Beekeeping in Russia is a traditional sector of agriculture, which makes it possible to produce valuable food biologically active products for the population, raw materials for industry. But beginning beekeepers need to learn about the "honey" regions of Russia, the development and features of beekeeping in the Russian Federation.
Beekeeping development in Russia
As early as the fifteenth century, when beekeeping in Russia was just beginning to develop, it became clear that this industry would become as significant as the cultivation of rural crops. There are several stages in the development of beekeeping:
- Bee hunting.
- Breeding bees in large holes carved in a log (side).
- Well beekeeping.
The framework design was first proposed in early 1814 by the famous scientist P. I. Prokopovich, which contributed to the development of framework beekeeping in Russia. In the XIX century, developed and systematized the feed base for this industry, new methods of combating pests and diseases of bees.
Beekeeping in Russia suffered great damage during the October Revolution, World War II. The number of bee colonies during these periods decreased by approximately 400 thousand. After the war, active measures were taken to restore and further improve beekeeping.
The development of the industry was slowed down by the state of the market economy of the 90s.
Beekeeping or beekeeping is one of the oldest folk crafts, which has thousands of years. The most widespread is the abatement in Russia, because in the country there are many dense forests that are filled with honey bushes and trees, forest glades, floodplains of rivers filled with meadow forbs.
At first, the hunters simply came and “robbed” the bee families, which were located in the hollow of the tree. Over time, people realized that from a ravaged nest, you can get honey only 1 time, after which the found hollows were marked and declared their property.
Due to the massive deforestation, the flight attendants had to think about new ways of arranging the sides closer to the dwelling. At the same time, we settled on the following methods:
- Sawing from a forest tree parts with a bead and a bee family, transferring the latter to your own yard.
- Creating a "home" for bees with their own hands in a stump left by a fallen tree.
At the same time, the sides made by hand were vertical or horizontal. Considering that the creation of such boards was not difficult for the flight attendants, the sphere began to develop even more intensively. In addition, placing facilities in their yard, people had to worry less about protecting bee colonies.
After some time, the boards were no longer placed in the yard, but in the cleared forest glades, which were called "cuttings" (later the name of the modern bee farm - apiary) came from the same word.
After the middle of the 20th century, forest beekeeping began to be forgotten, and storages were becoming less common. But the matter did not become forgotten, because about 2 decades ago the beekeepers of Bashkiria took up the restoration of flight-keeping. Among the reasons for returning to the ancient method, experts note:
- The desire to get a cleaner and medicinal honey.
- The presence of real onboard trees with bee colonies living in them on the territory of local reserves.
- The abundance of diverse melliferous vegetation.
Well keeping of bees is a special case from artificial dwellings of a transitional type to modern frame beekeeping. Non-demountable decks of various designs and collapsible decks were created, which became the prototypes of multihull hives, when a high deck was sawn into several parts in the summer and with time, when the bee family grew, it gathered.
Nowadays, people who engage in beekeeping decks are rare, because this type of bee breeding requires special care. In addition, the success of the lesson is affected by the time the bee colonies populated in the deck.
Nature is very unpredictable and in recent years it has been increasingly arranging years that are unfavorable for the development of deforestation beekeeping, which has forced people to switch to a mixed, framework type of keeping bee families (frames are set in the deck itself).
"Honey" regions of the Russian Federation
Russian beekeeping is most widespread in the territory of the former Moscow, Ryazan principality, as well as the Rostov-Suzdal and Novgorod Territories, where it continues to develop actively to this day. At the same time, in addition to honey, one of the main products of the activity of beekeepers is wax for candles.
In such large cities as Pskov, Novgorod the Great, there was always an active trade in honey and wax, most of which was annually sent to England, Greece and other European countries.
We also note other regions where honey production is being developed on an industrial scale:
In Altai and Perm, the largest amount of product is produced, while in the first and Udmurtia produce the best quality product.
Particular attention is paid to the Perm Territory, where they implement large state programs, the last of which is the agrarian franchise "Development of beekeeping." The basis of the work is the stimulation of profitable farms by private entrepreneurs.
