At the end of the eighteenth century Nikolay Arshenevsky, commander of the Dragoon regiment standing in Ust-Kamenogorsk, has written of the deck with the bee colonies and sensible Bashkir-beekeeper.
Local blooming steppe and the forest was rich larder of nectar and pollen. Beekeepers have always had a thick wood for decks-hives giving the bees protection from temperature extremes.
Receiving the first and the first swarms of honey, Arshenevski for a penny sold their bee colonies to farmers and the poor people just gave freely. After 20 years on the local apiaries has received over 200 tons of honey and 16 tons of wax. The products of this penetrated to the North, East and West. Merchants “on the other side of the Urals” ceased to deliver to Siberia honey – he could not compete with cheaper Altai.
However, bee colonies, Altai received a total of four to six pounds of honey per season. This is not surprising. Deck-nest boxes were sealed, the beekeepers inexperienced, equipment is simple, often improvised. Economy very dependent on the weather, and had a few seasons, when the bees were dying EN masse. Low productivity for honey seller is compensated for the size of apiaries – two or three hundred decks’vebeen courting one beekeeper. Have a strong master there are two thousand hives or more. Rescued nature – a huge, floriferous meadows in river valleys and foothills.
Year after year the Altai was covered with a network of apiaries. In 1904 they gave about 500 tons of honey and 50 tons of wax. In some places there appeared a framework hive, but most beekeepers worked the old fashioned way. Seriously propel the industry forward managed two exiles from St. Petersburg – A. N. Fedorov and E. P. Michaelis. They have successfully promoted new items, including simple and easy beehive “Altai” of his own design.
When the country was shaken by revolutions and wars of the early XX century, Altai villages and towns of the family tried to keep at least a few of the hives: it helped to survive. In subsequent years, beekeeping has experienced both periods of growth and times of decline.
Now the Altai ranks first in the production of commercial honey in the Siberian Federal district and the fourth in Russian Federation. However, enough problems. There is hope that the regional law “About beekeeping” (2010) will help to solve them and lay the foundations of beekeeping as a business. A significant step in this direction – patent in 2015, the trade mark “Altai honey”. This is intended to protect a unique product and help promote it on the market.
Beekeeping can strengthen the economy, improve the environment and the social climate of the region, to really raise the level of life of its inhabitants. Altai territory, as two hundred years ago, retains a high potential in the development of this important industry sector and become a biggest honey seller around.