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A FAMILY APIARY PRODUCES 10 TONS OF HONEY A YEAR
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23.03.2018

A FAMILY APIARY PRODUCES 10 TONS OF HONEY A YEAR

Irina Dundych, 44, from Almaty, beekeeper at the "Dobryi myod” (Kind honey) family apiary


On the start


Oleg and I got married at 19. Having done military service, he got engaged in beekeeping and his father helped him do that. It was his mother who was startled with the idea to keep bees. Actually, he’d always been interested in nature, being a child he bred fish and wanted to be a forester.

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Bringing up Maxim, our son, and working as an office manager for 12 years I was always willing to do something on my own. Management seemed exciting, though it was hard to juggle office work and family life, as I rarely met my husband and my son. I’d never wanted to work in a beekeeping sphere, as it seemed boring and not perspective.

Leaving my work eight years ago due to some health problems, I and my husband went to the apiary in the summer. That was when I saw beekeeping from a different angle.

I realized that beekeeping was the thing I really wanted to do


We were travelling around the country for the whole year, so our son made a decision to be engaged in beekeeping just like his father.


On work and development


We were lucky to have Sergei Alexandrovich Tereshchenko as the head of the National Union of Beekeepers. He organized many seminars revealing secrets of beekeeping and rules for harvesting and storing. Such seminars gather speakers from Russia, Ukraine and other countries discussing various modern technologies. Once my husband went to Israel for training.

I realized that beekeeping is an immense sphere giving an opportunity to study and develop

I created a website for our company. Now I'm engaged in labels and design, articles. My husband and son take care of bees. They transport and prepare honey which’s really a hard physical labor. Hive frames and honey barrels are heavy. One frame weighing four kilograms needs to be removed, cleared from bees and brought to the honey extractor and resealed. About 500 pieces of hive frames are needed to be processed a day.

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We work much in spring, summer and autumn. In winter we deal with sales, create ideas, prepare hive frames and attend seminars. We have to pay much attention to bees, in spring especially, and we cannot be distracted, as it may cause bad summer harvest.

We roam from place to place from May to October and know certain places with flowers blooming. There’s no sense to go to a field with many other beekeepers, so we usually check the place in advance if there are any. Getting in touch with other beekeepers is really crucial, since conditions for honey harvesting are important to be kept. An amount of nectar depends on an amount of grass, so too many bees make small harvest.


On nature conditions


We live in the city. Our apiary is a roaming bee pavilion consisting of a pavilion and a lorry. It’s kind of a car with bees in and a truck carrying it.

In spring and summer we travel with the apiary to different regions of Kazakhstan: in steppes, foothills and mountains


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We return to the city in winter, while the bees are kept in anabiosis in the suburbs. In summer they move in their hive frames, whereas in winter they gather together to maintain a temperature of 36 degrees. They have a queen in the center, and all the other bees move around her warming each other. We leave them honey for winter. All along the winter they don’t get out of the hive, but they fly when it’s warm outside.

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On the harvest


In case the weather’s good, our apiary produces 5-10 tons of honey per season. Once there was no rain in spring, which badly affected the grass and, accordingly, the honey. We had to travel to 15 places, yet had 5 tons less than usual.

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Our main product is different types of honey, comb capping, pollen, queen substance, jelly, bee glue, and wax candles, cream. Types of honey depend on the places bees fly. When my husband just got busy in beekeeping, honey and bee glue were the only popular products, but today there’s a great demand for all of them. Our harvest used to be enough for a season, but these days it’s sold out before a new season comes. We send honey all over Kazakhstan and Russia. We work with retail orders, but sometimes we’re ordered ten kilograms at a time.


On plans


We aren’t planning to expand, as there’re only two people working. We’ll maintain the available volume and add a few new types of honey. By the way, we’re willing to be called an eco-store apiary, so need to get a certificate.

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