Article - BEES
Beekeeping has been practiced in Israel for thousands of years and is frequently mentioned in the Bible. Israel, in fact is often called "a land flowing with milk and honey."
The honeybee is a social creature who lives out its life in the highly organized and wonderfully developed world of the beehive. Each hive contains tens of thousands of female workers, hundreds of males and a single queen bee. One of the main functions of the worker-bees is to collect nectar for the production of honey, to serve as food for themselves and for storage purposes, and also pollen with which they produce a special jelly to feed their larvae. They also produce the wax used to build the honeycomb for the hive.
The males fertilize the queen bee. The queen is the biggest of all the bees in the hive and she lays eggs and produces the population of the hive. The secretion of the hormonal product "feromol" which is absorbed by the worker bees in attendance on the queen ensures that they have a common pattern of behavior and behave as a homogeneous group,
The bodies of each of the three groups of bees are formed in a manner which facilitates the carrying out of their individual functions.
There are about 80,000 beehives in the country, kept by some 800 apiculturists. The average annual honey production is 2,500 tons, 75% of which comes from orange blossoms and is of high quality. The remaining honey is obtained from a wide variety of wild flowers and herbs, thistles, eucalyptus trees and fruit trees.
Israel's bees have become increasingly indispensable for the pollination of many crops including avocados, melons, cucumbers, sunflowers, strawberries, winter vegetables and seed varieties. The contribution of Israel's beekeepers to food production through pollination is of far greater economic importance than the production of honey and other hive products.
The honey is not only a food and a sweetener but is also regarded in popular medicine as being wholesome, as a healing agent and painkiller. The hive provides us not only with honey but also with beeswax, royal jelly for beauty preparations, dried pollen - for the food industry and for pharmaceuticals (propolis), and the adhesive substance interspersed with the honeycomb - used by the chemical and paint industries.
Among the institutions involved in beekeeping are the Ministry of Agriculture, the Hebrew University, the Israel Beekeepers' Association, the Israel Honey Marketing Board and the Beekeeping Management Council, which is composed of representatives of each of these institutions. Practically all of Israel's apiculturists are members of the Israel Beekeepers' Association, which is one of the country's oldest professional agricultural organizations, having been established in 1929.
The Association plays a vital role in promoting the beekeeping industry in the country and deals with a wide range of problems, including:
· Planning the development of beekeeping at the regional and national levels;
· Determining and applying market policy and setting prices for apiary products on both local and overseas markets;
· Improving the technological methods of apiculture breeding;
· Encouraging the introduction and propagation of nectar and pollen-producing plants in co-operation with the Hebrew University and the University of Tel Aviv;
· Collaborating with the Ministry of Agriculture in bee pest and disease control;
· Supporting research aimed at promoting the technology of beekeeping. This is done in co-operation with research institutes, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Honey Marketing Board;
· Importing improved and selected queens for distribution among its members;
· Publishing a quarterly journal and various reports and bulletins.
The Association works closely with the Ministry of Agriculture, it is also a member of "Apimondia," the International Beekeepers' Organization, and participates in its congresses and conferences.
The stamp shows a bee, honeycomb and flowers. On the tab is the inscription: " ... A land flowing with milk and honey."