When I saw jars of honey with a sticker “Made in Iturup from Kuril honey plants”, I could not believe my eyes. And when she heard that lawyer Andrey Pavlyuk from Kurilsk was engaged in beekeeping, she could not believe her ears.
In response, Andrei only laughed: they say, this happens. About honey three years ago, he only knew that this sweet product was used in the treatment of colds. But unexpectedly he became interested in a TV show about honey, bees, beekeepers. I was looking for information on this topic. From articles on the Internet moved to specialized literature.
Excitement was often tempered by fears: is it possible to do beekeeping in the Kurils? After all, enthusiasts appeared from time to time on Iturup, obsessed with the idea of starting an apiary. But why, after starting a business, they abandoned it: the climate is not the same, there are not enough honey plants?
Andrey Pavlyuk took more than 500 photos of trees and flowers growing in the area. I checked the catalogs, I was convinced: there are honey plants – cornflower, Ivan-tea, goldenrod … So you can still write out the seeds and sow blueberry or mustard, which is attractive to bees. Doubts on this matter were dispelled.
And what about the climate? Having learned that there is an experienced beekeeper in Kunashir, Andrey called him and received useful information. Consultations and one Sakhalin helped. When Andrey was finally “ripe” for a new business, he transferred four bee colonies to Iturup.
Pavlyuk, of course, assumed that this business would be difficult and expensive. But when I really got down to it, I realized why beekeeping wasn’t catching on. He says, “It sure is easier to look after a cow. There is a lot more work here, and the result is seen once a year, and even then you don’t know if it will be that result.”
However, he started doing everything right. I ordered part of the inventory (wax maker, smoker, honey comb), part of the frames of the beehives I made myself (with the love with which this was done, you can judge by one of the beehives decorated with colorful drawings of Andrei). In addition, he made thick-walled bee houses, unlike factory ones. It is not necessary to transfer to omshanik for the winter, especially with an abundance of snow on the island.
This September, Andrey has already squeezed honey. He does not talk about the number, since for him it is not a commercial project, but a hobby.
– I like to spend my time in the apiary. In the morning, you pour yourself a coffee, go out to the hives, watch and listen to the bees flying, buzzing… Well done!
He enthusiastically tells what a miracle of nature – bees: surprisingly hardworking, intelligent creatures. After all, they “remembered” to build hexagonal honeycombs. This is the ideal, most economical and effective form of accommodating the maximum amount of honey in a certain area. At the same time, less bee labor and less wax is required. How did the winged workers get there? a mystery to scientists.
Even watching the bees in the apiary, Andrey assures, is useful. Is it necessary to talk about the healing properties of honey and other bee products? No wonder there is a separate field of medicine – apitherapy. (Here I remembered what I heard a long time ago: in ancient Greece, people, greeting each other and wishing health, said: “May a bee sting you!”).
The quality of Andrei’s honey is excellent.
– It is especially tasty because it is mixed with herbs, from wild plants, ecologically clean.
The beekeeper sent a sample of the product for testing to determine which plants the pollen and nectar were collected from. This will make it possible to identify the most promising honey plants and perhaps increase their planted area. However, as Andrey noted, with the appearance of the apiary, flowers noticeably increased on the site. Perhaps this is thanks to the pollinating bees. They give not only honey, but also no less valuable propolis, royal jelly and wax. Who knows, maybe in time Andrei will learn to collect bee venom. Meanwhile, wax entered the business: Daria’s wife knew how to use it for cosmetic purposes, so her husband melted the raw materials.
So the honey harvesting season is over and then what?
– And after that – the work that is enough to keep you from the workshop all winter – answers Andrey. – The first step is to treat the bees, take care of their nutrition and condition. It is necessary to make 200 frames, stretch several rows of wire in them, cover them with wax (these are sheets of wax that will become the basis for future honeycombs) … Oh, what to list, they say: work – for all winter. And if it’s interesting, then it’s not a burden.
This year Andrei Pavlyuk, as it turned out later, grows watermelons and
melons. I also picked 10 kg of grapes.