Russian honey market
Currently, about 5 thousand farms and 300 thousand amateur beekeepers, farmers, as well as individual entrepreneurs are engaged in beekeeping. At the same time, about 50 thousand tons of marketable honey is produced in Russia in 1 year (the indicator has fluctuated somewhat over the past 18 years).
Agrarian reforms have led to a sharp decrease in the structure of production of beekeeping products by category of farms and at the moment the main producers are households, not agricultural organizations. As far back as 2006, a significant decrease in the number of bee colonies by 7.4 times was noted in comparison with the previous decade, and this indicator continues to rapidly decline.
If we compare the indicators of actual honey consumption in Russia (0.4 kg per capita) with economically developed foreign countries (more than 2 kg per capita), it becomes noticeable that beekeeping at this stage of its development cannot satisfy the needs of the country's population. In addition, due to insufficient honey collection due to adverse weather conditions, the widespread extinction of bees in recent years, the price of honey has increased significantly.
Despite all the efforts of farms and beekeeping specialization to organize, insufficient state support leads to a slowdown in this process.
Russian honey in the global market
Part of the Russian honey allocated for export is less than 1% of the total production. Instead of a domestic product, under its guise, honey from third countries is often supplied to Europe, which makes it more difficult to assess the place of Russian products on the world market.
The main buyers of Russian honey:
- Germany (shipments have increased recently).
Having conducted the dynamics of Russian honey export over the past 10 years, we can say that the peak of the largest sales abroad was observed in 2015, when 3,556 tons of honey were sold, and indicators by 2017 fell to 1,896 tons. In the future, this indicator will tend to decrease.
Among the reasons for the almost double decrease in Russian honey exports are:
- Insufficient amount of honey produced in Russia that meets international quality standards for this product.
Particular attention is paid to non-compliance with such requirements as the absence of antibiotics and other “pollutants”.
- Reduced honey supplies to China. In the aforementioned 2015, almost 70% of the products sold fell to this particular country. This is due to the tightening of China's requirements for the quality of imported honey.
In September 2017, 2 batches of honey of 18 tons were delivered back to their homeland from the Russian-Chinese border. The reason for the return was a mismatch with the standards for nitrofurans, metabolites, and bacteria.
In the spring of 2017, the General Directorate of China for Quality Control, Inspection and Quarantine was informed by the Rosselkhoznadzor about the introduction of a complete ban on honey exports from Russia if violations of the veterinary sanitary requirements and norms are re-detected from the Chinese side. At the same time, problems arose with a part of the products exported from the Primorsky Territory. Also, the export of low-quality honey was noted from Altai.
Despite the many problems that the country had to face, and in particular beekeeping, for a long time the honey market in Russia always tried to stay in a competitive and profitable state. But the biggest blow to the sphere of production was the collapse of the Soviet Union, which led to the liquidation of a large part of collective and industrial apiaries.
A lot of time has passed since the last “tragedy”, but beekeeping cannot get out of the crisis. Consider the main reasons for this:
- Lack of attention to the industry by the authorities. At the moment, there is no system of administrative regulation and legal protection of beekeeping and beekeepers. To resolve this issue, some regions adopt their own legislative acts that relate to the sphere, but the country does not have enough large-scale decisions and actions aimed at restoring and developing beekeeping.
- A small number of qualified personnel. The smallest share of beekeepers falls on young people and people who, with their aspiration and ambitions, are able to push Russian beekeeping to development. Currently, there are units of higher education institutions in Russia that are responsible for the training of highly qualified specialists.
- Insufficient technical support for the industry, the practical absence of state apiaries. Nowadays, most honey is produced by amateur beekeepers, whose labor is not automated and low-productivity.
- Quality control of honey. In Russia, there are no clear standards for regulation and control over product quality. You can find many scammers who give a base product for natural honey.
A large quantity of low-quality honey from third world countries is imported annually to Russia.
It should be borne in mind that Russia is not circumvented by the problems that almost all other honey producing countries face:
- Excessively high death of bee families. This indicator 10 or more years ago was no more than 5%, in our time it has increased to 30-45%. This is due mainly to the use of powerful pesticides in agriculture.
- Stable growth of expenses for keeping bees and honey production. This includes a rise in price of quality control of honey, as well as gasoline, apiary equipment, and equipment.
