Bees for Development Journal Edition 118 - March 2016

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Bees for development

JOURNAL

No 118 March 2016

• MAKING HONEY CERATE • NATURALLY KEPT BEES FACE FEWER PROBLEMS • THE ‘BEE HOUSE’ • PRISON BEES – PART 2 • BEST APIARY AWARD

The Journal for sustainable beekeeping 1


Bees for development Journal 118 March 2016

Dear friends

Dr Wolfgang Ritter describes some of the reasons why races of honey bees in tropical countries seem to enjoy better health than those in temperate zones where they tend to be managed more intensively. All experienced beekeepers will tell of the therapeutic aspects of spending time with bees, and Heide Hermann and Gareth John continue their story of assisting prisoners by means of beekeeping. Next the operations manager of Forest Fruits honey company in Zambia describes how beekeeping in North West Zambia supports 6,000 families –

Issue 118: March 2016 In this issue

page

Honey cerate................................ 3 Bee colonies kept naturally face fewer problems............................ 6 The Bee House.............................. 9 News............................................10 Look Ahead..................................11 Learn Ahead................................11 Bees for Development Ethiopia...12 Telling the bees (part 2)..............14 FACTSHEET: Top-bar hive bee space...........................................17 Interview.....................................19 Using competition to promote best practice................................21 Bookshelf.....................................23

Bees for development Journal Produced quarterly and sent to readers in over 130 countries Editor: Nicola Bradbear PhD Co-ordinator: Helen Jackson BSc Subscriptions cost £26 per year - see page 23 for ways to pay

value of bees and beekeeping – see our blog for more details. If you have good beekeeping news to share, then do let us know! Nicola Bradbear Director, Bees for development

Next, Dickson, who runs TUNADO, the national beekeeping organisation in Uganda, organised an innovative Best Apiary Enterprise Award. He tells how the winners were not the anticipated prominent exponents, but rather lesser known beekeepers, discovered to be doing top quality work in their own apiaries. This fresh idea is a good way for raising awareness and celebrating the work being quietly continued in out of the way corners by so many bees and beekeepers. We have our own good news too: in February we organised Bee Breakfast and Bee Soiree events in Westminster Palace – home to the UK Houses of Parliament. It was a wonderful opportunity to inform parliamentarians about the great

Photo: Adrian Pingstone / commons.wikimedia.org

First off, Dr Sara Robb describes how to make an effective honey cerate that helps wounds to heal, and helps beekeepers to sell their produce more profitably.

harvesting tonnes of top-quality honey and beeswax destined for export to the EU with, as EU laws and buyers demand, every drop traceable back to the beekeeper who harvested it. Find out how this is achieved on page 19.

Westminster Palace and the tower of Big Ben Photo © Bees for development

This edition of Bees for development Journal brings an abundance of good news about successful, profitable beekeeping with healthy bees, underway world-wide.

Readers in developing countries may apply for a sponsored subscription. Apply online or use the form on page 24. Bees for development Trust Works to assist beekeepers in developing countries. Support Bees for development Trust gratefully acknowledge Marr Munning Trust, E H Thorne Ltd, Size of Wales, The Waterloo Foundation, and the many groups and individuals who support our work. Please encourage your friends and colleagues to help. Copyright You are welcome to translate and/or reproduce items appearing in Bees for development Journal (BfdJ) as part of our Information Service. Permission is given on the understanding that BfdJ and author(s) are acknowledged, Bfd contact details are provided in full, and you send us a copy of the item or the website address where it is used.

Bees for development 1 Agincourt Street, Monmouth NP25 3DZ, UK Telephone: +44 (0)1600 714848 info@beesfordevelopment.org

www.beesfordevelopment.org 2

Cover picture A woman with her bees and beehive made with support from Bees for Development Ethiopia – see more on pages 12–13.


Bees for development Journal 118 March 2016

Practical Beekeeping

Honey cerate

A pharmacological skin preparation made with beeswax, honey and olive oil Sara Robb, Bath Potions Ltd, 33 Eversleigh Road, London N3 1HY, UK

which means wax. Historically, beeswax, or cera alba, was the wax used, and olive oil the oil of choice in these formulations. The ratio of wax to oil produced a thick ointment used to cover wounds. To the basic blend, selective active ingredients could be added to formulate cerate to treat specific medical problems.

Keywords: Cerate, beeswax, honey, olive oil, recipes, ceratum mellis, value added products The sale of honey can provide a sustainable income for beekeepers living in poor and remote areas. Value-added products made with honey, beeswax and other locally-sourced ingredients can generate further income. Skin preparations made with beeswax and honey sooth skin and facilitate healing and are ideal products to sell at local markets. This article describes one formulation, honey cerate, and includes a recipe for production as well as scientific evidence for its medicinal efficacy.

Cerate has been used as a skin remedy for centuries and recently has experienced a resurgence. A recipe for cerate, which appeared in the 1809 edition of the Royal College of Physicians Pharmacopeia, is shown below left. This formulation calls for nearly equal quantities of beeswax and olive oil, making an extremely stiff preparation. The addition of medicinal ingredients, such as honey, to this basic recipe creates a product that is thinner and easier to apply. Recipes for ceratum mellis, or honey cerate, can be found in medical texts dating back to the 1500s, however these early recipes often contained lead, which is now known to be toxic. This article provides a modern, lead-free recipe and instructions to make a medicinal cerate with honey as the active ingredient.

Cerate Cerate, a pharmacological preparation made with wax, oil or fat, and other medicinal ingredients, has been used for centuries to treat a variety of cutaneous conditions. The name cerate is derived from cera,

Honey as an active ingredient Bee products are valuable ingredients in formulations used to treat skin conditions. Beeswax and honey are emollients and enhance the moisturising properties of topical treatments. Honey is an active ingredient, which imparts a number of healing qualities to skin preparations. Honey contains anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. It contains pigmented molecules called polyphenol anti-oxidants. Phenolic compounds give honey their colour. The darker the honey, the higher the level of anti-oxidants. Polyphenol anti-oxidants decrease oxidative stress and neutralise free radicals and chelate iron. As well as having anti-oxidant activity, honey is also anti-bacterial. The anti-bacterial actions of honey are a result of acidity, high osmolarity, production of peroxide, and the presence of the enzyme lysozyme. These characteristics, found in all honey, can help fight infection and promote healing. Honey concentrations between 30% and 70% have been shown to effectively kill polymicrobial human pathogens (see Al-Waili et al 2014 in Further Reading below). The honey concentration in the cerate recipe provided in this article is 40%, well within the range necessary to convey anti-bacterial activity.

Scientific evidence The functional properties of honey are very likely responsible for the effects discussed in the scientific literature evaluating cerate. Honey cerate, the mixture of honey, olive oil, and beeswax, has been evaluated clinically by Al-Waili and his colleagues. The results of these studies have been published in scientific journals.

Recipe for cerate, which appeared in the 1809 edition of the Royal College of Physicians Pharmacopeia

The honey cerate used in the Al-Waili studies contained 3


Bees for development Journal 118 March 2016

All photos © Sara Robb, Bath Potions Ltd

to mount supporting the use of honey cerate to treat a variety of disorders. Honey cerate’s effectiveness in treating a number of ailments, as supported by the scientific literature and anecdotal evidence, makes it an ideal product to sell at local markets. This formulation can be easily made with minimal equipment and just three ingredients, enabling any beekeeper to manufacture honey cerate for profit.

Making medicinal honey cerate Most beekeepers will have the utensils necessary to make cerate. Image 2 shows the recommended equipment which includes a scale, jar, spoon and pan. Honey cerate is made with just three ingredients, beeswax, honey and olive oil (3). Either set or runny honey can be used in the recipe below. The process of heating the ingredients will dissolve the sugar crystals in set honey. If olive oil is unavailable, it can be substituted with a locally sourced oil. It is worth mentioning that the clinical trials assessing the healing properties of honey cerate have been conducted using a formulation containing olive oil. Including olive oil in the recipe enables citation of scientific papers when selling honey cerate at local markets.

(2) Utensils required to make cerate equal parts, by volume, of beeswax, honey and olive oil. This varies slightly from the recipe provided below, which is measured by weight and contains 20% beeswax, 40% olive oil and 40% honey. However, these formulations are similar enough to make comparisons. The floral source of the honey used in clinical studies is not discussed. It is worth pointing out that in all likelihood any honey will result in a medicinal product.

INGREDIENTS • 20 grams beeswax • 40 grams olive oil • 40 grams honey

Al-Waili, et al have conducted a number of clinical studies using medicinal honey cerate. Their findings are in part responsible for the increased interest in honey cerate as a pharmacological agent. Cerate made of beeswax, olive oil and honey showed clinical and mycological benefits in the treatment of nappy dermatitis, was clinically effective in treating haemorrhoids, helped to alleviate atopic dermatitis and psoriasis, and inhibited the growth of microorganisms. These finding suggest there are likely a number of other skin conditions honey cerate could improve. Indeed, there is anecdotal evidence to support this claim.

PREPARATION 1. Weigh beeswax, olive oil and honey into a jar. 2. Place the jar containing the ingredients into the pan filled with water to make a bain-marie. 3. Heat the ingredients until the beeswax has completely melted. Stir occasionally. 4. Remove from heat. Begin to stir the cerate to mix the ingredients.

Anecdotal evidence

5. Continue to stir until the mixture is completely cool to prevent the honey from separating from the oil and beeswax.

My family has been making a version of honey cerate since my great-grandfather was a beekeeper in the early 1900s in America. The recipe made by my ancestors used lard instead of olive oil. Indeed, many American formularies from the 1800s and early 1900s contained recipes using lard, rather than olive oil. When I began making honey cerate commercially, I used olive oil in the preparation because of the scientific articles published by the Al-Waili research group.

Making honey cerate is not difficult, but it does require considerable attention. All ingredients are measured by

My husband and I are scientists and we are both impressed by the healing properties of honey cerate. We have used the blend of beeswax, honey and olive oil to treat chapped lips, nappy rash, cuts, burns and skin infections. In our hands, application of honey cerate rapidly decreases redness and speeds wound healing. Our observations are in complete agreement with the studies conducted by Al-Waili and colleagues. Additionally, people have contacted me with their own stories about honey cerate successfully treating medical problems. The conditions improved include, eczema, psoriasis, burns, cracked skin, cutaneous ulcers and dental sores. Other reports provide anecdotal evidence, and honey cerate may be useful in treating wounds in cows and dogs. I am sure the evidence will continue

(3) Ingredients required to make cerate: beeswax, honey and olive oil 4


Bees for development Journal 118 March 2016

Conclusion Scientific studies showing cerate speeds wound healing, is effective at treating microbial infections, alleviates nappy dermatitis and relives psoriasis, support claims that cerate is a potent therapeutic formulation. Furthermore, anecdotal evidence suggests honey cerate is useful to treat a number of skin conditions such as burns, cuts, abrasions, rashes and acne. Honey cerate made with the simple combination of olive oil, honey and beeswax is an ideal product to sell at local markets. FURTHER READING Robb, S. (2009) Dr Sara’s Honey Potions. Northern Bee Books. Mytholmroyd, UK. Robb, S. (2012) Beauty and the Bees. Northern Bee Books. Mytholmroyd, UK.

(4) Weighing the ingredients for cerate

Al-Waili, N. S. (2003). Topical application of natural honey, beeswax and olive oil mixture for atopic dermatitis or psoriasis: partially controlled, single-blinded study. Complement Ther Med., 11(4):226-34.

weight directly into a jar (4). The jar is then transferred to a bain-marie and heated just until the beeswax melts. Care should be taken to ensure the ingredients are not overheated.

Al-Waili, N. S. (2005). Clinical and mycological benefits of topical application of honey, olive oil and beeswax in diaper dermatitis. Clin Microbiol Infect., 11(2):160-3.

5A – C show the the cerate as it cools. 5A shows the ingredients after being heated. In 5B, the cerate has 5A

5B

5C

Sara Robb has a PhD in neuroscience from Hershey Medical School, Pennsylvania, USA. In 2003 she started her company Bath Potions which specialises in cosmetics containing honey and beeswax. Sara has a continued interest in developing value added products for beekeepers.

begun to cool and the beeswax is solidifying. It is essential to stir the mixture from this stage through the stage shown in photo 5C. When the honey cerate is cool, it is ready to transfer to small jars for sale (6). The key to successfully making a good cerate is stirring continuously until the mixture has cooled. As the temperature of the cerate decreases, it will become increasingly difficult to stir. It is essential not to stop stirring or the honey and beeswax will separate, yielding a product that is gritty. The colour of the finished product will vary according to the colour of the honey used in the formulation. Darker honey will yield a darker product. Honey cerate is thick and tacky to the touch. It should be applied liberally to burns, cuts and other lesions and applied in a thin layer to larger affected areas. A variation of the honey cerate recipe above could be made by adding propolis, another active bee product. Because this resinous compound is antiseborrhoeic, propolis cerate could be used to treat acne. Additionally, propolis is high in anti-oxidants, and has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties which may enhance the pharmacological activity of honey cerate when added to the formulation.

