Bees for Development Journal Edition 132 - September 2019

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Bees for development


No 132 September 2019


The Journal for sustainable beekeeping 1

Bees for Development Journal 132 September 2019

Dear friends The 46th APIMONDIA Congress took place in Montréal, Canada in September. There are hundreds of talks to attend across the week of an Apimondia Congress, however each morning the whole Congress was addressed by one special keynote lecturer – highlight of the week was Professor Tom Seeley talking about Darwinian beekeeping. This means beekeeping whereby honey bees are allowed to naturally keep fit and healthy by adapting to their situation. Since bees have been evolving for many millions of years, far longer than us humans, they have excellent coping strategies to survive: bees do best when we allow these strategies to be deployed. Darwinian beekeeping enables us to understand why bees kept undisturbed, in simple hives (as, for example, is the situation in Africa) – are far healthier than those subjected to intensive management. Another outstanding talk was provided by Kirk Webster, a commercial beekeeper from Vermont in northeast USA, who has not used any treatment of any kind on his bees for over 20 years. Kirk does not move his bees from one place to another, and produces honey, nucleus colonies and queen bees on commercial scale. Kirk attributes his success to three factors: (1) being able to over-winter nucleus colonies, even through long, cold winters, which ensures plenty of bees and queens for spring; (2) the arrival of tracheal mites, five years before Varroa’s arrival, which meant that Kirk’s treatmentfree bees had already evolved to deal with mites to some extent when Varroa arrived, and (3) the carefully considered introduction of Promorski (Russian) bees to

Issue 132 September 2019 In this issue


Promoting sustainable beekeeping to alleviate deprivation and poverty....3 The problem with permethrin..............6 Hello friends! Beekeeper not bee remover........................................8 Beeswax poster..................................10 News..................................................14 Consideration for a successful beekeeping programme....................16 Look Ahead........................................17

Book Shelf....................................18 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 17 for ways to pay Readers in developing countries may apply for a sponsored subscription. Apply online. Bees for Development Works to assist beekeepers in developing countries.

Tom Seeley addresses the packed Apimondia Congress auditorium contribute much needed genetic integrity to the small base of the north American honey bee population. Kirk emphasised, and we agree with him, that it is poisoning of the environment that is the real existential threat to beekeeping – not Varroa mites.

Nicola Bradbear President, Apimondia Scientific Commission Beekeeping for Rural Development

Bees for Development Trust gratefully acknowledge: Alan & Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust, Didymus Charity, E H Thorne (Beehives) Ltd, Ethiopiaid, The Hiscox Foundation, National Lottery Community Fund, Neal’s Yard Remedies, Red River Foods, Rowse Honey Ltd, Stroud Buzz Club, UK Aid Direct, Wales for Africa, WCVA, Welsh Government, Yasaeng Beekeeping Supplies and many other kind organisations and individuals. Copyright You are welcome to translate and/ or reproduce items appearing in Bees for Development Journal as part of our Information Service. Permission is given on the understanding that the Journal and author(s) are acknowledged, our contact details are provided in full, and you send us a copy of the item or the website address where it is used.

Cover picture: Our cover picture shows a honey bee arriving for the 46th Apimondia Congress, hosted by the city of Montréal, Canada in September. © Milan Wiercx van Rhijn, Bees for Development with a little help from Ben Moore!

Bees for development

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Bees for Development Journal 132 September 2019

Promoting sustainable beekeeping to alleviate deprivation and poverty Kwame Aidoo, Director and Isaac Mbroh, Apiculture Development Coordinator Bees for Development Ghana The Kwahu Afram Plains North District in north-east Ghana is a remote island, accessible by ferry boat or canoe and with few roads. Despite economic growth in Ghana, inequality is increasing and poverty continues in many rural areas like Kwahu, where communities suffer extreme poverty. One of the strongest indicators of deprivation is the low level of education with many young people failing to progress beyond primary school, further condemning them to a life of poverty.

