The Agricultural sector, as an important sector in the nation’s economy, has gone far beyond crop production and production of some common animals like Cattle, pigs, snails etc. The year has just begun and lots of entrepreneurs are looking for opportunities that will fetch them money.
There are numerous ways to make this money and this article will expose you on how to make money from our wonderful social insects, bees.
Sounds interesting right? Before I proceed on how money can be made from bees, I will like you to have a little knowledge about bees.
WHAT ARE BEES?
Bees are social insects that live in colonies and just like we have a father, mother and children in the family, the bee colony consists of the QUEEN, DRONES and WORKERS.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF EACH MEMBER
QUEEN: A colony has only one queen, whose work is to reproduce ( lays fertilized eggs).
DRONES: A colony contains hundreds of drones and only one is entitled to mate with the queen during mating flight and after which it dies.
WORKERS: There are thousands of workers in a colony and as their name implies, they provide food for other members of the colony, give signals in case of an attack, and make the hive temperature conducive.
APICULTURE: WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Apiculture, commonly known as beekeeping or bee farming, is a branch of Agriculture involving the management of honey bees in a man-made enclosure called Hive. Bee farming is a very lucrative business that has no negative environmental impact. Apart from honey which is a major product gotten from it, there are other important products too, but due to the fear associated with bees, not too many people consider the prospects in the business. Anybody can venture into the business, so long as the requirements are met.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE BUSINESS
As an individual or entrepreneur, you need to have interest and zeal for the business. When you’re passionate about business, excelling is a lot easier.
It is advisable to have basic knowledge about the business and what it entails. This can be achieved through attending seminars, training and reading articles such as this.
3. SITE FOR THE APIARY (BEE FARM)
This is a very important requirement. The success of beekeeping depends on the site. It must be a cool, calm and conducive environment with adequate shade.
4. ACQUIRE BASIC EQUIPMENT
Like any other Agricultural enterprise, there is basic equipment necessary for beekeeping, for better management of bees, harvesting and processing. They include beehives, protective wears( bee suit with veil, boots, gloves), smoker(very important), uncapping knife, honey press etc.
TYPES OF HIVE
There are two major types of hive. The Langstroth and Kenya top bar hive. The Langstroth has a greater advantage over the Kenya topbar because it has more than one chamber. In order words, a bee farmer tends to get more produce from it.
Depending on the choice, you can get bees to colonize a hive after setup, through a natural means by the use of ATTRACTANT. It is made up of palm wine and other constituents. The attractant is used by smearing on the body of the hive using a brush. In this case, you’re not spending money to purchase the bees. Another way is to purchase the bee colony from a trusted apiary.
The SMOKER is a piece of manual equipment that produces smoke and is locally made. The smoke is gotten from jute bags, coconut shaft and the likes.
WONDERING THE CONNECTION BETWEEN SMOKE AND BEES?
Bees produce chemicals known as pheromones which they use in communication especially when they suspect an enemy. The reason you can not go to a bee zone without proper protection and come back sane.
What the smoke which is produced by constantly pumping the smoker does is to disconnect their communication and weaken them till the operation is over, especially during honey harvest that the hive is being disturbed.
HOW TO MAKE MONEY FROM BEES
Beekeeping has a lot of potential for the development of households and industries in Nigeria. Apart from the products gotten from bees, bees are also important insects that aid in the pollination of plants. Money can be made from producing and marketing bee products which include;
1. Producing Honey
This is the number one product of bees. Honey is formed when the nectar and pollen bees feed on from plants and is converted into a storable form. Honey is the most popular natural sweetener in the world. Due to its versatile use, it’s demand is usually higher than the supply. In medicine, honey is used as a sweetening agent in children’s drug. It is also used in the treatment of cough, sore throat, burns, etc. Honey is also used in cosmetics and skincare industries.
2. Producing Beewax
This is another high revenue-generating product. It is gotten from further processing of honeycomb. A Lot of people who do not know the economic benefits, discard it after honey processing. Unbelievably, beeswax has wider use than honey. It is largely used in cosmetic industries for producing lip balms, creams, moisturizers, etc. It is also used in candle production. Food industries are not left out as it is used as an additive. For instance, chewing gum. Beeswax has a ready market both Internationally and locally.
This is a brown sticky substance used by bees to seal up the open part of the hive. It is also called bee glue. It has antiseptic properties and is greatly used in pharmaceutical industries. It is also used in the medical field to treat viral diseases, inflammation, ulcer and lots more.
4. Bee Venom
As scary as it sounds, bee venom which is responsible for the painful stings from bees is used in medicine for the treatment of various joint diseases such as rheumatism, arthritis etc. This is due to the anti-inflammatory effect.
Other revenue-generating products of bees include bee pollen, royal jelly.
WHY YOU SHOULD INVEST IN APICULTURE
- There is a ready market for the products
- It is easy to start. You can start a small scale bee farm with 5 hives.
- Unlike some agribusiness, you do not have to spend money on feeding the bees. They fend for themselves.
- Harvesting can be done 2-3 times a year depending on flowering periods of bee plants and from each harvest, a maximum of 10 -12 (75cl) bottles can be gotten from one Langstroth hive.
However, the amount of money you make from Apiculture business depends on the number of hives used.
Having been exposed to the world of bees, I realised that beekeeping as an enterprise is still largely unexploited in Nigeria. The country meets some of her domestic demand for honey mostly by importing from producer countries while some of our vegetations like the forest zones, which are suitable for beekeeping is lying waste and unharnessed. I, therefore, make bold to state that beekeeping as a profitable venture, should be encouraged by Government and other organizations by training and empowering farm families, especially our women and youths.
👉 When stung by a bee, panic not, try to pull out the stinger which releases venoms in the skin when ignored and you’ll just be fine. You can simply use a cold compress on the stung surface, to reduce the pain, redness and swelling.
👉 When a bee is hovering and buzzing around you, it may not have the intention to sting but where you start waving hands to ward it off, you’re at a higher risk of getting stung.
👉 Once a honey bee stings, it dies off. So, avoid getting stung so that our colony does not reduce drastically.
I hope you have learnt something useful.