(6) Cerate fully cooled and placed in containers 5


Bees for development Journal 118 March 2016

Practical Beekeeping

Bee colonies kept naturally face fewer problems severe. Nobody there would call them a problem. For this reason it is worthwhile to find out the differences and their causes to eventually develop new strategies. A series of causes are held responsible for bee colony losses. One important cause seems to be the changed agriculture, with more and more monoculture. The loss of biodiversity means unvaried nutrition for the bees, thus making them more susceptible to diseases. Moreover, intensive agriculture

requires the repeated application of pesticides. Especially highly toxic substances for insects like the neonicotinoids contribute to the generally unfavourable conditions for bees. However, according to a large number of examinations, crucial factors are the diseases that the bees face because of global bee trade. Among them are the parasites originating from Asia: the mite Varroa destructor and the intestinal fungus Nosema ceranae. Neither of these cause any problems for

So-called ‘modern’ frame hives await distribution in tropical Africa Photos © Bees for development

Honey bees deliver an important food item: honey. It represents an essential food source especially in developing countries. Plant pollination by bees plays an even more important role. Therefore, bees contribute to economic success in agriculture and to ecological balance in nature. During the past decades, more and more bee colony losses have occurred worldwide. Some even speak about “bee death”. However, the situation is not the same everywhere. In Europe, as a rule, 10% to 20% of the bee colonies die over winter. Periodically, losses in some countries reach up to 50%. In the USA, annual losses are considerably higher, and winter losses comprise 20% - 30% or even more. But in many regions of Central and South America as well as in Central Africa, the situation is totally different. Though losses occur sporadically also in these regions, they are less

Dr. Wolfgang Ritter Bees for the world, Expert of the World Organisation for Animal Health, Freiburg, Germany ritter@beehealth.info 6


Bees for development Journal 118 March 2016

Africanised bees in tropical America are less susceptible to diseases than bees of European origin the indigenous Asian honey bee, Apis cerana, which has developed various defence mechanisms over the course of evolution. Weakening of colonies and colony losses have happened only with the European races of Apis mellifera honey bees imported during the last century. Everywhere, the importation of bee races that are neither adapted to climatic nor foraging conditions has contributed to the deterioration of the general situation of beekeeping. In South and Central America, the situation is totally different. Originally, there were no honey bees in America. Only at the beginning of the 15th century, the first bees were imported by settlers. These European species were not perfectly adapted to the climatic conditions of tropical regions in America. Therefore, during the 1950s, African bees

could spread very rapidly from Brazil over South and Central America until the South of the USA. These Africanised bees are more ‘aggressive’ but less susceptible to diseases than the European bee races. They are much more resistant, especially against the Varroa mite. Contrary to North America and Europe, Varroa control is therefore unnecessary in many South American countries. The situation is even more different in Central Africa: the Varroa mite existing there for more than a decade is still unknown in many regions or has been disregarded because it causes neither damages nor losses. In tropical and subtropical regions, the preconditions for the Varroa mite would seem much more favourable than in North America and Europe. On one hand, its multiplication chances are better 7

because of the bees’ uninterrupted brood rearing. On the other hand, the mites in the sealed brood cells can be controlled less easily by chemical substances. Besides the climatic conditions, also the differences between the various bee races cannot sufficiently explain the discrepancies in Varroa tolerance: according to various examinations, the known characteristics concerning parasite tolerance seem to be developed similarly strongly. Important differences could not be identified either regarding grooming, i.e. the removal of mites from the body, nor regarding brood hygiene, i.e. the removal of mites from the brood. Other contexts must therefore be important. This is especially obvious when in a region with the same climate and the same bee race, discrepancies occur


Photo © Bees for development

Bees for development Journal 118 March 2016

Extensive, natural beekeeping underway in Zambia: the possibility to swarm naturally contributes to colony health between different management methods. This could be shown in South America for Brazil, in North Africa for parts of Tunisia as well as in East Africa for Ethiopia. Wherever the bees are kept in socalled “modern” frame hives, like Langstroth hives, the risk of losses has been higher than in apiaries with so-called “traditional” hives. Here in fact, the type of hive is less important than its size. Because in small hives bees swarm more often, and earlier. In so-called “modern” apiaries, everything is done to achieve a maximum honey yield. This management principle is orientated towards large colonies, and varies from the preference of artificial swarms to prevention of swarming by every mean. It is often supported by breeding attempts towards high foraging activity and reduced swarming instinct. Opposite to this are the small farmers’ management methods in parts of South and Central America, as well as in East Africa. Here beekeeping is more orientated towards the multiplication of colonies by

swarming, and keeping bees in smaller hives. The more effective hygienic behaviour is due to a good relation between space and number of bees, as well as the steady renewal and selection by swarming, making the colonies less susceptible. So, the apiaries under so-called “modern” management may produce higher honey yields per colony, but their operation is more work- and cost-intensive. Especially the medicines needed for the control of diseases but also the investment costs for the purchase of “modern” hives and the logistical costs of transport and maintenance require additional finance. All in all, beekeeping in “modern” apiaries shows a more negative balance. Moreover, the necessary small credits and the accompanying indebtedness of beekeepers converting from so called ‘traditional and natural’ to so-called “modern” beekeeping has to be taken into account. In future, these contexts should be observed in development assistance. It should aim at maintaining traditional natural 8

management methods with small hives and multiplication by swarming. Hive systems with movable combs are recommended, because they enable to control the actual condition of the bee colonies. The hives should preferably be produced of naturally available resources like wood, straw or dung. The management method should also be adapted to climatic conditions. For example, if there are longer periods without nectar flow, e.g. because of drought, it is better to extract the honey only afterwards. And it is always better to support swarming instead of preventing it. The beekeeping systems developed in North America and Europe do not assist the small farmers in Africa nor in South and Central America. They even produce problems and losses. Therefore, it is better to follow a proper way and to find an African solution, for example. Though this will not solve all problems of beekeeping, it is an important step towards a better, more bee compatible future.


Bees for development Journal 118 March 2016

to ‘measure up’. If the scout bees judge the box to be a good nesting place, a swarm of honey bees may arrive in the next few days.

Bees for development

THE BEE HOUSE Photo © Bees for development

The Bee House is already rubbed inside with beeswax to create a ‘bee friendly’ aroma. Bees may be further encouraged to settle in the Bee House by rubbing around the entrance with beeswax, or by a few drops of essential oil, lemongrass or other herbal oil to attract the scout bees.

Is it possible to harvest honey? No. This Bee House simply provides a nesting place for a honey bee colony. If you want to harvest honey from bees then you need to keep them in a different type of beehive.

Can I open the box? No. The bees will build their nest attached to the ceiling (and maybe the walls) of the box. They will seal up all cracks and gaps with propolis (resins that they collect from plants). The bees will keep it clean inside.

What about honey bee diseases? By helping to increase the population of honey bees, we are helping to restore and maintain the genetic diversity of honey bee populations. Honey bees are evolving to survive in the presence of Varroa, and the greater the population of honey bees, the greater the genetic pool to develop tolerance to the mite.

How to situate the Bee House Providing a good place for the box is the hardest part! The empty box weighs 10kg. When occupied by a honey bee colony it weighs up to 30kg. Therefore it must be situated in a very safe and secure place. The box should be positioned 3-5 metres above ground level, which will make it more attractive for honey bees to occupy. Ideally, it will be sheltered from strong winds and shaded from too much sun.

The Bees for development Bee House is a nest box for honey bees. The Bee House provides the right sized cavity for an Apis mellifera honey bee colony to build its nest and live naturally. The Bee House replicates a hollow tree and simply provides a nesting space for honey bees.

