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Improvements in Food Resources

Tutormate > CBSE Syllabus-Class 9th Biology > Improvements in Food Resources

12 Apiculture or Bee Keeping


  • The word ‘apiculture’ comes from the Latin word ‘apis’ meaning bee and culture meaning cultivation.
  • Bee keeping or apiculture is thus, the rearing, care and management of honey bees for obtaining honey, wax and other substances.


  • Apiaries are areas where bees are bred commercially and a lot of beehives can be placed.
  • These can be set up in areas where there are sufficient bee pastures which are flora consisting of some wild shrubs, fruit orchards and cultivated crops etc.


  • Bees are mainly reared for an edible product i.e. honey and also beeswax, propolis, royal jelly, Bee venom.
  • HONEY: Bees produce honey from the sugary secretions of plants. Honey is widely used and is known to have medicinal value. Honey is found to be quite useful in the treatment of various disorders of humans that are related to digestion, dysentery vomiting and stomach or liver ailments. It is considered as a blood purifier, a cure against cough, and cold sore throat, ulcers of the tongue, ulcer of stomach and intestine, etc. Since honey is rich in iron and calcium, it helps in growth of human body. Honey is also used as a source of sugar in confectionery items such as pasteries, cakes.
  • BEEWAX: Beeswax is also commercially very significant. It is used in cosmetic and medical industry, as a coating for cheese, as a food additive and also as an ingredient for candles, shoe polish, furniture polish, etc. As bee keeping is a low-investment enterprise, it has become a favourite source of some extra income for the Indian farmers.


Bees are used commercially for obtaining honey and wax and are also pollinators for many crops. Apart from this, it has been discovered recently that their venom can kill the HIV virus that causes AIDS leaving surrounding cells intact in the human body.


A colony has 10000 to 60000 bees. But all of them do not collect nectar. There is a strict division of labor. The queen bee lays thousands of eggs that hatch to become the new bees in the hive and are fertilized by the drones. The drone bees are male and their job is only to help in fertilizing the eggs laid by the queen, and the worker bees do the actual work of collecting nectar.


Honey Bee Varieties Used for Bee Keeping

  • Apis cerana indica (indian bee);
  • Apis dorsata  (Rock bee);
  • Apis florae (Little bee)


  • According to the roles, there are three types of castes in the colony of bee. They are:
    • Queen
    • Drone
    • Worker
  • Queen:
    • The body size of queen is much larger as compared to the other castes in the colony of bees.
    • The queen, being the mother of the colony, is responsible for laying eggs.
    • She lays around 2000 egg every single day of each season.
    • Queen lays both fertilized (diploid, 2n) and unfertilized (haploid, n) eggs.
    • Queen and workers come out from the fertilized eggs, whereas drones come out from unfertilized eggs.
  • Drone:
    • Drones are haploid and fertile male.
    • The size of drones is larger than workers and they are very noisy.
    • Drones lack skills to gather food, but they eat voraciously.
    • They are stingless and remain in colony to sleep and eat honey.
  • Worker:
    • Worker is diploid. The size of worker is the smallest among the castes of bee.
    • They are the most active members of the colony and bear almost all the responsibilities on their shoulder.
    • The life span of workers is around 3 to 12 months.
    • The functions of workers change with age.
    • During the first half of their life, they are engaged in indoor duties such as scavengers, nurse bees, fanner bees and guard bees, while during the second half of their life, they perform outside duties such as scout bees and forager bees.
    • The worker been of hive fall under three major age groups


The quality and taste of honey depends upon the flora, pasturage or orchards available for the nectar and pollen collection.

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