What is an Apiary?
An apiary is a place where beehives are kept and managed by a beekeeper. Keeping honey bees is one of the oldest hobbies on the planet. Some beekeepers keep bees for fun and for others it is a serious occupation. Each beekeeper is responsible for the bees in his/her apiary. Let’s explore this strange word and understand why it is used in beekeeping.
How to Pronounce Apiary
The word apiary is often erroneously associated with apes or monkeys. No, that’s not true. To understand the use of this word in reference to bees, first we need to look at the origin.
The base of the word comes from the latin word for bee – which is “api”. The proper pronunciation is : ei·pee·eh·ree
Benefits of Having a Bee Yard
An apiary is a word used to describe a plot of land that contains beehives managed by a beekeeper. Another term commonly used among beekeepers is “bee yard”. An apiary may have 2 hives or 2 thousand beehives.
In nature, honey bees do not normally live in close proximity. Therefore, you are not likely to find an apiary in the wild.
From earliest times, beekeepers learned that having hives located close hive management easier. As the number of hives in any given bee yard grows, possible challenges evolve.
The factors involved in finding the best location for your hives become more important. Available foraging plants, water sources etc all must be considered when deciding how many hives to have in one place.
The honey produced from one apiary may taste different than that of another. Why? Perhaps, different types of nectar producing plants are nearby.
Honey can vary in taste and color from one bee yard to another. Also, the same apiary can have honey that looks different from season to season. Weather conditions affect that amount of nectar produced by local flowers.
Commercial Bee Yards for Pollination
We see this often in commercial bee yards that are placed near crops such as: strawberries, blueberries, oranges etc.
Some commercial beekeepers locate temporary apiaries near certain crops to create these special types of honey.
The major benefit of beekeeping in the United States is not honey production.
Honey bees contribute billions of dollars in benefits to agriculture each year.
For the crops that need insect pollination, having an apiary situated nearby is a valuable benefit to the farmer. This is also a way for beekeepers to earn money.
Even a small-scale beekeepers may earn some dollar from placing hives near a local strawberry field etc.
However, it is always important to discuss pesticide use with the farmer before placing bees. Many bee colonies are lost each year to pesticides.
Whether you are a new beekeeper setting up your first hives, or one with years of experience, your apiary is a place to care for your bees.
Be thoughtful in setting up your bee yard and take precautions to protect your hives from predators: both animal and human.
Many hives are stolen each year. Chose a location where hives can be easily monitored and protected.