RUSSIA – A COUNTRY OF BEEKEEPING
From ancient times to the present day, beekeeping in Russia was one of the favourite activities of Russian people, accustomed to working and creating. Today, Russian beekeeping represents a growing sector of national agriculture. Russian proverb says: "The most essential needs for human existence are water, bread, honey and milk.”
Russia beekeeping has a rich gene pool represented by four breeds (Central Russian Bee, Carpathian Bee, Caucasus Mountain Bee and Bashkir Bee) and six types (Krasnopolyansky, Maikopsky, Orlovsky, Prioksky, Tatar and Burzyan Wild Hive Bee). State level breeding work on development of thoroughbred bees is carried out to preserve thoroughbred gueen bees. Russia is actively developing pollination with honey harvesting, commercial honey production, pollination and breeding industries. Scientifically based bee products manufacturing technologies and guality control in accordance with ever-increasing international reguirements are being introduced, and universities of the country are training gualified personnel.
The country introduced regulatory reguirements for bee products and food hygiene, housing, feeding, breeding, guarantine, compulsory preventive measures and diagnostic tests on honeybees in its regions.
Russia is a country of traditional beekeeping and rightly occupies one of the leading places among countries with developed beekeeping, despite the fact that most of it is located in the high-risk agriculture.
In Russia, there are about 5.5 million bee colonies; there has been a tendency to increase their numbers. Recent years have been characterized by a sharp redistribution of the bee colonies number by property categories in favor of the private sector, in which about 90% of their numbers are concentrated (previously, this figure was within 60%). About 5 thousand farms and about 300 thousand amateur beekeepers are engaged in beekeeping. The average size of the household apiary is 5-7 bee colonies, while in agricultural enterprises and farms it is about 50 ~ 60 bee colonies.
The average outcome is 60-70 thousand tons of honey, 3 thousand tons of wax, 40-45 tons of pollen and pollen leaves, 1 tons of royal jelly annually. A technology has been developed for the production of bee venom, which makes it possible to produce annually up to 100 kg of this product. At the same time, the share of honey produced in household apiaries increased by 90% of total production.
Per capita, these production rate are relatively low. Annual consumption of honey in Russia does not exceed 100-400 g, whereas in Germany and Japan this rate is 2-3 kg.
Given the climatic conditions of Russia, it is possible to receive for a season from one bee colony 3-5 kg of bee bread, 50 g of propolis, 300-500 g of royal jelly and 4-6 g of bee venom.
If we consider that Russia is among the top five countries with developed beekeeping and a total number of bee colonies is about 5.5 million then the gross production of biologically active bee products (BABP) can increase significantly. However, obtaining BABP does not reflect on the value of beekeeping.
Bees bring great benefits as pollinators of entomophilous crops. The area of 150 crops needing pollination is more than 9 million hectares, while the cost of the additional crop obtained from pollinating is estimated at 10–12 billion rubles and far exceeds the cost of the bee products themselves.
The industry currently has 10 bee-keeping enterprises, most of which have the status of breeding, producing bee middle Russian families (Orlovskaya experimental beekeeping station, breeding factories in Bashkortostan, Tatarstan and the Perm region), gray and mountain Caucasian families (Krasnopolyanskaya experimental beekeeping station) and Carpathian families (Maikop stronghold of beekeeping, breeding plant "Kislovodsk"). The breeding and reproduction of bees of Central Russian breed is carried out by the Bortniki farm, located in the Ryazan region, as well as by the apiary of the Black Sea area of the Krasnaya Polyana experimental beekeeping station.
Today in Russia there are three all-Russian beekeeping organizations, several inter-regional associations and more than 90 regional beekeeper societies.
The Russian National Union of Beekeepers (hereinafter referred to as RNUB) is the oldest organization in Russia established in 1891 under the name “Russian Society of Beekeepers”. It consists of 65 regional branches, unites more than 400 thousand beekeepers and more than 5 million bee colonies in the private sector. They account for over 95% of the marketable honey production in Russia.
The RNUB is a member of the Apislavia European Beekeeping Organization, a member of the Apimondia International Federation of Beekeepers' Associations. The President of the RNUB Arnold Butov, since 1991, was the Vice-President and two times the President of “Apislavia”, an honorary member of “Apimondia”. Mr. Butov - Honorary beekeeper of Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine.