Historical Account

In their excellent review of work on melissopalynology, Jones and Bryant (1996) had indicated that the sweet taste of honey had attracted the early primate ancestors of humans and later humans too. Honey being a nature's gift derived from the hard work of honeybees and plant pollen attracted the attention of users and scientists right from prehistoric times. Cave paintings dating back to 15,000 years ago in Altamira region, northern Spain depict the honey combs and the ladders needed to reach bee hives on tall trees and rock crevices. The probable ancestors of the order Hymenoptera to which honeybees belong, evolved some 200 million years ago. Rock paintings in Central India, regarding human activities showed honey collections, which date back to the Mesolithic age. The use of honey as a sweetener in wine making was known to the Greeks and Romans. Perhaps the earliest evidence of honey gathering comes from the ancient paintings in Egyptian temples, which depicted slaves collecting honey from man-made hives inhabited by domesticated honeybees. Bee keeping for honey was carried out by using dome shaped beehives (skeps) made of twisted straw during the medieval period in Europe (Fig. 12.1).

Early records indicate that Apis mellifera L. subsp. mellifera (family Apidae) commonly known as the German honeybee was first introduced in the New World (i.e., the United States of America) by European settlers

Fig. 12.1 Beehive made from twisted straw during medieval period in Europe.

Worker

Worker

Queen

Drone

Queen

Drone

Fig. 12.2 Inhabitants of Bee colony: queen bee, drones and worker bees.

only on Wax^|ands females underthe abdomen Pollen b

Hexagonal honeycomb Compound eye j 2

only on Wax^|ands females underthe

Antennae

Tube-like tongue (proboscis)

abdomen Pollen b

6 Jointed legs

Fig. 12.3 Diagrammatic sketch of a typical honey bee showing various body parts.

Antennae

Head J simple eyes

6 Jointed legs

Tube-like tongue (proboscis)

Fig. 12.3 Diagrammatic sketch of a typical honey bee showing various body parts.

in the early 17th Century. As early as 1908, Young published a short report on the pollen contents of domestic honey from the United States of America. This was followed by more exhaustive studies by Lieux (1978) who investigated 124 honey samples from Louisiana and Mississippi. Occurrence of Prosopis and Acacia pollen in honey samples was reported.

Bee Keeping

Bee Keeping

Make money with honey How to be a Beekeeper. Beekeeping can be a fascinating hobby or you can turn it into a lucrative business. The choice is yours. You need to know some basics to help you get started. The equipment needed to be a beekeeper. Where can you find the equipment you need? The best location for the hives. You can't just put bees in any spot. What needs to be considered when picking the location for your bees?

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment