BICA CSR | Interview with our beekeeper, Cvetan Ivanov

A few months ago BICA adopted a hive! As it is one of the most important animals for our survival, we wanted to get closer to the process, technicalities and the daily life of our beekeeper, Cvetan Ivanov. It is his lifelong mission to take care of bees and he shared his passion with us on preserving them, the difficulties and the many, many stings.

1. How many beehives do you have and how did you start?

My grandfather was a beekeeper. The first hive was given to the family in the 1920s as a wedding gift. Since then, every man in the family has accepted the mission to look after the 100 year-old beehive. My family went through some difficult times — in the 1990s there was a virus and we lost almost everything to it. However, with lots of love and persistence, today we have over 100 beehives.

2. What is the hardest part when it comes to beekeeping?

Harvesting the honey. In the busy periods, my day starts around 9 am up until sundown. There is always something to do around here. In the Summer they are pretty calm — we release them from the harvest and they diligently gather the new one. You have to be careful when removing the bees from the honey supers’ frames. There are different methodologies, however, I do it one by one to remove the bees from each frame full of capped honey. Back in the 1970’s almost every household had a beehive and it was relatively easier. Nowaday, they require care of all types — medicine, essential oils, etc.. It’s good to transfer the bees to a new hive every now and then.

3. What is the most enjoybable part?

Examination, observance and finding them all in a healthy condition. I consider them all as my own children. This is my passion and I am happy that there are young people like you interested in the process and willing to understand why our ancestors were putting so much time and energy into it.

4. Have you been stung by them?

Absolutely, sometimes around 50 times daily when I was rushing and wasn’t properly prepared. Now I tend to be more careful — always wearing equipment and taking my time with every single one of them.

5. What role does technology play when it comes to beekeeping?

The sensory Beebot device can be very helpful for inexperienced beekeepers. It detects issues which depend on the buzzing, the temperature, the humidity and gives real time information of the hive condition. The electronic scales are also very useful because it informs you on the nectar flow and the overall weight of the hive. When it reaches a certain weight you know that it’s time to harvest the honey.

6. What is your advice to everyone who wants to get into this business?

In the beginning of the year, get three cultivated hives and start from there. You will most probably see results by the end of Summer. If you get brand new ones it will take lots of time and energy until you see the product of your work, that is, if it survives the Winter. You also have to educate yourself on their anatomy, life cycles and so on.

The important thing is to not give up — it is up to us whether this animal survives. It’s difficult but yet the most gratifying feeling to be closer to Nature.

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