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What’s the Buzz? A beekeeper’s bittersweet job

People's Daily Online)  13:18, July 15, 2013  

What’s the Buzz? A beekeeper’s bittersweet job

Edited and translated by Gao Yinan, People's Daily Online

Wang Qiang, 46, learnt beekeeping from his father when he was 16 years old. He has been a beekeeper for three decades. Honey bees are not domesticated and the beekeeper does not control the creatures. The bees are free to forage or leave as they desire. Bees usually return to the beekeeper's hive when the hive presents a clean, dark, sheltered abode.

Every morning Wang puts on his specially-made yellow clothing, which is kind of protective clothing consisting of veils, gloves, and suits and begins his job. Wang regards himself as the top commander of his bee army, which has expanded from 70 hives to more than 300 hives and each hive is home to 30-50 thousands bees.

He is responsible for assessing the health of the hive, checking for mite infestations, monitoring and treating the hive when health problems arise, and maintaining detailed records of health, medication administration, and honey production.

Because beekeeping is seasonal, there are busy times and slow times. During busy times of the year, beekeepers need to work at nights, on weekends, and in holidays and they have to work long hours during the warmer months, spending most of their time outdoors in variable weather conditions. However, during the off-season, there's much less work to be done, enabling the beekeeper to have much-needed time off.

Most people find beekeeping to be a relatively easy venture. Once the beekeeper is familiar with the needs of the hives, it's mostly of routine. The primary duty of a beekeeper is to keep hives healthy and productive so they are able to yield honey and related byproducts such as beeswax.

The bee industry is especially strong in countries such as China, Argentina, Turkey, and the United States. Beekeeping can be very profitable. Where there are flowers, there are beekeepers that use their wisdom to chase the blossoms and harvest.

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(Editor:GaoYinan、Chen Lidan)


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