The relationship between humans and honeybees is ancient. Cave paintings in Spain, South Africa, and Nepal, show "honey hunters" collecting honey from wild hives. Over time, man became a beekeeper rather than a bee raider, and apiculture began in earnest. Egyptian art portrays bees, and beekeepers tending to what appear to be elongated hives. Honey jars were found among the many treasures in Tutankhamen's tomb, suggesting honey was considered important enough to be included in the Pharaoh's after life foods. Methods for keeping bees in hives were developed and improved, and beekeeping spread around the world. Honeybees were introduced to Hawaii in the 1850's and a thriving beekeeping industry developed. Bees, however, produce more than just honey for us. Honeybees pollinate many of the tropical crops we produce in Hawaii and consequently they are integral component in the food production web in the islands. Many of our tropical fruits and nuts rely are dependent or benefit from the pollination services of honeybees. Vegetable crops, such as melons, also require insect pollination to produce marketable crops. Pests, diseases, reduced diversity of flowers, and pesticide exposure, threaten managed honeybees. The USDA reported 40% colony losses for 2014. Learning about bee biology and how to keep bees healthy is an important part of becoming a beekeeper. This section provides information, from beginner notes to more advanced readings on beekeeping. Enjoy.
Spanish postal stamp celebrating the pre-historic paintings found in Cueva de la Araņa.
Detail of an Egyptian hieroglyph depicting a bee. Taken from the tomb complex of Senurset I, built around 1970 BC. (Keith Schengili-Roberts in Wikimedia).