These people are living on the fringes of Digya National Park (DNP). Poverty forces them to exploit the Park’s resources, and men engage in honey hunting, which is against the law, and creates conflict with Park officials. Revenue from honey hunting and small-scale farming is meagre, and communities suffer from chronic poverty, poor housing and an inability to pay school fees. These people do have access to rich natural resources, especially honey bees and forest. There are already well-established trade paths for honey, people are familiar with bees, and the area is suitable for beekeeping.

“I went to secondary school but when I went to sit my exams I was not allowed to. I had no money to pay the exam fee. I studied hard – but now I have nothing to show for it”.

The honey hunters have expressed a huge interest in beekeeping however they lack knowledge, experience and the means to begin, as there is no culture of using bee hives in this area. Our aim for this Project is to turn honey hunters into beekeepers, and to generate new revenue to improve their livelihoods. Women are interested also in keeping bees and trading honey.

Photos © Isaac Mbroh

Mohammed Mustafa, Bonaso, Kwahu (February 2019)

Wrapping a simple bamboo hive to make it waterproof 3

Bees for Development Journal 132 September 2019

Anyone can make one or more simple hives, so beekeeping becomes accessible to even the poorest people. 1. This is a more sustainable approach as it reduces donor dependency. 2. This approach reaches more people – a relatively low investment of resources can reach many people. 3. It is scaleable: once people know how to make hives – they can easily scale-up at a rapid pace if they wish to do so. 4. Fixed-comb hives are proven to be more practical, sustainable and successful. 5. Our project is a self-sustainable one which offers practical training in beekeeping skills and as an income generation activity for its beneficiaries.


We organised a six-day intensive training workshop in Bonaso and Apesika for the honey hunters and other people in those communities under our Digya Project. At Bonaso Centre, 31 women and 41 men attended (72 in total), and at Apesika centre a total of 65 participants (27 women and 38 men). Our target was 100 participants, with at least 25 women attendees (58 women participated in the workshop).

A new hive being made

The participants were taught how to make fixedcomb hives from local materials, baiting, setting up and maintaining hives, protecting apiaries from bush fires (very important because bush fires are common in the area) and about bee pests and predators. The workshop included both theory and practical training. We can report that the participants have now successfully:

Building sustainable beekeeping Imagine this scenario: a poor farmer takes out a loan (from any source) to buy an expensive top-bar hive and the bees abscond or never even enter – which is quite usual and likely. S/he is burdened with a loan and with no productive means to repay. Such projects make the poor even poorer! Also, assuming Bees for Development Ghana donates beekeeping packages including top-bar hives to poor farmers – and they are not able to add more hives by themselves – but instead expect BfD Ghana (or another organisation) to provide more hives, such a project could be even more expensive! A top-bar hive costs US$56 (€50).

Made fixed-comb hives from bamboo, banana leaves, Borassus palm logs, forest vine, grasses and palm fronds;

To us at BfD Ghana, projects following the situations outlined above, are not sustainable. How many people can we afford to provide with hives? How many hives can we afford to provide to each person? These are important questions to ask before starting a project. People sometimes fail to understand and appreciate – that it is bees that produce honey and not hives! It is based on this that the Digya Project was conceived.

Simple hives

BfD Ghana approached the people in the area and asked the community members what they expected from a beekeeping project. Their initial response was that they expected to be given hives – as they could not afford to buy them. However, later people admitted, “even if we had hives – then what? We do not know how to use them. We need knowledge and skills”. BfD Ghana proposed they would teach people how to make simple, fixed-comb hives, manage the bees, and harvest the honey. Community members welcomed this proposal. The advantages of locallymade, fixed-comb hives compared with top-bar or frame hives are many:

Kwame Aidoo with people in Apesika village 4

Bees for Development Journal 132 September 2019

• Selected and prepared an apiary site;

The Future of this Project

• Baited hives using locally available materials such as beeswax, Citrus fruit leaves and peel, lemon grass, and other herbs;

The Workshop saw a blend of different age groups coming together to learn beekeeping that they believe will improve their livelihoods. It is our hope that the knowledge they have acquired will spread to other communities in Kwahu Afram Plains.