We have found it works well in a tree, on a flat roof, on a balcony or with strong fixings, on the wall of a building. It could be on a stand on the ground. A honey bee colony needs to build its nest inside a cavity. In nature, honey bees usually nest in cavities in trees and rocks. They can live also inside a hive provided by a beekeeper.

Inside the box is a cavity of just the right size for a honey bee colony to build its nest. The space inside has a flat ceiling, with a loft space insulated with wood shavings. The flat ceiling of the box is where the honey bees will attach their combs. The combs are built from beeswax and these are where the honey bees will live, and will rear their brood (young bees), and store their food (nectar being converted into honey, and pollen). The bees’ only entrance to the box is by the floor at the front.

Yet nowadays there are increasingly few old, hollow trees: wild honey bee colonies tend therefore to build their nests inside building cavities and chimneys, and are too frequently perceived as a ‘nuisance’.

How to get bees to live in the box

Bees for development Bee Houses are being built in the UK by E H Thorne (Beehives) Ltd. and by prisoners at Channings Wood Prison.

During the honey bee swarming season, if there are existing honey bee colonies in the area, scout honey bees may begin examining the box entrance, and going inside

Read about the Bee House Project in Ghana on on page 10

World renowned scientist, Professor Tom Seeley endorses the Bee House: “Throughout the honey bee’s vast range of Europe, western Asia, and Africa, honey bees live both as managed colonies in man-made hives and as wild colonies in natural cavities. The Bee House designed by Bees for development matches the housing preferences of European honey bees, so by mounting one on a tree or building, you will help sustain the population of wild honey bee colonies in your region.” Professor Thomas D. Seeley, Horace White Professor in Biology Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University, USA. 9


Bees for development Journal 118 March 2016

News Ethiopia’s Lake Tana is created a UNESCO Biosphere reserve

Non-wood Forest Products Update Issue 7 – Trees and Bees

Lake Tana was officially inaugurated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Bahir Dar in December 2015. About 2.5 million people live in the 700,000 hectares of the Reserve and their well-being and livelihoods are wholly dependent on the lake, and the surrounding catchment of farmland and forest. With the establishment of the Reserve, the intention is to develop approaches to combat degradation of the lake and its surrounds. The Lake makes up about 50 percent of the country’s freshwater reserves and is one of the most important wintering areas for migratory birds such as the European crane. The organisation Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) was instrumental in advocating for the creation of the Reserve and Svane Bender-Kaphengst, the head of NABU’s Africa programme declared, “The goal is to preserve one of the most unique natural and cultural landscapes of Ethiopia and to identify new, environmentally friendly ways of development for the local communities.“

The February 2016 Issue of FAO’s Non-wood Forest Products Update is dedicated to the topic of apiculture and includes interviews, reports and updates from around the world. Accessible online at http://forestry.fao.msgfocus. com/q/1bqcLIEXoSKO3zxI8tt/wv the issue includes the following Regional Dispatches:

Photo © Bees for development

Bees for development Ethiopia is based in Bahir Dar and works with dozens of communities living on the shores of Lake Tana. Beekeeping uses natural resources to support livelihoods and environmental wellbeing, and apiculture is welcomed as an activity which is fully compatible with the goals of the Biosphere Reserve.

The main featured article by Dr. Nicola Bradbear explains why African forest beekeeping is an excellent system of beekeeping that sustains ecosystems and supports people, and calls for the science of forest beekeeping to be included in beekeeping studies and research programmes. • South Korea: Apimondia calls for better data, James Edge • Germany: Possible causes of worldwide bee death, Wolfgang Ritter • Wales: Pharmabees, Using honey bees as a drug discovery tool, Les Baillie • Bolivia: Apiculture contributing to food security in San Ignacio de Velasco municipality • New Zealand: Public awareness campaigns spur surge in beekeepers, Maureen Conquer

Extensive, natural beekeeping contributing to the biodiversity of Lake Tana Biosphere Reserve

• Netherlands: Q&A with Remco Huvermann, on selling boxed bumblebees

The Bee House Project in the Afram Plains of Ghana – converting wild honey hunters into sustainable beekeepers Activities by honey hunters have increased over the last few years in the Afram Plains of Ghana because of increased demand for honey. Sales from wild honey bring in much needed income for young people in the area. However the negative impact of too much honey hunting activity, combined with loss of mature trees, is that wild populations of honey bees have dwindled.

Project objectives We are planning a project with fifty young honey hunters with the aim of restoring honey bee populations in the forests - using the concept of the Bees for development Bee House. We will train honey hunters in the construction, installation and protection of the Bees for development Bee Houses. These 10

Bee Houses will help to restore honey bee populations by serving as mother colonies to provide swarms. We will find physical means to safe guard and protect the installed Bee Houses. Honey hunters will be supported at the same time to develop their own apiaries with top bar hives that they will learn to harvest in a completely sustainable way.


Bees for development Journal 118 March 2016

LOOK AHEAD NORTHERN IRELAND Ulster BKA 71st Annual Conference 11-12 March 2016 Greenmount Campus Further details www.ubka.org/contact

SAUDI ARABIA

13th Asian Apicultural Association Conference 24-26 April 2016, Jeddah Further details 13thaaaconference.com

ARGENTINA

4th World Symposium on Organic Beekeeping Santiago del Estero, Argentina 6-10 September 2016 Further details apibio2016.com/en

TOBAGO

8th Caribbean Beekeeping Congress, plus pre-congress Queen Rearing Course and post-congress Africanised Bee Tour of Trinidad. 12-16 September 2016 Further details acboonline.com

RWANDA

5th ApiTrade Africa Event 21-26 September 2016 Kigali Further details apitradeafrica.org

TURKEY

5th International Mugla Beekeeping & Pine Honey Congress 1-5 November 2016 Liberty Hotels Lykia, Fethiye Further details muglacongress.org

TURKEY

APIMONDIA: 45th International Apicultural Congress 29 September – 4 October 2017, Istanbul Further details apimondia2017.org

LEARN AHEAD COSTA RICA

International course on bees and pollination 16-26 August 2016, Universidad Nacional Heredia Further details m.j.sommeijer@uu.nl

To have your conference, workshop or meeting included here and on our website send details to Bees for development, address on page 2

Bees for development Beekeepers’ Safari

Bees for development

Beekeepers Safaris TURKEY

23 July – 4 August 2016 See foot of page

TANZANIA

BSc Beekeeping Science & Technology University of Dar es Salaam Further details coasft.udsm.ac.tz

UK

Strengthening livelihoods in developing countries through beekeeping 8 April 2016, Monmouth Sustainable beekeeping 9-10 April 2016, Ragman’s Lane Permaculture Farm Further details beesfordevelopment.org Propolis Conference 16-17 June 2016, Glasgow Further details propolisconference2016.com Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter @BeesForDev

One of our most popular Safaris, our exclusive journey across Turkey takes in the rich beekeeping traditions of this historic land, combined with fascinating culture, marvellous cuisine and wonderful weather. ■■ Visit local beekeepers and see organic honey production ■■ Spend time at biologically rich areas and beautiful National Parks ■■ Swim in the Aegean Sea ■■ Price includes accommodation, all meals, four internal flights and transfers, local transport plus entrance to National Parks and Reserves on the tour itinerary. £1,890 per person SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: £268

email: safari@beesfordevelopment.org or telephone: 01600 714848 11

EXC. INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS

Proceeds from our safaris support our work in poverty alleviation and protecting bees and habitats.


