Sure economically the extraction of honey is the main reason for Valentin an his colleagues but much more relevant is the "incidental" byproduct of their work: the pollination. The massive extinction of plants is making the pollination ever more important that it can not just be seen as a byproduct when we consider the fact that in some regions of the world, such as China, pollination today has to be carried out the by people because competing insects such as wasps have left bees little chances of survival.
Again: Far greater than their economic benefit is the ecological importance of the honeybee as a pollinator of wild and cultivated plants. Figures are showing clearly what I'm saying here: The annual economic value of the use of the honeybee in Germany alone is estimated at four billion €uros, in Switzerland around 330 million CHF, because their pollination is accounting for around three quarters of the pollination of fruits and berries, and a quarter on the honey bee products. Simply, without pollination no flowers, no flowers, not fruits.
And because of their pollination, the honey bee is one of the most important farm animals in Central Europe! After beef and pork the bee is the third most important livestock in agriculture. Despite these significant contributions to our ecological system beekeepers do not receive in most parts of Europe no financial compensation and governments if they are seriously interested in keeping nature in tact should relieve bee keepers completely from paying any taxes and should even subsidise small businesses when they are facing difficulties. But as usual government only pay lip services and try to raise taxes, support ill guided projects such as TTIP and irresponsible trans-national companies like BayerBioTech and Monsanto how are little by little building successfully a health cartel where they can decide who is going to live or who is going to get sick.
Its like the common misunderstanding that beekeepers would calm the bees with smoke. In fact, only the stinging readiness of bees is lowered through the smoke. They are just more busy and disturbed, because on the contrary, the activity of the bees increases significantly! The bees are looking for the honey-filled cells to crawl into them and fill their stomachs with honey. This is followed by all bees which are affected by the smoke. The drones are leaving quickly and never return to the hive.
This behaviour is explained by the fact that a threat, e.g. a fire occurred and no defence is possible. In case of a forest fire to only chance for the bees would would be to escape from the beehive, which then actually occurs if additionally to the smoke a rise in temperature is happen. The stomach filled with honey corresponds to a rescue attempt and if heat comes, bees are leaving the hive. But during harvesting honey and after smoke there is no heat, so the bees stay in the hive. The drones are not necessary and when they leave it is even better. The beekeeper takes advantage of this behavior to enable a quieter and stitch-free work. This way the bees are distracted and busy that they can be touched without risk with your hand.
High res photos can be downloaded at Teamwork-Press website.