• Issue: February 1983
  • designer: D. Ben Hador
  • Stamp size: 40 x 25.7 mm
  • Plate no.: 47
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: Government Printers
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

Bee-keeping has been practised in Israel for thousands of years and is frequently mentioned in the Bible. Israel, in fact is often called "a land flowing with milk and honey".

The honeybee is a social creature who lives out its life in the highly organized and wonderfully developed world of the beehive. Each hive contains tens of thousands of female workers, hundreds of males and a single Queen Bee. One of the main functions of the worker-bees is to collect nectar for the production of honey, to serve as food for themselves and for storage purposes, and also pollen with which they produce a special jelly to feed their larvae. They also produce, in their bodies, the wax used to build the honeycomb for the hive.

The males have the function of fertilizing the Queen Bee. The Queen is the biggest of all the bees in the hive and her function is to lay eggs and produce the population of the hive. The secretion of the hormonal product "feromol" which is absorbed by the worker bees in attendance on the Queen ensures that they have a common pattern of behaviour and behave as a homogeneous group.

The bodies of each of the three groups of bees are formed in a manner which facilitates the carrying out of their individual functions.

There are about 80,000 bee-hives in the country, kept by some 800 apiculturists. The average annual honey production is 2500 tons, 75% of which comes from orange blossoms and is of high quality. The remaining honey is obtained from a wide variety of wild flowers and herbs, thistles, eucalyptus trees and orchards.

Israel's bees have become increasingly indispensable for the pollination of many crops including avocados, melons, cucumbers, sunflowers, strawberries, winter vegetables and seed varieties. The contribution of Israel's bee-keepers to food production through pollination is of far greater economic importance than the production of honey and other hive products.

The Honey is not only a food and a sweetener but is also regarded in popular medicine as being good for the health, as a healing agent and painkiller. The hive provides us not only with honey but also with beeswax, royal jelly - for beauty preparations, dried pollen - for the food industry and for pharmaceuticals (propolis) and the adhesive substance interspersed with the honeycomb - used by the chemical and paint industries.

Among the institutions involved in bee-keeping are the Ministry of Agriculture, the Hebrew University, the Israel Bee-keepers Association, the Israel Honey Marketing Board and the Bee-keeping Management Council, which is composed of representatives of each of these institutions. Practically all of Israel's apiculturists are members of the Israel Bee-keepers' Association, which is one of the country's professional agricultural organizations having been established in 1 929.

The Association plays a vital role in promoting the bee-keeping industry in the country and deals with a wide range of problems including:

The Association works closely with the Ministry of Agriculture; it is also a member of "Apimondia", the International Bee-keepers' Organization, and participates in its congresses and conferences.

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