Beekeeping, also known as apiculture, is the honey bee colonies maintenance, commonly in bee hives. A beekeeper takes care of bees in an apiary, in order to collect their honey and beeswax, or to produce bees for sale to other beekeepers.
How on earth one thought about collecting honey out of bee hives remains a mystery. What we do know is that this practice has been around for thousands of years. Cave drawings depicting beekeeping have been discovered in Spain and Africa, dates to 7000 BC. Some of the pictures show people scooping honey out of trees, while few others show people standing, un-stung, in the middle of a swarm of bees. It is believed by archaeologists that these ancient people had somehow learned that smoke could be used to attract bees.
Depiction of beekeeping was also found on a carving inside an ancient Egyptian temple, which dates to 4,500 years ago. The hieroglyphs suggest that bee hives were highly valued at that time. Honey was used as a sweetener, a salve for wounds and important substance for rituals. Various usages of beeswax have also discovered, one of them was being molded into casts for bronze objects.
The oldest apiary ever found is located in Tel Rehov, Israel. It is said to be the remains of a 3,000-year-old large-scale beekeeping site, which dates to the time of biblical accounts of King David and King Solomon. or There have been several evidences on many other ancient civilizations as well, as in the Mayans, that they did beekeeping to collect honey.
Bee hives in early days were made out of pottery, clay vases and bowls. The trees were resembled by straw baskets and rock crevices. These containers were used to lure in swarms of bees. Once trapped inside, the bees proceeded to turn the containers into bee hives.
Beekeeping and honey also played an important role in the ancient Roman culture, as well as in the ancient Greeks. On Mt. Olympus they sipped the nectar provided by the gods-which is often believed referring to honey-as a gift to Zeus. Greek mythology claims that Apollo’s second temple was built by bees. While Aristotle disclosed in his book, The History of Animals, that flowers were located by bees.
During 1500s and 1851 beekeeping grew evolutionarily, as the first giant leap in beekeeping. It was at that time that information about the honey bee life cycle was learned. The beekeepers have since then carefully cared for bees. Beekeeping becomes one of most valued sectors in agriculture.
As the demand for beeswax and honey rapidly increases, beekeepers adapt their beekeeping into artificial hives. Improved, creative designs of bee hives have been created over time to allow beekeepers easily look inside the bee hives. The first mobile bee hive was designed by Lorenzo Langstroth.
By 1850s California was introduced to beekeeping. After that Oregon and Canada enjoys the benefits of beekeeping. Today there are more than 210,000 beekeepers in the United States. They maintain more than 3 millions of bee hives.