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John's Beekeeping Notebook

Ukrainian Beekeeping

In December 1998, I worked a three week volunteer assignment in Donetsk, Ukraine.  Here are a few photos describing some of what I learned during my visit.

Ukrainian HivesUkraine Long HiveThe most popular bee hive in Ukraine looks like a large trunk or chest.  These bee hives contain between 20 and 28 frames.  The frames are about one and a half times as large as the deep frames used in the U.S.

Honey is extracted by removing individual frames from the hives and putting them into another box that is taken to the honey house.   The hives are not normally supered.

A blanket keeps the bees warm in winter.Two bee colonies are often overwintered in one hive.  A vertical screened split board separates the colonies.  The two colonies help keep each other warm.

Hive divided for nucleus colonies.Nucleus colonies can also overwintered in these hives using screened split boards.  Each colony has its own colored hive entrance to reduce drifting. 

A Ukrainian beekeeper told me that nucleus colonies kept with others in this way are also more readily accepted when joining them with another colony.  Presumably, this could be due to the mixing of smells that occurs between the colonies in the nuc hive. 

Wasp TrapPredatory wasps are a problem for some hives.  A bottle partially filled with water and a sweet smelling syrup makes an effective wasp trap.  If the syrup is not very sweet, it will attract wasps but the bees will ignore it.

Varroa and acarine mites are both a problem in Ukraine.  Several of their mite treatments involved allowing a small chemical-impregnated (Amitraz) cloth or rope to smolder inside a sealed hive for about 15 minutes.

Pollen TrapThis very simple pollen trap is sometimes attached to the hive entrance.  Pollen is sold as a health food.

Ukrainian apiary visitUkraine people use bee products for medicinal purposes far more than people in the U.S.  Propolis is commonly sold in pharmacies and by beekeepers in the markets to treat sores and stomach ulcers.

A beekeeper explained to me that a simple propolis harvesting device can be made by placing a towel on the hive, over the frame top bars.  The bees will cover the towel with propolis.  To remove the propolis, the towel is frozen and then the propolis can be crumbled off.  

Honey at a Donetsk marketHoney in local markets was usually sold without any label.  The tops of most jars was made of thin plastic, attached with string or a rubber band.

Honey is usually sold in a granulated form.   It is sometimes sold as a granulated block, wrapped in plastic.

The most common identifiable sources of honey in the Donetsk area were acacia trees, sunflowers, buckwheat and wild flowers. 

Mariupol BeekeepersDuring my visit, I went to the seaside city of Mariupol, where I gave a presentation on American beekeeping.   My presentation in Mariupol was organized by Viktor Oleynik, whom I met through the Internet before my visit.

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John's Beekeeping Notebook  http://www.outdoorplace.org/beekeeping/   Content from John's Beekeeping Notebook may be used for any non-commercial purpose except internet duplication, providing the source is acknowledged.  Created by John Caldeira, Dallas, Texas, USA    john@outdoorplace.org