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You can keep bees as an interesting hobby or as a source of income. This booklet provides you with information on how to work with honey bees. In most regions of the world this will be the European bee Apis mellifera, although in large parts of (sub)tropical Asia the rather similar species Apis cerana is more commonplace. Although the composition of a honey bee colony is basically the same all over the world, the management of bees must be adapted to the species and race, the climate and the vegetation. If you want to start keeping bees it is advisable to start with the existing regional methods. Finer skills of this occupation can only be learnt from experience, step-by-step.

Try to obtain information and assistance from a beekeeper nearby. You could also approach your Ministry of Agriculture or Forestry, which often has a Department of Apiculture that organises demonstrations and courses, offers assistance and sometimes even provides bee colonies. The importance of starting at local level and to experience the profits beekeeping might offer is stressed in this booklet. Low-input techniques, implying the use of local bee races as well as local knowledge and local materials, can be the basis of successful beekeeping for individuals and for large projects.

Version 6, 2005