Bees for development Journal 118 March 2016

Night time harvesting honey comb from a top-bar hive

Bees for Development Ethiopia

Bees for Development Ethiopia is based in Bahir Dar in North West Ethiopia. Run by Mr Tilahun Gebey, the organisation follows Bees for Development’s philosophy of training always with local bees, using simple methods, and working only with local materials. The organisation is training poor people in Amhara State and gaining reputation for the excellence of its innovative work.

People in Amhara State are chronically p top-bar hive. It is empowering for people and find a way to create their own incom

Board meeting of Bfd Ethiopia Trustees 12


Trainers admiring a comb from a top-bar hive with partially sealed honey

Tree planting for habitat restoration is an important part of BfD Ethiopia’s work

Photos © Bees for development

poor. A woman and child with their e to learn to make their own beehives me for the long term

Bees for development Journal 118 March 2016

Top-bar hive construction underway 13


Bees for development Journal 118 March 2016

Telling the bees – part 2 Heidi Herrmann and Gareth John

Our last edition told how Heidi Hermann and her colleague Gareth John of the Natural Beekeeping Trust installed one colony of honey bees at Rye Hill Prison in central England. The prisoners were taught how to weave Sun hives, and we re-join the story with six hives waiting to be occupied. The swarm so keenly awaited by the prisoners duly happened. Thousands of bees poured from the hive to rise heavenwards and join in a wild dance, circling in the heights with joyful abandon, each bee perfectly attuned to all others. Imagine the sheer delight of a swarm within those walls! ‘Please stay, dear bees, do not fly over the fence’ was on the mind of all who stood watching the formation wavering to and fro, coming breathtakingly close to the razorwired wall - hovering – moving back again towards the prison garden. The bees finally settled on the canopy of the newly installed Sun hive. Who chooses to end the dance, who decides where to land? The bees now had to be coaxed from the canopy of the hive into the hive proper. Steve and two prisoners stepped into the breech, all hopes upon them. Prison security had to relent and put back the two prisoner’s lock-up time. They had been on the bee training course, and now nothing could go forward without them. After four exhausting hours atop a high ladder, and a series of trial and error manipulations to get the great cluster to move inside the hive, the bees were in the Sun hive at sunset. A truly fantastic achievement for Steve and his men. Their exhilaration was boundless. The first swarm is a happening never to be forgotten.

The project’s open day celebration was a great success. ‘Our bee conservation project is truly rewarding’, says Project Manager Paul Evans. “The bees received massive attention, they were out in force.We were watching them closely.We think they feel at home now. So we now have our very own Rye Hill bees in our Rye Hill-made Sun hive, in a garden we created together” Steve wrote, do ‘I sound proud or what?’ We all share Steve’s sense of pride, as well as his sadness upon learning that Rye Hill prison which already houses nearly 700 inmates, is destined to become a mega-prison. A large area earmarked for flowering meadows has been withdrawn to make space for more cell blocks. The bees responded with unequalled fecundity as if to assert themselves and blazon their message in this strange world where prisons grow faster than flowers. They are knowing, the bees. Thanks to social media we now get instant news about them: Stephen Hammond @steve9491 May 17: So excited, no sleep yet. First swarm collected & only one sting. Not bad. May 26: Bees swarm again at HMP Rye Hill, witnessed incredible scenes and still had the luck to collect and add to 2nd Sun hive with inmates help. May 27: Quite amazing 3 swarms from 1 hive in 11 days, have some great photos for you. Great work from the prisoners at HMP Rye Hill. May 27: Bees must love it at HMP Rye Hill, 3 swarms in 11 days, from 1 to 4 hives in the blink of an eye. Plus 4 baby wagtails in raised beds.

Whitsuntide at Rye Hill Prison 2015 Three Sun hives alive with bees. Many thousands of bees have swarmed into the prisoners’ lives from the mother hive. Three new 14

bee colonies born within those walls. When I returned recently to inspect the new colonies, we were delighted to find that the bees had already caused much wonder and excitement. The Sun hives, mounted high, make for a strong presence in the prison yard. Where previously the eye travelled inexorably to the razor wire on top of the wall, one cannot but look up to the bees now. A gracious change indeed. The swarms, we found, had been well looked after, they had been fed and the bees’ every movement observed with interest. Prisoners were keen to learn to ‘read the combs’, to become familiar with the ways of a growing colony, to get accustomed to standing within a great cloud of bees. We had an inkling that these would be the most avidly observed bees in the whole of England. Subsequent teaching visits have confirmed this. Thanks to Northern Bee Books as well as John Wiley and Sons Limited, the prison library has now been enriched with beekeeping books. The Bee-friendly Beekeeper by Dr David Heaf will no doubt be studied on “Bee Wing.” Those of us privileged to bring to Rye Hill Prison Sun hive making skills, beekeeping instruction as well as bees and their wondrous ways, we share a deep sense of gratitude - for the kindness we have met, for the hope embodied in the growing gardens, and for all the people who have opened their hearts to the bees in this prison. The bees are doing good work here; they are loved and most keenly observed. Now the prisoners will learn how to take care of them through the seasons of the year. They will grow flowers for the bees. They will be bee guardians. Bees are in their lives now. May it help them and offer much solace and understanding. Bees always foster change in the lives that they touch. They are good at that; it is what they do best. Heidi Hermann Natural Beekeeping Trust, www.naturalbeekeepingtrust.org


Bees for development Journal 118 March 2016

Postscript As I left the prison, I felt humbled and deeply moved... When one has formed a relationship with a bee colony and those bees subsequently come under the care of another person, it is normal to worry about their welfare. Will they be well looked after? Will they prosper in their new location? Will they perform in the manner expected of them? All of these questions arose in my mind with respect to the hive of bees that I transferred at the end of March from my apiary to a high security prison some 50 miles away. The first visit to the prison subsequent to delivering the hive and colony of bees was a fortnight later, to teach beekeeping. At that stage, the hive was much as it was when I last saw it. The main question from the prisoners was ‘Will the bees swarm?’ I considered this colony as one that was likely to swarm, and part of the reason for placing the hive in the prison was to supply swarms for the Sun hives

that had been so carefully made by the prisoners. However, of course, I could not be sure. One never can be. Sometime later, we received news that a swarm had indeed left the hive, and had been placed by the prisoners and staff in a Sun hive. Hooray! The bees had performed as hoped. By the time the swarming season was over, this hive had swarmed five times; each swarm had been taken and hived. Two swarms had left for other quarters, leaving four hives in the care of the prisoners and staff. It has been a difficult year for bees in my home apiary; the main honey flow failed completely. Would the prison hives be in good shape? We had advised feeding, but those in charge of the bees were all complete beginners. Although other members of the Natural Beekeeping Trust had visited in the interim and had given glowing reports, it was with some trepidation that I returned to the prison in late August. The first thing I noticed inside the high and forbidding walls was the

