The History of Beekeeping
Some Historical Beekeepers
Roger Owens
North Alabama Beekeepers Symposium
August 2014
The History of Beekeeping
“In my years of study and fascination with
honeybees, I am always reminded from time to
time there is always something new to learn or
discover. Maybe that is how it is with nature.
But the more I study the work of beekeepers that
preceded us, the more I believe they had this
figured out.”
Roger Owens
The History of Beekeeping
How far back does mans
relationship with honeybees go?
This picture of a cave painting in
a cave located in Spain has been
dated at 7,000 B.C. But many
have been found around the
The History of Beekeeping
Honey Bees trapped in
The Honeybee has been
around for a along time as
indicated by the fossils and
bees trapped in amber.
A Fossil of a Honey
The History of Beekeeping
The Egyptians documented in their tombs and
buildings the importance of the honeybee in
there society.
The History of Beekeeping
The Egyptians used horizontal clay vessels to
keep Honeybees.
The History of Beekeeping
Natural built Honeybee
The History of Beekeeping
Roman Apiary.
In ancient times, the
colony was destroyed during
the harvesting of honey and
wax. Sometime in the past,
ancient beekeepers learned to
used smoke to push the bees
deep into the hive, and
extract just the comb
containing honey. Leaving
the broad comb, so the
colony could rebuild and
The History of Beekeeping
Antique Beekeeping
The History of Beekeeping
Honey Bee Skep
The History of Beekeeping
Lorenzo Langstroth
invented the removable
frame hive, thereby making
commercial beekeeping
possible as we know it
When he was ask
how he came up with his
invention, he responded
with the following comment.
“It was all made possible by a simple
observation by an observant individual.”
The History of Beekeeping
Langstroth, WBC, Long Box, Warr’e Hive,
Top Bar,
British National Hive, Commercial, Perone,
Darlington Long Deeps, etc………..
Modern Day Hive Equipment
The History of Beekeeping
Early on,
Beekeepers were
mostly farmers, that
keep bees on their
farm to pollinate crops
and to use the honey
for baking, as a
sweetener, and wax for
They used what
ever wooden material
they had available to
make their bee
Circa 1930’s Beekeeper and
The History of Beekeeping
What is Surplus
Many beekeepers remove what honey they
consider surplus honey in late summer or early
This practice began in the late 19th century.
Until then, beekeepers left all the honey on the
hive until the spring nectar flow was underway.
Interesting Facts about Honey
The History of Beekeeping
Interesting Info about Comb
The size of natural cells range from 4.8 – 5.4 mm
in diameter. This varies between geographic areas, and
according to those who kept such records the overall
size has not changed from the 1600’s until the present
time. The smallest cell diameters
are seen at seal level nearest
the equator, and increases with
the distance toward cooler
and higher
Of course
the bee
also have influence as well.
The History of Beekeeping
Natural built Horizontal
Comb Cells
Natural Comb Cells
Natural built Vertical
Comb Cells
The History of Beekeeping
The State of Beekeeping and the
The History of Beekeeping
To lodge a complaint for label
violation – adverse incidents
contact the following:
Alabama Agriculture and Industries
Alabama Department of Environmental
Pesticides are dangerous
for Humans and
What is wrong with this
The History of Beekeeping
Migratory Beekeeping
The History of Beekeeping
The Dangers of
hauling Honeybees by
Should Honeybees
even be moved except at
Authorities first
response is to protect the
public, and reopen
roadways. Usually the
bees are destroyed as a
Migratory Beekeeping
The History of Beekeeping
An interesting way to
move Honey Bees and take
advantage of blooming plants
and trees along river banks
and bottom land.
Many cultures around
the world use this method.
Migratory Beekeeping
The History of Beekeeping
Is Mono-Culture helping
or hurting our Honey
The History of Beekeeping
This is typically
what happens to bee
colonies after the
pollination season is
What do you see
wrong with this area?
Do you believe
this is good
management practice?
Migratory Beekeeping Holding
The History of Beekeeping
Honey Bees use Nectar of
flowers for carbohydrates, and
Pollen as their Protein source in
their diet. Since flowers have
different pollen make ups , it
would stand to reason that Bees
would be healthier with a diverse
Plant Diversity
The History of Beekeeping
The Honey bees
primary function is to
pollinate plants, not honey
Even with all the
pest such as Mites, Small
Hive Beetle and others,
the major contributor to
honey bee decline is
Biocides, and
Management Practices.
What will happen if we don’t
stop the Honey Bee Decline?
The History of Beekeeping
“The skills that a person needs to succeed in
Beekeeping is to pay close attention to details, while
developing the habits of …………
Observation, Contemplation, and
Roger Owens
Historical Beekeepers
Harry J.
Dr. C.C.
A.I. Root
Karl Von Frisch
Frank C.
Harry Laidlaw Jr.
Honorable Mention
Weaver Apiaries
Historical Beekeepers
“ A born Beekeeper never loses his
“ If everything in the business of beekeeping were fully
settled, and we know before hand just exactly the right
step to take in any given case there wouldn’t be nearly
as much fun in it.”
Author of “Fifty years among the Bees”.
Dr. C.C. Miller
Historical Beekeepers
Published “Gleaning in Bee Culture
along with “ABC of Bee Culture” in
A.I. Root
Historical Beekeepers
His work centered on
investigations of the sensory
perceptions of the honey bee and
he was one of the first to translate
the meaning of the waggle dance.
His theory was disputed by other
scientists and greeted with
skepticism at the time. Only
recently was it definitively proven to
be an accurate theoretical analysis.
Karl Von Frisch
Historical Beekeepers
In 1905 Nephi Miller coined
the phrase “Migratory Beekeeping”.
Although it means nothing like the
Migratory Beekeeping of today.
“I learned at an early age that
research, learning, and application
of natural principles could make my
efforts fruitful.”
Founded Miller Honey
Company in Utah, and is still
operated today by his family.
Nephi Miller
Historical Beekeepers
“Understanding of the relationship of cause
and effect”.
“When on becomes to fully understand all that is
represented in the combs, he is well on his way to
“Every locality will present peculiar problems of its own
which must be recognized by the successful beekeeper.”
“Beekeeping requires careful attention to
Authored many books, like “American
Honey Plants”, “Practical Queen Rearing”, “A
Living from Bees”, and was Iowa’s first Bee
Frank C. Pellett
Historical Beekeepers
He was interested in bee
breeding and worked with his
grandfather, Charles Quinn. They
experimented with mating queen
bees and control breeding and
developed what became know as
the Quinn-Laidlaw hand-mating
Known as “the father of
honey bee genetics”.
Laidlaw published his classic
text “Queen Rearing” in 1950.
Harry Laidlaw Jr.
Historical Beekeepers
Life long Beekeeper, and a pioneer in
the study of pollination, and was a leader in
the fight against DDT.
Successfully transported and supplied
Honey Bees using his own aircraft, not trains.
Author of “Bees are my business”
published in 1955, described his life as a
beekeeper, and the growth of his business.
Harry J. Whitcombe
Historical Beekeepers
Early 1960’s beehives headed to
Jim Bunch operated a 28,000
colony operations from the mid
1940’s until his death at 82 years
Jim Bunch
Jim Bunch and his father Len early
Historical Beekeepers
“If we are going to live so intimately with these we
chemicals – eating and drinking them, taking them into
the very marrow of our bones – we had better know
something about their nature and power”
Rachael Carson
The History of Beekeeping
Some Historical Beekeepers
Roger Owens
North Alabama Beekeepers Symposium
August 2014