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Economic of Beekeeping Essay

As we know wax comb forms the environment in which the honeybee colony exists. The cells in the comb are used to rear brood, workers, drones and queens and also to store honey and pollen. The configuration of the wax combs provides insulation and channels the ventilation within the hive. To produce this fixed asset the honeybees must convert some of their liquid assets. The weight of wax within a BS deep brood frame is approximately 150g and therefore in the eleven frames making up a full national brood box there are 1650g of wax.

The rate of exchange of honey to wax is 6. 25:1 [1]. In other words 6. 25 kg of honey is required to produce 1kg of wax. Therefore it can be seen that the wax within a brood box is equivalent to 10. 3 kg of honey. Feral honeybees, where possible, use new wax comb to rear brood and then reuse the wax comb to store pollen and honey. The practice of framed comb beekeeping has led to brood comb being repeatedly used to rear brood, cells being recycled six or seven times a year and then used similarly over many years.

This is in contrast to the traditional beekeeping in skeps and the Warre hive beekeeping which have, as a fundamental feature, the annual regeneration of new comb for brood rearing. Evolution ensures that natural systems are energy efficient, so we might ask why bees in a natural environment do not so readily reuse brood comb. Brood combs can become reservoirs for pathogens and it appears that honeybees have evolved with behaviour patterns that recognise that the cost of new comb is less than the cost of disease. This could explain why EFB and AFB only became apparent as problems with the introduction of framed comb beekeeping.


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