MAJOR MILESTONES IN BEEKEEPING HISTORY
Prehistoric

Neolithic honey collecting

  • 13,000 BC Cave paintings dating back to 13,000 BC show humans gathering honey, while surrounded by bees.
  • 3000 BC Egyptian written records detail migratory beekeeping up and down the Nile river.
  • 384 BC In Greece, Aristotle’s observations and writings indicate references to foulbrood, enemies of bees, and that honey bees remain constant to flower species on each flight.
  • 25 BC Roman writer, Virgil, describes the sale of propolis for medicinal uses, placement of hives, and the importance of a clean water supply for the colony.
1400
  • 1400 AD Straw skeps (woven basket hives) are introduced by Anglo Saxons, replacing fragile pottery hives.
– 1600 –

Egyptian beekeeping 2

  • 1609 Charles Butler, a naturalist and beekeeper discovered the ‘King bee’ is actually a ‘Queen bee’. He also discovered that drone bees were male.
  • 1622 European honey bees were imported to the east coast of America by European settlers.
  • 1637 English beekeeper, Richard Remnant found that worker bees are female.
  • 1684 English beekeeper, Martin John, discovered that bees make wax, they don’t gather it.
                                                    – 1700 –
  • 1792 F. Huber & F. Bumens, of Switzerland, make scientific observations about queen development, wax gland production, swarming, use of the bees antenna.
                                                     – 1800 –
  • 1851 American minister L. L. Langstroth takes a scientific approach to beekeeping and develops a beehive with removable frames that utilize “bee space”
  • 1853 L.L.Langstroth published his classic, “The Hive and the Honey-bee.”
  • European honey bees finally make their way to the U.S. West coast by wagon.
  • 1857 German beekeeper Johannes Mehring invented wax comb foundation.
  • 1859 Italian honey bees introduced to the United States.
  •  1861 The American Bee Journal is established by Samuel Wagner and has been published continuously since that time except for a brief period during the Civil war.
  • 1863 Dadant and Sons, Americas oldest and largest supplier of beekeeping supplies is founded in Hamilton, Illinois by Charles Dadant.
  • 1865 Abbe Collin designs the first Queen excluder for beehives in France.
  • 1866 Major Franz von Hruschka of Austria, developed the centrifugal honey extractor, designed for the 10” x 10” Austrian frames.
  • 1868 A. I. Root designed centrifugal extractor for Langstroth frames, and put gears from an apple parer on top, thereby giving geared leverage to the user. Root’s extractor was the first all-metal extractor.
  • 1873 New Yorker, Moses Quinby, developed, but did not patent, the first bellows-type smoker.
  • Gleanings in Bee Culture is started by A. I. Root
  • 1878 Tracy F. Bingham patented the direct draft bee smoker.
  •  1879 A. I. Root published his book, “ABC of Bee Culture.” This book continues to be updated in the present day as “The ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture.”
  • 1887 The British W.B.C. Hive design was launched.
  •  1891 E. C. Porter of Illinois, developed the leaf-spring bee escape to clear bees from supers, still in use precisely as designed by Porter.
  • 1896 E.B. Weed of New York State develops rollers for imprinting a continuous sheet of wax foundation of uniform thickness.
  • 1890‘s In the late 1890’s, the A.I. Root company started selling beekeeping equipment produced by competitor Dadant and Sons.
– 1900 –
  • 1904 First observed on the Isle of Wight, a mysterious illness known as ‘Isle of Wight disease’ was seen in honey bees.
  • 1907 U.S. Beekeeper Nephi Miller moves hives to increase their production, and popularizes migratory beekeeping in the United States.
  • 1919 Brother Adam, German born Benedictine monk, (Buckfast Abbey, England) created the first strain of Buckfast honey bees.
  • 1920‘s Root and Dadant improve on the idea of wire reinforcing the wax foundation.Beekeeping 1921
  • 1921 ‘Isle of Wight disease’ discovered to be caused by a parasitic mite, know to us as a Tracheal mite.
  • 1935 Canadian Elton Dyce, developed the creamed honey formulas for soft ‘spun’ semi- granulated honey.
  • 1937 The Eastern Missouri Beekeeping Association is founded.
  • 1945 Austrian scientist Karl von Frish discovers the bee waggle dance.
  • 1946 The British “National” hive is launched.
  • 1948 The book, “Beekeeping for All”, by Abbe Warre, is printed and introduced the Warre hive.
  • 1957 The accidental release of 26 African (Tanganyikan) Queens into Brazil’s feral bee population, begins the spread of defensive Africanized genetics into the Americas.
  • 1984 The tracheal mite is discovered in the United States.
  • 1985 The first Africanized bees in the United States were discovered in the San Joaquin Valley of California.
  • 1987 Varroa mites discovered in the United States.
  • 1996 The Small hive beetle, endemic to sub-Saharan Africa, introduced into the United States.
  •  1998 As of this time, most U.S. States prohibited the use of skeps because they can not be inspected for disease and parasites.

2000

  • 2006 CCD or Colony Collapse Disorder was originally found in western honey bee colonies in North America.