plethora of flowers. Every path was skirted with flowers in full bloom. The garden project, of which the bees are part, was clearly having a significant impact. Then, rounding a corner, I caught my first glimpse of the Sun hives, made by the prisoners, on tall stands, also made and designed by prisoners. What an impact! The whole ambience was different. Standing tall in the midst of straight wire fences and harsh brick walls were rounded, wooden structures, and from the Sun hive baskets held aloft by these stands flew bees; bees that had swarmed from the hive I took in March; swarms that had been collected and hived by the prisoners and staff. It is always a joy to see prospering a swarm that has issued from one’s own hives, but here were three such swarms, in circumstances that are, to put it mildly, unusual, maybe even unique. On entering the bee garden area, I immediately went to the Warré People’s hive in its corner. How would it be after throwing five swarms? Had it managed to keep a

Photos © Stephen Hammond

Prisoners managing a Warré People’s Hive at Rye Hill Prison under Gareth John’s supervision

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Bees for development Journal 118 March 2016

queen for itself and get that queen mated? The wind was blustery, but bees were flying at the entrance and through the observation window activity could be seen. We decided to take a look inside the hive by rotating the top box to be sure that all was as well as it appeared. And indeed it was! Plenty of sealed brood was evident and, although not overly heavy with stores, the hive was not as light as some of my own after the poor season. Maybe the season here had been better: this hive had thrown five swarms and was in good condition. The quick inspection felt like being reunited with an old and dear friend; one who had been through considerable adventures since we parted. The bees were as quiet as I remembered them, a joy to behold; haven’t they done well! The prisoners then joined us for an inspection of the Sun hives. We first approached the one known to be the weakest, having been started by the smallest swarm. One of the prisoners and a staff member went through a smooth and obviously much practiced routine of pulling out the pins securing the hive and lowering it from on high to its inspection position. We had agreed to check the condition of the hive in terms of having a laying queen (or not – not all swarms manage this) and to check its level of stores. We also wanted to demonstrate what

to look for on future inspections. Carefully the top basket was removed and we began to peel back the cover cloth. As is my practice, I explained to the bees what we were doing and addressed them in affectionate terms. I find this helps enormously in having calm bees, especially, as is also my practice, I was not wearing any protection. Inside the hive were beautiful arches of comb and I was able to point out the various things that were key to understanding the state of the hive. I congratulated the bees and told them how beautiful they were. The staff member standing opposite to me joked that I should perhaps not look him in the eye when saying ‘you are beautiful’. One of the prisoners, in his protective garb, commented that I had courage to handle bees without protection, placing my hands deep in the hive. I replied that it was not courage but trust, me of the bees and the bees of me. All three Sun hives were in excellent condition bearing in mind the season we have had. The feeding regime that we had recommended had clearly been assiduously followed. We had a full debrief in a meeting room and answered many perceptive questions about the bees, their behaviour and welfare. It was clear that there had been occasions when the bees had not been as quiet as they were today and the reasons for this

View of the curved top-bars inside a new Sun hive

One of Rye Hill’s three Sun hives lowered from its protective cover were discussed. It was evident that the prisoners had developed an excellent understanding of bees and their ways, and had learned that a calm and caring demeanour is a pre-requisite to having calm bees. Few beginners would cope as well with so many swarms in their first season. Few beginners would be as acutely observant of their bees and their ways. Here were men who had committed serious abuse of one sort or another and yet they still have within them the ability to observe and care deeply for another creature. As I left, I felt humbled, impressed and deeply moved. I felt that the bees in that place know they are in a special relationship, beyond the norm. The prisoners know it too. Gareth John, September, 2015 16


Bees for development Journal 118 March 2016

Top-bar hive

Bee space Movable-comb technology The use of a top-bar hive - a form of movable-comb hive – opens up exciting new opportunities for beekeeping in many parts of the world. To get the most out of this technology it is important to understand the principles which underpin the design, and their limitations. Poor understanding can lead to disappointment, wasted resources and failure.

The importance of bee space Although top-bar hives can often look crude, especially if they are

made of simple local materials, the ideas underpinning them are very sophisticated. They are based on the vital concept of the bee space. Combs in a honey bee nest are built in a regular manner with clear spaces between them so the bees are able to pass freely around the nest. All the combs are built with the same spacing between them. This space is precise and the bees maintain it carefully. If the bee space is exceeded the bees will fill it with comb known as brace comb. This simple observation made so long ago allowed the development of movable-comb top-bar hives. In northern races of Apis mellifera the bee space is accepted as ranging between 7 and 9 mm. In smaller tropical bees the space is correspondingly less. In practice it is the distance

Photos © Bees for development

Bee space is the gap between combs and is regular as seen in this image.

needed for two worker bees to pass comfortably back-to-back between the comb faces. Knowing this can help when working out hive design specifications. In particular it is essential knowledge to work out the top-bar dimensions. It cannot be emphasised enough that accurately sized top-bars are the key to successful movablecomb beekeeping. If the top-bar size is right the bees will oblige by building one comb from each top-bar. The correct size will vary slightly from place to place depending on the local bee type and ideally should be determined experimentally by measuring local bees and comb. However in general it is fairly safe to use a top-bar width of 32 mm for African Apis mellifera honey bees, 35 mm for northern Apis mellifera honey bees, and 29 mm for the Asian hive bee Apis cerana. Apis cerana varies greatly in size throughout the region where it occurs as does Apis mellifera. Notice that this spacing is not the same as the bee space but incorporates both the bee space and the width of the comb to give a measurement that goes from the centre of the first comb to the centre of the next one.

Comb shapes To make it easy to move combs it is good practice to try and avoid side comb attachment. One way to do this is to look at how honeycombs are shaped if the bees have a free choice. Combs are only attached at the top and not at the edges which taper to become very thin, with a slightly ribbed reinforcement along the edge. This special form is called a catenary curve and describes the wide topped gentle ‘U’ shape of natural comb. This applies to comb from all species of honey bees. The sloping sides of the standard designs of top-bar hives attempt to reflect this natural catenary shape. This allows the bee space rule to be observed all down the side of the hive where the comb is built in its natural form without the constraining influence of a frame. Where a curved comb is built in a square box there is always the possibility that the bees will attach the comb to the side of the box because the bee space has become too large. Making hives with sloping sides is harder (and so more expensive) than making hives with straight sides. This is why some 17


Bees for development Journal 118 March 2016

people choose to use straight sided top-bar hives and manage sideattachment by ensuring the hive depth is relatively shallow – which reduces the bees’ need to use sideattachment for comb support.

