorial. Although it has a long history, the improvement of the sector has been made progress by the help of scientific and technological developments for last centuries. Beekeeping which is an agricultural activity and production area by its technical definition can be defined as “art for being able to benefiting from honey bees and managing them”. The main purpose of this sector is maximum income by minimum expense in this sector.

Technical beekeeping and the success are interconnected factors. The level of these two factors determines the level of income. It is impossible to talk

about success and income without experience, knowledge and technical methods in beekeeping sector. Unprofessional, ordinary and old style beekeeping activities can be carried out by everyone, however technical and successful beekeeping can be only performed by the ones who are well-informed and experienced.

Honey bees produce and collect many healthy and nutritious products for human health such as honey, bee wax, royal jelly, pollen, bee gum (propolis), bee venom, etc. Also, they have vital importance for natural balance and agricultural production as pollinators.    Therefore, honey bees are used all around the world in order to benefit from abovementioned bee products and to increase both quality and quantity of crop production.

Beekeeping is more important for our country in which agriculture is a crucial sector and where half of the population lives in the villages. Beekeeping is more advantageous for the villagers who live in the villages which are disadvantageous in terms of soil capacity or near forests or within the forests. Since, beekeeping is not dependent on soil. At the beginning, there is no need for high capital. Each individual within a society such as male-female, young-old, educated-uneducated, etc can perform these activities. It provides the cheapest employment potential in the agricultural sector. After a year, producers can earn income.  As a result, beekeeping is one of the most important agricultural activities because of these advantages.

On the other hand, Turkey has a very rich vegetation cover and different climatic zones. Therefore, these factors contribute improvement of beekeeping in the country. Thus, our hive stock and honey production have doubled for last 10 years. Also, Turkey ranks as the fourth country in the world in terms of hive stock and honey production. When production amounts and prices are taken into consideration, annual honey and bee wax production contributed to national economy with a figure of 140 billion TL in 2000. This contribution can be increased by 2-3 folds by increasing honey production per hive. When substantial contributions of beekeeping are considered, it is estimated that total contribution of this sector to the national economy is around 500 quadrillions.

The number of beekeepers in our country has been increasing day by day. However, the main rule is starting beekeeping activities properly. New beekeeper must have 5-10 colonies for the first year. He must work with an experienced beekeeper and the first year of the beekeeper must be a year for being informed and gaining experience. Without knowledge and experience, it is not reasonable to have many colonies. The most suitable time for purchasing bees is early spring. Bees can be provided from local beekeepers who sell bees and swarms or from private firms or public institutions during spring. The most critical point which must be paid attention while purchasing bee or colony is to buy bees which are free from the diseases. Also, it is advised that the hives must be manufactured in the form of standard Langstroth hive or bought in this form. During the first year, the beekeepers acquire knowledge and gain experience with their few hives. In the coming years, the number of hives must be increased. The beekeeper must have at least 50-60 colonies in order to earn income in this sector.​

Queen Bee Breeding

​In order to increase efficiency in beekeeping activities, the main rule is to have a breeding bred which can adapt to the region and of which genetic potential is known.

The climates of the regions of Eastern Anatolia, Central Anatolia, Aegean and Mediterranean differ from each other exceptionally.

Especially, the bee colonies which

located in these four regions for centuries adapted themselves to the climate and flora of aforesaid regions. Therefore, unique races which adapted to the climate and flora of these regions emerged and these races had different behaviors in terms of physiological aspects. The relation with the flora not only affected physiological behaviors but also the morphology of the bees. The olfactory of Caucasian bee could collect nectar of Trifolium and sea bees became resistant to coumarin within Rhododendron. Central Anatolia bee adapted to benefit from nectar flow of the flowers of May and June. Muğla bee adapted to Marchalina hellenica secretion (honeydew) during September and October and it indexed to this season and the number of this race has been increasing rapidly.

Migratory bees have taken around their colonies within the country where the flowers are present in order to get more honey for last 30-40 years

Domestic bees which were eco-type of each region hybridized with the bees of migratory bees during swarm season. Ecotypes which became more productive after natural selection by adapting to their regions for years hybridized with migratory bees. Mating of queen bees during flying around with a distance of 3-8 km is a natural behavior, so hybridization is inevitable.  As a result of uncontrolled hybridization, ineffectiveness and degeneration occurred.  Therefore, ecotypes which were resistant to environmental conditions lost their originality because of migratory beekeeping and next crossbred generations became dominant. As a result, the complaints of the beekeepers mainly focus on bee stock which swarms very quickly during nectar flow of summer in Central and Eastern Anatolia but not stocks up honey, also which swarms more during autumn without enough stock, also which is non-durable against winter conditions and dies.

Migratory beekeeping, breeding queen bee production and breeding queen bee utilization are main factors for the development of beekeeping sector in our country.