• Set hives on stands and in the branches of trees in an apiary, maintained them and protected them against bush fire, ants and other pests.

The presence of the young ones at the Workshop gave us hope for the sustainability of this project. The children were amazing as they keenly observed what was going on and then tried their hands at building hives on their own, paying critical attention to discussion details, from the beginning to end.

Many wonderful ideas and methods for protecting hives were discussed and agreed during the workshop. There was also a discussion of the characteristics of bees including what they like and dislike and when to work on them and when not. We can confidently say that this Project is already a success although it is early days. BfD Ghana has this conviction because we observed that the participants became deeply involved and assembled all the training materials including Borassus logs. Some of the participants had gone ahead of the workshop to obtain pieces of Borassus palm logs, hollowed them out ready for further instructions to complete these as hives. An interesting example is Mr Issaka Konde in Banaso who prepared 35 hollowed out Borassus palm logs! Participants shared their impressions during the training and expressed their excitement about the start of the Project. For example: “We are happy because we can now make more money. We are using cheap means to take care of our children, especially their education”.

If you are touched by this piece and want to help more people to be trained, do not hesitate to contact us and we will be glad to accept your donations. Together we can help improve the livelihoods of these disadvantaged people. Contact BfD Ghana via the address on page 2 This Project work has been supported by Bees for Development North America and made possible by the generous support from their local beekeeping community, friends, family and a few wonderful corporate sponsors.

Isaac Mbroh demonstrates how to make a honey door for a Borassus palm hive 5

Bees for Development Journal 132 September 2019

The problem with permethrin in beeswax Photos © Bees for Development

Sean Lawson, Project Manager, Bees for Development

Demand for beeswax has soared as we see it used increasingly in cosmetics, food wraps and to coat confectionery. To meet regulations buyers require clean, unadulterated and chemical residue-free beeswax to use in their products. Residue-free means that the beeswax contains no trace of chemicals – these may be traces of medicines introduced to the bee hive by the beekeeper, or agrochemicals from the environment that have somehow found their way into the hive, or have contaminated the beeswax during its harvest, processing or storage. Beeswax adulteration Some people have opted to ‘cut’ their beeswax with paraffin – a much cheaper petrochemical-derived wax. However, beeswax processors and refiners will spot this adulteration and the business relationship will be damaged beyond repair. Sometimes the adulteration is unintentional: animal or vegetable fats are used as release agents for the beeswax mold. These ‘lubricants’ are oil-based like beeswax and will easily mix and contaminate the beeswax. A small splash of water around the mold immediately before pouring can be just as effective.

Beeswax candles on display at the Uganda National Honey Week held in Kampala in August believe that the explanation is the introduction of free, and much-needed mosquito netting by governments across Africa. Beekeepers and beeswax processors have found that these nets are an ideal, widely available and effective straining material to use when they render their beeswax! However the netting is impregnated with permethrin that kills mosquitos. Because permethrin is highly soluble in oils such as beeswax, it mixes with the molten beeswax when it is strained through the net. There is no going back from this: residues cannot be removed from beeswax once they have been introduced.

African beeswax African beeswax is renowned for its cleanliness. Many thousands of beekeepers in Africa are using local-style bee hives with great success, and harvest comb honey. This comb honey yields proportionately more beeswax than is gained from frame hive beekeeping, and the wax is residue-free. African bees do not suffer from honey bee diseases and thus African beekeepers do not treat their bees with chemicals.

Using beeswax foundation

Mosquito nets are not the only culprits: second-hand polypropylene sacks that could have contained pretreated seeds for planting can contaminate beeswax when used as a filter. Even the smallest amount of residue in beeswax will cause it to fail tests. In the case of permethrin, the limit of detection is very small: only 0.1 ppm. The result is that beekeepers and processors are greatly reducing the value of their beeswax – it cannot be used for food purposes or cosmetics if it contains residues of permethrin. The beeswax can still be sold, however at much lower price.