Precise measurement It is ideal if beekeepers are able to make their own equipment as this means the technology can be used in remote locations and where people lack resources to purchase inputs. If beekeepers make their own top-bar hives it allows them to experiment with the technology at little cost or risk. In practical terms however, the hardest part is to cut accurate top-bars for the hive and it is often necessary for the beekeepers to purchase topbars from carpenters. A very real concern with top-bar hives is that if the top-bars are not well made or of the wrong dimension, the bees will not build one comb neatly on one bar, and the advantages of the technology are lost. Top-bar hives can be an efficient beekeeping tool because they allow the same flexibility of management as a frame hive. It is the potential

for sophisticated management combined with low costs that makes the top-bar hive ideal in many situations. Top-bar hives can help to improve yields and simplify harvesting without the need for the complicated equipment that has become essential for beekeeping in industrialised countries. There is no management activity that can be done using a frame hive, that cannot be done in a top-bar hive, although slightly different techniques may be needed. However the underlying ideas behind the use of top-bar hives need to be thoroughly understood. It is also most important that beekeepers are quite clear about what exactly they want to achieve before abandoning other tried and tested local and traditional techniques. Right. Top-bars machine-made at a carpentry workshop. The advantage is the precision and quality of the bars – yet the cost may be prohibitive

A top-bar of the correct dimension encourages bees to build one comb per bar, enabling the combs to be moved

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Above. Top-bars taken from one hive. This mistake of having topbars of different widths must be avoided


Bees for development Journal 118 March 2016

Interview:

for Forest Fruits Ltd. in Zambia. His area of responsibility is the district of Mwinilunga in the North West Province of Zambia. In this area the predominant honey production system is bark-hive beekeeping, an activity which provides a source of income for thousands of families.

Q

What does the job of Operations Manager job involve? I am responsible for mobilising beekeepers to supply the company with honey, training beekeepers to follow our procedures and meet our quality standards, and of course buying and processing honey. The mobilisation part involves organising beekeepers into groups who then select their own Contact Beekeeper (CB). The CB is the main point of contact between the beekeepers and the company. I maintain a database of all our suppliers. busiest time of year must Q The be the harvest time - what does this involve? Starting in October we begin the task of distributing buckets to our beekeeping groups - some of whom are over 100km away from the factory. Then when the buckets are filled, we have the task of weighing, paying and collecting the buckets from the many collection points. The season may involve several rounds of bucket delivery and collection, as the honey cropping continues for some months. This year we predict a good harvest and expect to purchase more than 700 tonnes of raw honey comb.

We are dealing in many thousands of buckets. Each beekeeper gives us a forecast of how many buckets they need. We then deliver the requested number of buckets to each Contact Beekeeper – and the beekeepers collect buckets from the CBs. Each stage in the distribution is accompanied by a bucket distribution form, against which we reconcile the number of buckets as they come back to us with honey. The CBs are held accountable for the buckets they receive and if buckets go missing this will affect the commission they receive on each bucket of honey they supply to us. company’s honey is Q The certified as organic - did

beekeepers have to alter their practices to meet the organic standard? To some extent, yes. They are required to be very careful with the storage of honey prior to collection – honey should be stored in an approved place and not in their own houses – for risk of crosscontamination. They must use buckets belonging to the company – as this way we can guarantee they are clean and uncontaminated. We also advise them on good harvesting practices. However, we have nature on our side – the honey we buy is harvested from natural forests where there is no pollution, and beekeepers use no medicines in their hives. you tell us a little about Q Can the importance of

traceability in achieving the organic standard?

As each bucket is collected from the field it is given a tag with the ID number of the beekeeper who produced it, the weight and the bucket number. So for example if a beekeeper produced 6 buckets, the ID tags for his buckets will be numbered 1–6. All the buckets collected on a certain trip are a batch and each batch is kept 19

Photos © Patrun Chikolwizu

Patrun Chikolwizu, Operations Manager, Forest Fruits Ltd., Zambia So bucket logistics must be Patrun Chikolwizu is Q complicated? Operations Manager

Patrun Chikolwizu separate and identified with a stock card. The stock card details the date the batch was delivered to the factory, who received it, where it came from (group and area) and the number of buckets. The honey is then processed and packed into 200 litre drums. The batch information is carried through to the drums so that the origin of honey in each drum is known. understand that beeswax Q We is an important part of the

business – how is it processed? After the honey has been extracted from the combs we wash the combs in water, then melt them in boiling water. While still melted, we squeeze the mixture of hot wax and water through a sieve into a large metal drum, and before it hardens we transfer it into smaller buckets. This is just for practical reasons. The wax floats above the water, hardens and is removed. These blocks are then broken up and re-melted in our wax melter. From here the wax (wax only, not the water) is tapped out of the melter through a final straining cloth into the block moulds. When cool, these rectangular blocks are bagged ready for export. conversion rates do you Q What expect to achieve? From 100 tonnes of raw honey comb we may lose 5% in loss, wastage and slumgum leaving 95 tonnes. Of


Bees for development Journal 118 March 2016

this amount 82% is honey and 18% is wax - so that is 78 tonnes of honey and 17 tonnes of wax. What is the most challenging part of your job? Doing business in rural Zambia is difficult. Our beekeepers don’t always understand our quality demands and the costs associated with our business operations. Transportation is a problem because we are collecting honey in the rainy season – impassable roads and lorry breakdowns are constant challenges. It can happen that we have purchased honey from a group but cannot collect it for 2–3 months – until the roads have dried. Then even on the processing side we have problems. The equipment we use is delicate and precise but not designed for our situation, and often needs modification and careful maintenance to keep the processing running smoothly. You have worked for Forest Fruits Ltd. for 14 years – have you seen changes in the standard of living of beekeepers? I started my work in the field. I was responsible for designing many of the logistics of supply, delivery and transportation. I have seen beekeepers progress from selling 2 buckets only, to 30 buckets. Those who were sleeping in houses with grass roofs, now have roofs made of iron sheets. Beekeepers who did not even own a bicycle now own motorbikes. Beekeepers have opened grocery stores, bought cattle and importantly are using

their income to invest in their children’s education. These many changes have come through the honey industry. And finally, what are your thoughts on the future? My concern is deforestation. There are many causes of course - including the making of hives themselves. That kills trees - but also population growth, farming, charcoal making and mining. Mine expansion is really under way and this is incompatible with forest beekeeping. I see there is a need for livelihood diversification. People need alternative cash crops to supplement what they get from beekeeping. Beekeeping is very important but my concern is whether production can expand much further given the pressures on the forest.

Q

Q

Forest Fruits Ltd are based in Lusaka, Zambia. Find out more about their produce at zambezigold.com

Q

Photo © Bees for development

Harvesting honey and beeswax from bees housed in a bark hive

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Bees for development Journal 118 March 2016

Using competition to promote best practice – experiences from Uganda In 2015 The Uganda National Apiculture Development Organisation (TUNADO) launched The Best Apiary Enterprise Award for the first time – Dickson Biryomumaisho explains...