- Beekeeping aging, increasing the average age of beekeepers. The average age of the beekeeper in 2015 was 45-50 years. If young people are not interested in this area and are not attracted to it, it is likely that in 1-2 generations there will simply be no one to work in beekeeping.
Beekeeping development centers in the Russian Federation and their features
Consider the main centers for the development of beekeeping in Russia at the moment:
- Belgorod region. It has a convenient location for the sphere and has about 6,400 beekeepers. New programs, projects, plans are introduced in the region, which are aimed at increasing the production of honey. In the Belgorod region, bee farms are created for the integrated production of products. On this territory you can find many specialists who are trained not only in professional institutions, but also in schools.
- Bryansk region. It has a mixed nature, which is suitable for the successful development of beekeeping. Amateur beekeepers are the main producers of honey, which owns most of the apiaries. The largest industrial economy has up to 120 bee families. The leadership of the Bryansk region officially announced support in the direction of the development of the sphere, but there were no special actions.
- Volgograd region. Despite the unsuccessful territorial location (2/3 of the oblast is occupied by forests, and the share of meadows is only 10%), short summers and long winters, the sphere in these parts continues to develop thanks to 2,500 private beekeepers. Most of all honey is produced from forbs, heather and cypress-raspberry.
- Voronezh region. Favorable conditions for beekeeping, such as the presence of a humid summer and a relatively warm climate, have contributed to the development of the industry since ancient times. Nowadays, there are many stationary and large nomad apiaries in the region. Due to the lack of any educational structures to train highly qualified specialists, older people are engaged in beekeeping in this region. But the leading structures of the region are interested in the development of the industry and allocate subsidies, are developing new programs.
- Kemerovo region. Given the peculiarities of the location (southeast of Siberia), the Kemerovo system was developed for beekeeping in 1957. The basis of the latter is based on 4 inspections in the spring: cleaning hives, quick inspection, sanitation, and inspection. Breeding bees in the Kemerovo region is a laborious and complex process, because it is necessary to constantly reject weak families, replacing them with strong and highly productive ones. In addition, their system provides for the replacement of the old uterus to increase productivity.
- Rostov region. The sphere is developing more rapidly in the northwest of the region than in the east. The climate and the flat territory represented by the steppes are excellent for beekeeping. At the same time, the industry is represented by a large number of both stationary and nomadic apiaries. It is the presence of favorable natural conditions and enthusiasm that will allow the development of beekeeping in the Rostov region, because programs aimed at supporting the industry are simply not being created.
- Krasnoyarsk region. It is one of the most productive in terms of creating honey, second only to the Amur Region, Omsk and Kemerovo regions. Beekeeping in recent years has been difficult for the local population, which is associated with a significant reduction in the number of bee colonies.
Features of industrial beekeeping
On industrial apiaries, one type of standard hives is used, characterized by durability, interchangeability of structural elements, reliability and high quality workmanship. The technology for maintaining industrial apiaries in Russia, as in Finland, has several advantages, among which are:
- The development of strong bee colonies, which allows to increase the productivity of the product and reduce its cost.
- The introduction of group care for bees, reducing the likelihood of extinction of families.
- Use of vehicles and automated equipment to perform labor-intensive work.
- The use of a housing method for expanding sockets.
- Special preparation for the winter period, aimed at eliminating the extinction of bee colonies.
- The formation of strong layers with queen bees, characterized by high fecundity.
- The introduction of accelerated distribution of feeding to insects (while sugar syrup is replaced by honey dough made from water, soy flour, milk powder, honey, powdered sugar, pollen).
- Transportation of bee colonies to honey collection sites using containers or apiary mobile units.
- Accurate, meeting the requirements of sanitary control services, pumping out honey, filtering it, and packaging in sterile containers.
- Rational placement of bee hives, quick response with unsatisfactory honey collection rates.
Industrial beekeeping uses professional equipment designed for:
- frame extension;
- printing honeycomb frames;
- collecting pollen, propolis, honey, royal jelly;
- honey separators;
- wax processing and wax production.
An important aspect of industrial beekeeping is the rational division of labor. The average apiary, which includes 3-4 thousand bee families, is usually served by no more than 4 people, and each is only responsible for their part of the work (transportation of hives, breeding of queens, pumping of honey).