Very few African beekeepers use manufactured foundation sheets in their hives and this is a good thing, because if imported from elsewhere, foundation is likely to introduce chemical residues from treated hives.

Chemical residues within African beeswax In recent years importers of African beeswax have noticed an increase in chemical residues within African beeswax. The chemical most frequently found is permethrin – an insecticide in the pyrethroid family, it is a widely available and effective insecticide. We


Bees for Development Journal 132 September 2019

Netting is often used to filter beeswax. This bag has been sewn together using clean material

Every piece of equipment used in beeswax filtering must be residue free: this tin was food grade packaging

Why is it so important to tackle this issue? Many of Bees for Development’s partner organisations, especially in Africa, have a valuable resource at their fingertips. Sensitising beekeepers to the value of beeswax is bearing fruit. Many exhibitors present during the 10th Uganda Honey Week in Kampala this August were trading in beeswax, or adding value to it by manufacturing cosmetics. There is still much work to be done: too many beekeepers still squeeze the honey out of combs and then discard the beeswax, as if it were any other waste product! Remember: beeswax is valuable – do not throw it away!


We need to raise awareness about the presence of chemical residues in beeswax. This information needs to be shared among associations, cooperatives and groups. The relationships between producers and processors should allow dialogue to tackle these issues, and beekeepers and processers need to find suitable, clean ways to filter beeswax. Finding the right solution requires understanding and effort from all parties and will ensure that the trade of beeswax reaches its full potential.

Top Tips for residue-free beeswax Ensure that your beeswax stays at its best: • Do not use mosquito netting to filter beeswax • Only use new polypropylene bags to filter beeswax • Avoid using large drums for melting, which may have held chemicals • Never use any fat or oil to lubricate a mold: a splash of water can be just as effective • Remember, once contamination occurs – it is irreversible. 7

Bees for Development Journal 132 September 2019

Hello friends! Beekeeper not bee remover! Mrugank Divekar, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India Photos © Mrugank Divekar

Honey bees are friends to me although for many people they are insects that sting, and so they keep a distance. I try to convince people that only when bees detect a threat to their colony and as a defence mechanism will they sting. Yet it is considered better to drive them off and some people will go to the extent of using pest control and mercilessly kill them. People contact ‘bee removers’ to get rid of the bees using fire and smoke. Afterwards the honey is harvested, and these people cheekily ask for a share because the colony was in their house! I am not a pest controller or a bee remover, I am a beekeeper and cannot contemplate killing or driving away bees.

1. The Apis florea colony

Colony call A friend called to say there was a colony on the terrace of his flat – it was big and on the seventh floor, I thought it must be Apis dorsata. I went to his house: the colony was of medium size and the bees were small – they were Apis florea (1). It was a relief because Apis dorsata are more defensive and in larger numbers than Apis florea.

2. Holding the Apis florea colony with my bamboo stick 8

Bees for Development Journal 132 September 2019

3. Comb containing honey

I was surprised to see the bees on the seventh floor because usually they do not settle so high. The nest was on a grill, very neatly built, and two to three months old because the upper honey part was full. I said to my friend: “This is a nest that has been here for some time, so why are you now afraid?”. He replied that the flat had been locked up until two days ago when he opened it and found the bees.

and wanted to invite them to my place and would move them with minimum harm. They would not understand my language but I hoped they would understand my feelings. I fixed the nest from two sides to the slit of the bamboo stick, driving a few bees away from the upper part of the nest. I kept a smoker by my side to keep the bees in low defensive mode. I used a brush to vacate the portion of the colony attached to the grill and used the bamboo stick to catch the nest in between the slit and tied the other side to the grill (2). The bees became agitated, so I stopped as the bees needed to get used to the bamboo stick and ‘stitch’ the nest to it.

