Beekeeper's life a hive of activity
Updated: 2013-07-08 16:53
By Ju Chuanjiang and Zhao Ruixue in Jinan (chinadaily.com.cn)
It's early morning but the sun is already beating down. Beekeeper Chen Hao is doing his rounds, checking on the 120 hives that house his 1.2 million workers on a patch of land nestled at the foot of Mount Taishan in Shandong province.
While Chen checks the bees, his wife Zhao Ransong is in their temporary home, a generator powered tent, extracting honey and wax.
The couple lives this way for eight months each year, following the bees around the country to produce honey.
The honey trade can generate an annual net income of 60,000 yuan ($9,70062) for the couple, who are among the 300,000 bee keepers who tend to over 8.5 million colonies of bees in China that produced 448,000 tons of honey last year, according to the Agriculture Ministry. A total of $272 million honey-related products were sold overseas.
The number of bee colonies in China is expected to reach 10 million by 2015. These bees will produce 500,000 tons of honey.
Born in Wanxi village in Anhui province, Chen began his career as an apprentice to an experienced beekeeper where he worked for three years before traveling around the country alone at the age of 20.
"We travel to five or six places to find new flowers during the eight months from March to October," the 33-year-old says.