Some employees of such enterprises can perform only the mechanical part of the work, not being a beekeeper at all.
Each stage of industrial production should include a minimum number of human efforts, which are connected if it is impossible to mechanize any process.
Industrial bee colonies
Industrial beekeeping requires highly productive, strong families, and some types of bees are completely unsuitable for these criteria and unsuitable for industrial production. Types that suit best:
It should be noted that each species will show its positive aspects only under appropriate conditions (terrain, climate, vegetation).
Swarming is a natural insect instinct aimed at the reproduction and development of new families. This process is difficult for beekeepers, because it reduces the efficiency of honey collection, because of which the basic principles of combating swarming were created, among which the following measures are distinguished:
- providing sufficient dimensions of the internal space;
- timely expansion of families;
- proper honeycomb design;
- full breeding work;
- removal of excess drones and satisfactory temperature;
- seasonal wanderings.
Complete change of uterus
Given that the main driving force of the entire bee colony is the uterus, its timely replacement is the key to maintaining the positive qualities of the population. This procedure is necessary due to the loss of its properties by the uterus after 2 years. When replacing the uterus, there are two rules to remember:
- The change of the uterus is made at the beginning of the new season.
- Exclusion of 2 queen bees in the hive and alien queen bee.
8 useful tips for beginner Russian beekeepers
Not everyone should do this business, because in Russia only certain regions and territories work on favorable conditions for beekeeping. So we offer you to familiarize yourself with useful tips for beginner beekeepers:
- The presence of knowledge. Even an amateur beekeeper should contain not only observation and love for his work, but also a deep knowledge, with which reference books, encyclopedias, seminars and articles on the Internet will help.
- Allocation of free time. To serve 10 bee colonies for 1 week in the spring-summer period, it will take 5-6 hours.
- Start small. For starters, the best option is to purchase 3-6 bee colonies.
- Providing bees with honey plants. It is very important to take the correct geographical position, because the best option even for just a few bee families is the abundance of the necessary vegetation within a radius of 2 km from their location.
- Availability of space for hives. Observing all the rules, evidence is placed at a distance of 3-4 meters from each other and 4-6 meters a row from a row.
- The purchase of special clothing, tools.
- Keeping apiary diaries and magazines. Records will help you keep track of the status of bee colonies and upcoming insect work.
- Knowledge of the weather forecast. To plan a working day, you should constantly pay attention to the presence of precipitation and the like.
You can find even more tips and instructions for the novice beekeeper here .
The legislative framework
In 1995, the Law of the Republic of Bashkortostan “On Beekeeping” was adopted in Bashkiria.
In accordance with the order of the Minister of Agriculture of Russia dated October 19, 2006, the branch of beekeeping was assigned to the livestock sector.
At the moment, there are national public organizations - 2 Unions and the Association.
In addition, the Beekeeping Laws were officially introduced in the following regions:
- Altai and Krasnodar Territories;
- Novosibirsk, Belgorod and Oryol regions.
Pros and cons of beekeeping in the Russian Federation
Consider the positive aspects of beekeeping in Russia:
- Moderate amount of initial capital. You can start your work in this area with the purchase of only a few bee colonies and beehives, work clothes and equipment (democratic prices are maintained in the country for all this).
- The simplicity of the work. Although it’s a delicate matter, but if you attach soul and mind, the result will certainly come.
- Amateur beekeepers are not taxed, you can sell surpluses of their products to purchasing organizations or in the market.
- The presence of favorable conditions in some areas of the country.
Cons of beekeeping in Russia:
- The absence of the Law of the Russian Federation on beekeeping, which provoked a dismissive attitude towards the agricultural sector on the part of managers at all levels.
- A small number of specialized universities and schools.
- Most of the country is unsuitable for beekeeping today.
- Getting started is very difficult. This is due to the fact that it will take a lot of effort, because hives must be repaired over time. You need to find a suitable market for marketing products and take care of pumping out honey. You need to worry about comfortable “working” conditions for bees.
In our time, beekeeping is not going through the best of times, and this applies not only to Russia, but also to other countries, which is associated with many reasons, such as the mass extinction of bee families, the spread of low-grade products. Despite all this, this industry needs young blood, and if you have the desire and knowledge, you can engage in support for beekeeping.