I explained to him what species of bees they were, that they were harmless, they would not sting unless disturbed, and within a few months would migrate elsewhere. I touched the bees on the nest to convince him and he agreed to let them stay. However a few days later my friend called again and asked me to remove the bees because his maid had been stung and his wife was afraid. I called my guide in beekeeping Mr Ketan Patil who I had accompanied to collect Apis cerana colonies after receiving complaints from people in nearby villages. Mr Patil said it was an opportunity to move the bees to my house. I had seen films where a bamboo stick was used to move the colony. I decided to use this method, and made a 10 cm slit at one end of a bamboo stick, partly breaking it. I agreed I would move the colony when my friend was away from the flat.

Next day the bees had started attaching the nest to the stick – they have accepted it. I waited another two days because the next step was to cut the nest from the grill so firm bonding with the stick was necessary. On Day 3 (with a little smoke) I cut the colony from the grill – honey started oozing and it disturbed the bees and I was stung twice on my hand, but it did not distract me. I collected the dripping honey as well as the full upper portion of honey in my collection box (3). This was late evening to prevent bees from other colonies robbing the honey. A major portion of the nest was on the bamboo stick with a small side portion still attached to the grill. I decided to leave it this way until the next day. Next day I prepared the fifth floor of my building as a calm and quiet place because the bees were used continued on page 12

Colony collection I went to the flat on the evening of 9 May with my equipment. I gently touched the bees and they were not defensive. I “told” the bees I was not there to kill them 9



Bees for Development Journal 132 September 2019

him from more stings. I remained steady with no hasty movements. Many bees had taken shelter on the wall of the building, possibly with their queen protected and some were still on the nest. It was not possible to get on to the balcony as there was a grill. There was a long stick and a hook on the terrace. I tied the hook to the stick and gently lifted the bamboo stick from one side: any mistake would take the nest and stick to the ground floor and that would end the matter. Using the bamboo stick I lifted the nest and placed it in its original position and tied the stick back to the grill. It was up to the bees to accept it and come back. I was hopeful because even after the drop the brood section was intact with only a minor cut on one side. The bees returned and covered the nest again. I saw the bees removing dead larvae from the nest (4) and saluted their courage and mental strength: Do not think of the past just march ahead and think of the future.

4. Bees removing dead larvae

It was getting dark and the bees were calming down. I was sure that the queen was with the colony even though I had not seen her and decided to move it. I slowly untied the stick and gently took most of the nest to the box, then collected the small amount on the grill. The majority remained but a few bees flew away – I could collect these the next day. The box was sealed and the journey home began.

New home I opened the box gently to see the bees holding on to the nest and each other with a few in one corner of the box. I fixed the bamboo stick with the colony on it to another supporting stick and then placed it on the Y shape branch which was fixed to the log. In deliberately dim light I did not disturb the bees in the box, but left it near the log for the bees to find their nest.

5. I could easily watch the bees

to height and a ground floor garden would not be good for them. I took a log from the garden with a hole in it and found a ‘Y’ shaped branch which my gardener fixed into the hole in the log. He liked my idea of saving the bees and accompanied me that evening. We took a large cardboard box to bring back the colony. After reaching the terrace I prayed to God that what I was doing was to save and not to harm the bees.

Colony on the move

My gardener held the bamboo stick from the side away from the nest then I cut the threads one by one, finally untying the stick from the grill. I had to cut the portion that was still attached to the grill and was finishing when a bee stung my gardener and he dropped the bamboo stick. The nest and the bees at one end of the stick fell through the grill and landed on the balcony below. Many bees flew and some started hovering around. My gardener went inside the house to protect

6. These bees are my pets! 12

Bees for Development Journal 132 September 2019

Next day the box was empty, and the bees had taken their place in their nest (5). Movement in the colony was normal and the bees seemed to be happy in their new place. Before the colony left in August 2019, they showed me the round and waggle dance (7) and I was close to them and feeding them as if they were my pets (6). It was a good friendship: the bees never stung me no matter how close I was to them. I did not see the colony leave (9). I like to think that they understood what I said to them on the first day we met, and they made great friends with me. The only thing which they hid in the friendship was their Queen!

