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Beekeeping techniques in Saudi Arabia

International Training Institute of the Beekeepers Cooperative Association

The International Training Institute of the Beekeepers Cooperative Association was established in partnership with Saudi Aramco, as a scientific and professional training institute. The Beekeepers Cooperative Association (BCA) through this institute is seeking to raise awareness of beekeepers toward importance of beekeeping and honey production and develop their capabilities and to provide them with new scientific knowledge to increase and diversify production and consequently increase per capita income.

Through this institute, BCA utilizes the available capabilities and takes advantage of qualified personnel to share knowledge and modern scientific practical methods in field of beekeeping. More than 1500 community-based trainees have been trained in the institute since its establishment.

Honey bee Laboratory

The honey bee laboratory includes various devices, necessary to implement the practical aspects of training and research in various topics. The available devices and instruments include incubators, artificial insemination devices, microscopes, food mixers, sterilization solutions, sterilization devices, slide show devices and computers.

The practical training include the preparation of beeswax foundation sheet, frame wiring and foundation sheet fixing as well as how to formulate and prepare nutrition mixtures.

Practical Training Apiary

Due to the importance of practical sessions in the training program of beekeepers, an integrated training apiary has been prepared to facilitate practical training on the latest bee-keeping technologies. The practical training program includes the following:

  1. Recognition of individuals in bee colony (queen, workers and drones).
  2. Procedures of hive inspection and handling of beekeeping tools.
  3. Identification of brood quantity and the colony’s feed stock (honey and pollen).
  4. Identification of any undesirable aspects and ways to treat them.
  5. Management of colonies (feeding, strengthening, uniting and dividing).

Honey Analysis and Quality Laboratory (HAQL)

The honey analysis and quality laboratory (HAQL) was established to test the quality of honey. It contributes to preserving the quality and reputation of local honey and raises the marketing value of honey products of Association members. The laboratory provides services to honey producers as well as consumers.

Analyses are carried out according to the specifications approved by the Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization (SASO). The laboratory holds ISO and other international certificates. It seeks to provide a high-quality service that meets the aspirations of the Association members. Analyses carried out in the laboratory include the following:

  1. Humidity test
  2. Analysis of sugars
  3. Hydroxy Methyl Furfural analysis (HMF)
  4. Estimating diastase activity
  5. Measuring electrical conductivity (EC)

Clients from all regions of Saudi Arabia either send their samples to the Association through couriers or deliver them directly.

Honey Packaging Laboratory

The laboratory aims to package honey products of the Association members using reputed and scientific methods to maintain high product quality and raise the marketing value. The honey is packaged and the logo of the Association is fixed on the packs according to the following procedures:

1- Receiving honey in the Association’s laboratory.

2- Collecting samples to conduct the necessary analyzes to ensure that the honey meets Saudi specifications and standards.

3- Filling honey in glass packs of different sizes and then displaying it in the Association’s sales exhibition.

4- Filling and packaging honey prepared for shipping within or outside the Kingdom. The shipments are placed inside cartons and wooden boxes labeled with the logo and address of the Association.

Honey Dehydration Unit

Based on its goals and its role in serving beekeepers, the Association provides a specialized unit for removing excess moisture from honey. This unit uses specialized devices for dehydration which ensures that honey quality is not negatively affected. These devices are available in the attached unit of the honey packaging laboratory and provide direct services to beekeepers at a nominal price. They are also available for sale in the Association exhibition.

Honey Bee feed Laboratory

The Association gave special attention to establish bee feed mixing laboratory and has assigned many highly qualified specialists for its management, given the following considerations:

1- The importance of feed mixtures to be used for:

  • Alternative sources of protein and sugar, when there is a lack of pollen and nectar near the apiary.
  • Stimulating bees and encouraging them to seek food sources.
  • Urging the queen to lay eggs, which leads to increase brooding and strengthening the colony.

2- Ensuring the safety of mixtures to preserve the quality of local products and their commercial reputation.

3- To substitute importing high cost feeds from abroad.

4- Make available feeds for the Association members and others throughout the year at reasonable prices.

5- Diversifying sources of income for the Association to increase its financial return.

Wooden Industries Workshop

It would be good to mention what types of machine the workshop equipped and its annual production capacity at least for hives The wooden industry workshop is one of the important strategic projects for the association with the following goals:

  1. Creating a new professional area for the beekeeping industry and providing job opportunities for young people.
  2. Providing the required hives for beekeeping, using the latest high-tech devices to ensure the quality of beekeepers’ products and increase their prices.
  3. Satisfying beekeepers’ interest to obtain wooden products with specific characteristics as there were more than 120 products.
  4. Diversifying sources of income for the Association to increase its financial return.
  5. Contributing to the development of the beekeeping industry in the Kingdom and modernizing its methods.
  6. To produce different bee equipment with specifications that match with the biology and environmental conditions of local bees.

Metal Industries Workshop

The workshop specializes in the production of various modern tools and supplies used in beekeeping. Among the most important products of this workshop are tools for sorting and packing, smoking, honey filtering and wax melting. This workshop is one of the most important achievements of which the Association is proud; due to the importance of the objectives of this project, which are outlined below:

  1. Achieving self-sufficiency for the requirements of beekeeping in the Kingdom and the wider region.
  2. Providing high-quality metal products based on international standards.
  3. Providing high-quality and affordable metal products for the beekeeping industry.
  4. Saving time and effort for beekeepers.
  5. Fulfilling customer demands by providing suitable products.

The Central Cooling System

To ensure that the quality of honey is maintained, cold storage is provided in accordance with international standards, a refrigerator with high-tech specifications and a capacity of 40 tons was provided to preserve the honey from both the Association and beekeepers throughout the year.

This refrigerator is intended for the following purposes:

  1. 1. Preserving Association honey throughout the year.
  2. Preserving honey of the Association members for various periods according to clients’ needs.
  3. Preserving honey during festivals that are held within or outside the region.

Beekeeping Equipment Warehouse

Two warehouses have been built to safely store the instruments, devices, and wooden, metal, and plastic tools required for beekeeping and honey production. These stores are equipped with various safety and security measures and are managed through a modern electronic system.