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Petro Prokopovych

Petro Prokopovych (1775–1850, Ukrainian: Петро Прокопович) was the founder of commercial beekeeping. He introduced a number of novelties in traditional beekeeping that allowed significant progress in the practice. Among his most important inventions was a frame in separate honey chamber of his beehive. He also invented a crude queen excluder between brood and the honey chambers [1][2]


Petro Prokopovych was born in Ukraine, in the village of Mytchenky, near Baturyn. Starting at the age of eleven, he studied at the Kiev-Mohyla Academy for eight years. After studies he committed himself to a military career. He resigned his commission in 1798, bearing an officer rank and enjoyed retirement at his brother's apiary. By 1808 Prokopovych already had 580 beehives.

Prokopovych studied the biology of bee colonies, and strove to improve existing methods of beekeeping. His main intention was to develop methods which allow least disturbance and damage to bees. This resulted in 1814 in one of very first beehive frame, which allowed easier honey harvest. Another invention was a wooden partition with apertures, which is passable only for working bees, presently called queen excluder. It made possible getting pure honey in the frames. Prokopovych's inventions were a landmark in the history of beekeeping, and the beginning of the commercial beekeeping. Prokopovych's scientific work resulted in more than sixty articles in various printed media such as newspapers and magazines.

Another passion of Prokopovych was teaching. He set up a beekeeping school that prepared more than 700 qualified beekeepers during 53 years of existence. As a beekeeper, Prokopovych owned 6600 colonies and became rather wealthy.[3]

Petro Prokopovych was buried in the village of Pal'chyky in the Chernihiv region, where his beekeepers' school was located. A monument to Prokopovych stands there, and the Ukrainian Institute of Beekeeping is named after him.


  1. ^ Haydak, M.H. (1957) Petro Prokopovich – Ukrainian beekeeper, teacher and scientist. American Bee Journal 97(12): 474-475
  2. ^ Crane, E. (1999) The world history of beekeeping and honey hunting. Duckworth; London, UK.
  3. ^ Biography of Petro Prokopovych




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