7. I could observe the waggle dancing

8. Apis florea

9. I did not see them leaving! 13

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Photo © Chia Bernard Ful, BARUDEV

Honey: the precious nectar that links tradition with the future of the new generation For the Ogiek people honey has been the main food source during droughts and famine and played a key role in cultural practices. It was traded with neighbouring communities and used for dowry payments (at least one debe, or a 30 kg container, had to be given to the bride’s family). Honey was so precious that only certain people could handle it, and when it came to new hives a person had to prove that s/he was pure of heart and would not negatively affect the hives or honey. Home to about 35,000 members of the Ogiek community, the Mau Forest has been subjected to systematic degradation and destruction since the early 1900s. From the 1980s, the destruction of the Mau Forest for coal mining, forestry and flower and tea plantations has become increasingly widespread. In the last 20 years 60% of the forest has been cut. In 2015 The Ogiek Honey Slow Food Presidium was launched to protect the Mau Forest ecosystem and promote the value of the Ogiek people’s ancestral culture through honey, their most important product. The Macodev (Mariashoni Community Development) Cooperative, a community-based organisation that brings together 12 groups of beekeepers, is working to increase production volumes, differentiate the various types of honey produced, improve packaging, and promote honey in hotels, restaurants and shops. Before the Presidium honey was mainly used in the household and for exchange with neighbours, with only a small quantity sold. The formation of the Macodev Cooperative has played a critical role in improving the quantity and quality of honey produced. The number of hives has increased from 200 in 2015 to 600 at the end

Visiting the bees at the BARUDEV apiary in Njinikom, part of nature conservation caring for creation and ensuring justice for the care of creation of 2017. This led to an increase in the quantity of honey produced and, due to improved quality, the prices of the honey rose from KES100 (US$0.97; €0.87) to KES179 (US$1.73; €1.56) per kilogram from 2015 to 2017. Honey is sold in shops in the nearby towns of Elburgon, Molo, and Nakuru. In addition, the Presidium has witnessed an increased participation of women in beekeeping. The Ogiek way of life is based on natural resources provided by the forest–they are hunter-gatherers whose main activity is apiculture some also grow crops and raise animals. The forest was a shared resource and each clan was allocated a section of the forest to manage sustainably and therefore benefit from its resources. At one time, beekeeping was carried out exclusively by men, particularly the community elders, who were entrusted with constructing hives and harvesting honey without damaging trees. Young men accompanied their fathers to the apiaries to learn traditional practices, which ensured that knowledge related to beekeeping was passed down from generation to generation. A part of a young man’s initiation involved climbing trees to retrieve honey and withstand bee stings. 14

Traditional wine was made from honey and a fruit known as rotonik, from a tree Kigelia africana, that is known in the community as “sausage tree” due to the shape of its fruits. The drink was used during social events, meetings, and initiation ceremonies. After a woman had a baby, her husband had to wait four days to see the newborn. During the four days, he prepared honey wine that would be drunk with the community during the official presentation of his child. Whenever there were conflicts, meetings were held to find a solution and honey wine was consumed to symbolise the union of the community. The wine was also used during rituals that were held through calamities – drought, floods and lightening. Through the Presidium, the community has increased efforts to protect the Mau Forest as their ancestral home and to promote beekeeping practices, with most of the groups’ members joining the Community Forest Associations. Honey producers have taken part in planting endemic trees to counter the introduction of exotic trees to the forest, which threaten the future of the unique local honey. Since 2015 the Ogiek community has taken part in responsible tourism initiatives in collaboration with the Slow Food

Bees for Development Journal 132 September 2019

Photos © Archivio Slow Food


For the Ogiek people honey was the main food source during droughts and famine, traded with neighbouring communities and used for dowry payments. It was considered so precious that only certain people could handle it

Following the formation of the Macodev Cooperative the number of hives increased from 200 in 2015 to 600 at the end of 2017

Foundation for Biodiversity and the Network for Ecofarming in Africa. In addition, the community recently won an eight-year legal battle (defending their rights to live in the