One day in a TUNADO staff meeting, the Membership Development Officer, Mr. Bomujuni Allon, said that we need to appreciate and motivate the best beekeepers. The idea picked up and Sarah Mugoya our Communication Officer started mentioning names of those people who usually attend and contribute during workshops. The Programme Manager suggested that we visit them and give recognition to those with best apiaries. It was agreed and visits were organised ...but we were in for a surprise! Guess what... most of them had no apiaries while the rest gave excuses that they were not at home. On returning to the office everyone began discussing their disappointment. Out of this discussion came the idea of The Best Apiary Enterprise Award.

Dickson Biryomumaisho at Bees for development’s honey shop in Monmouth during his recent visit to the UK.

The Award The purpose of the award was threefold • to promote beekeeping enterprise best practice in Uganda • to recognise good beekeepers Photos © Bees for development

Beekeepers work very hard, yet are not always appreciated. In some cases development projects and government programmes do not recognise normal local beekeeping practices and organise apiculture learning and exposure visits to distant places, at great cost. Yet every day, local beekeepers interact with their bees and invent new practices, but their expertise remains untapped. Where beekeepers are located in remote, rural areas their skills and innovations are easily overlooked. It is hard to reach all beekeepers, yet a great thing to do. It is also true that many so-called beekeepers that attend national events and project workshops turn out not to be beekeepers at all! How often do we hear big talkers at such meetings - but we later find little evidence of their work on the ground? When thinking of approaches to building up the sector we often design expensive

and ambitious programmes – perhaps there are simpler approaches?

Aida Kuloba 21

and to motivate them to serve as role models • to locate apiaries to serve as learning and demonstration centres. The first thing we did when planning the Award was to ask for input from stakeholders. We used a participatory approach and called Government representatives, beekeepers, private sector and development partners to a multistakeholder meeting. Presentations were made, voting done and we ended up with an agreed approach. The criteria, process and outcome are below. Minimum requirements for entry to the Award: • Contenders must respond to the announcement by calling a given number on a set day • must be a practising beekeeper with no less than 20 productive colonies (not empty hives!) • must be able to give a physical address and be available to be visited Announcement The Award was announced on the national radio station (Uganda Broadcasting Corporation) for one month. UBC reaches all parts of the country and broadcasts in local languages - this was important to ensure all members of society


Photo © Bees for development

Bees for development Journal 118 March 2016

Chairman of TUNADO, Mr Jackson, congratulates a prize winner were included. The Award was also announced in print media and an SMS message was sent to every number in the TUNADO database. Respondents call in to enter The announcement asked respondents to call one number at the TUNADO office during set days and times and one member of staff was put on duty to answer the calls. Callers were checked for eligibility against the minimum requirement for entry. A total of 2600 callers responded to the announcement but many were ineligible. A number of callers rang the radio station instead of the designated number (they were also counted), while others asked for information about how to start beekeeping! Of the 2600 callers 42 met the Minimum Requirements. Judging The Ministry of Agriculture made physical visits to the 42 who passed the Minimum Requirements and the apiaries and beekeepers were assessed against these criteria: • membership of TUNADO • apiary accessibility and visibility • apiary arrangement • management practices • equipment • innovativeness • storage /processing facilities & equipment

• record keeping • evidence of business acumen. Prize giving Recognising differences in regions, the country was divided into seven sub-regions for the purpose of the Award. One winner and one runner-up was announced in each of the seven sub-regions. The prizes were non-cash Awards of US$ 264 for each winner and US$132 for each runner-up. The investment is to develop their beekeeping enterprises and TUNADO paid the funds directly to the winners’ supplier of choice. Observations 1. To our surprise, most of the prominent beekeepers we thought might win did not call to enter the Award, and other prominent beekeepers who did enter did not win. 2. A number of the winning beekeepers were not previously known to TUNADO, and this was surprising as TUNADO is the apex body for the sector. 3. It was found that beekeepers who had learned from other beekeepers (as opposed to employed trainers) performed well. This approach is known as beekeeper to beekeeper extension (see below). 4. Most of the beekeepers who won were using local-style hives, while a few were using 22

top-bar hives. None were using frame hives - sometimes called ‘modern’ hives in Uganda. 5. On reflection we realised that exposure visits - previous to this process – usually take learner beekeepers to distant apiaries with complicated technology – and yet good simple practices are being used in their local community. 6. During the Award ceremony, one could observe that the beekeepers who won, and were never known to us before, were excited and moved with confidence to pick up their certificates. Lessons We learned that local innovation and good practice is widespread in rural communities. We learned that where beekeepers are coached and provided with technical backstopping they perform well as trainers in their local communities We learned that the best and most practical beekeepers are not necessarily the most active and vocal in meetings and workshops We learned that we can make exposure learning visits cheaper if we stay within the local communities and identify excellent beekeeping enterprises in those communities We learned that next time we need to think how to increase the number of eligible entrants compared to the total number of responders The detailed report is available at www.tunadobees.org. We thank Bees for development, Trias Uganda and SwissContact Uganda for supporting The Best Apiary Enterprise Award.

Beekeeper to beekeeper extension model Selected prominent beekeepers are trained and they are given the capacity and motivation to train at least 10 beekeepers. This model is now being applied in other parts of Uganda by TUNADO with support from Trias, Bees for development and Oxfam.


Bees for development Journal 118 March 2016

BOOKSHELF The bees in your backyard

Joseph S Wilson and Olivia Messinger Carril 2015 288 pages US$29.95 Princeton University Press This is a high quality, comprehensive reference book on the bees of North America – approximately 4000 species. The clear text and excellent photographs make the book extremely user-friendly. Non-specialists will have no difficulty using the species identification guidance, while experts will find this invaluable as a reference text. The biology and ecology of each bee family is presented clearly, and covers diet, nesting habits, distribution and behaviour. The chapter on how to attract bees to your own garden includes activities for carpenters – how to build a bumblebee nest box – and activities for the rest of us – leave areas undisturbed, and much more besides. The photographs are wonderful and will delight anyone with an interest in the indigenous bees of United States of America and Canada.

Beekeeping in Zimbabwe with top bar hives Mike D Schmolke 2016 220 pages Mike Schmolke has been working with bees and beekeepers for fifty years and his great experience shines through this excellent new book, full of extremely helpful, practical information. Mike favours the use of top-bar hives, which he describes as simple, cheap, easy to manage and profitable bee hives. Mike acknowledges that most readers will not implement all the advice given in this book, but those who read it will learn much and realise what they can do if they devote time to their bees. The Chapters on processing honey and beeswax will be very helpful for beekeepers using either fixed comb or top-bar hives. It is good too to see the Greek basket hive being promoted as a simple, low cost way to get started in beekeeping, ideal for people who want to study bees in uncomplicated and natural surroundings. Price details in the next edition of BFDJ

Solar Wax Melter For frames or comb. It has a strong wooden frame, insulating double window and a small tray for collecting the melted wax / honey.

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Bees for development Journal 118 March 2016

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