SOLOMON ISLANDS Following the destruction of the entire bee population by parasites in the 2000s, the Solomon Islands has now restarted its honey production. Producers in the Pacific Islands, particularly women, are accessing beekeeping through training and the provision of equipment supported by the Solomon Rural Development Programme (RDP) and the Solomon Islands Small Business Enterprise Centre (SISBEC). Since 2015, 700 hives have been

forest) that was itself a continuation of other legal battles that date back to the colonial era in the 1930s when the Ogiek people were exterminated and driven from their ancestral lands to make room for colonial settlers. The creation of forest reserves has also kept the Ogiek from being able to access their land. Several changes have taken place within the Ogiek community due to continued interaction with members of other tribes, including Kikuyu and Kipsigis herders. The interaction with the outside world also contributed significantly to the disruption of the forest ecosystem and therefore to the Ogieks’ home.

distributed to farmers and 140 small-scale producers have been trained in colony management and good business management. The Ministry for Development Planning and Aid Coordination reports the assistance has helped generate average revenues of €13,000 (US$14,200) per year for the Solomon Islands (€1,430; US$1,570 per producer). Between 2016 and 2018 honey production grew from almost zero to over 1,100 litres (mostly sold locally). In the 2000s the Solomon Islands produced enough honey to consider export – thanks to the work of 2,000 beekeepers with 15

Promoting beekeeping not only contributes to the preservation of the forest; it is also an important economic activity for Ogiek youth and communities and can help to lift them out of poverty. The Ogiek Honey Slow Food Presidium is supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development thanks to a project that seeks to empower indigenous youth and their communities to defend and promote their food heritage. Source: www.fondazioneslowfood. com/en/honey-the-preciousnectar-that-links-tradition-with-thefuture-of-the-new-generation/

over 400,000 colonies. However, the introduction of Asian honey bees carrying Varroa brought the sector to its knees. Fifteen years later most producers sell their honey to an intermediary. Rodney Suibea a SISBEC member says that SISBEC guarantees an outlet for small-scale producers by purchasing their honey for SI$40-50 (€4.40-5.50; US$4.80-6.00) per 350 ml. “Honey production is around 4-5 tonnes per year, and this cannot meet local demand” says Suibea. SISBEC is projecting production of 10-15 tonnes by 2020/22. “The honey can then be exported. We have confirmed there is a market

Bees for Development Journal 132 September 2019

NEWS for Solomon Islands honey in New Zealand and it is appreciated in Japan” says Suibea. “SISBEC will soon be signing up all beekeepers to the Australia New Zealand Bank GoMoney programme that will allow SISBEC to purchase honey from producers through their GoMoney account. SISBEC will also be creating buying centres for producers who do

not currently have access to local shops”, says Gabriel Hiele of RDP. The most spectacular progress has been made by the Gizo Women in Business Organisation, also supported by SISBEC, which brings together more than 300 producers on Gizo Island. One member Janet Beri earns SIS42,800-48,150 (€4,700-5,300; US$5,130-5,790) a year through the sale of honey from

Israeli scientists find a flower they say can hear approaching bees

ten colonies. “My husband and I are villagers who work on our plot in order to survive. We can sell honey and make ends meet. We can easily cover school fees and send our son who left school a long time ago on a business course in a professional training centre”. Source: Spore June-August 2019 no 193 (CTA The Netherlands)

The great majority (87.5%) of flowering plants rely on animal pollinators for reproduction. In these plants attracting pollinators can increase plant fitness and is achieved using signals such as colour, odour and shape, and by food rewards of nectar and pollen. However, offering such an increased reward can be physiologically costly.

Scientists at Tel Aviv University say they have found a flower that hears the approach of pollinating bees and hawkmoths and produces extra and sweeter nectar in response.

To test this possible sense of ‘hearing’ in the flowers, scientists measured petal vibration and nectar sugar concentration in response to sounds. The study’s results suggest plants have evolved (any may be evolving) to become better at hearing, primarily through the shapes of flowers.

Using the Evening Primrose Oenothera drummondii scientists showed that the sound of a flying bee, as well as synthetic sound signals at similar frequencies, induced the flowers to secrete sweeter nectar within three minutes. Flower petals vibrate when sound waves at the frequency produced by pollinators’ wings pass by serve as the plant’s auditory sensory organ. The flowers do not respond to frequency sound.

It also suggests that human-made sounds could be negatively affecting plants’ ability to attract the appropriate pollinators by confusing their sound detection and nectar production systems. Source: American Bee Journal July 2019

Considerations for a successful beekeeping programme

local people, local skills and resources are central to beekeeping programme design. Beekeeping programmes need to have clearly defined mechanisms for choosing appropriate beneficiaries and without appropriate and on-going extension, training, mentoring and market access, beekeeping enterprises are more likely to be unsuccessful. While beekeeping has multiple benefits to offer as an alternative income-generating activity for many of the world’s poor, apicultural development programmes should not overlook the fact that honey bees, just like any other type of livestock, require good nutrition, pest and disease management, and appropriate support mechanisms to be successful.

Not all beekeeping programmes yield the outcomes anticipated for the programme recipients. Towards gaining understanding of best practice for beekeeping development work, Researchers Cooper Schouten and David Lloyd, working at Southern Cross University in Australia, distributed a survey with 28 questions to professionals working in the beekeeping development sector. Their findings are detailed in the paper cited below, and this is their conclusion:

Further research and support for professionals engaged in apiculture in developing countries is needed for beekeepers to improve the sustainability, productivity and profitability of their enterprises.

While beekeeping for development has been seen as a “silver bullet” for sustainable community agricultural development programmes and agencies worldwide, there are a number of considerations that must be taken into account in order for beekeeping programmes to succeed. It is essential that beekeepers and development organisations have a good understanding of the floral resources available to honey bees and that

Citation: Cooper Nat Schouten & David John Lloyd (2019): Considerations and Factors Influencing the Success of Beekeeping Programs in Development Countries, Bee World,


Bees for Development Journal 132 September 2019



SICAMM Conference 4-6 September 2020, Athlone Further details


Certificate course Entrepreneurship in apiculture in East Africa Baraka Agricultural College, Molo Further details

Natural and treatment-free beekeeping with Leo Sharashkin Course 5&6 October 2019, Monmouth Further details Willow Skep Making Course 6 October 2019, Monmouth Further details Sustainable Beekeeping 12-13 October 2019, 25-26 April and 19-20 September 2020 Ragman’s Lane Farm, GL17 9PA Further details BfD’s famous Quiz Evening hosted by Patron Bill Turnbull 25 October, 6 pm on Friday evening of the National Honey Show, details above Buy tickets Monmouth Bee Town, Series of Bee Talks 5 November 2019, 7 pm at the Shire Hall Free to attend see Strengthening Livelihoods through Beekeeping 6 December 2019, Monmouth Further details


2nd International Meliponine Conference and AAA Symposium 27-27 February 2020, Los Banos Further details


APIMONDIA: 47th International Apicultural Congress Will take place in Ufa in 2021 Further details will appear here


EurBee 9 Congress 15-17 September 2020, University of Belgrade Further details


11th International Meeting of Young Beekeepers 29 June – 3 July 2020, Ivanca Gorica Further details


Bees for Development

BSc Beekeeping Science & Technology University of Dar es Salaam Further details

Bee Safaris


Ethiopia 2-12 November 2019 Further details

88th National Honey Show 24-26 October 2019, Sandown Park Racecourse Further details BBKA Spring Convention 3-5 April 2020, Harper Adams University Further details

Trinidad & Tobago 3-13 February 2020 Further details Uganda 2-13 March 2020 Further details


Asian Apicultural Association Conference 7-10 December 2020, Hanoi Further details will appear here If you want notice of your conference, workshop or meeting to be included here and on our website, send details to Bees for Development.

Don’t forget to like Bees for Development on Facebook or to follow @BeesForDev on Twitter

TELL US YOUR STORY We accept articles and short reports on new or improved beekeeping techniques, information about bees and beekeeping in your country and your events. We welcome your comments and responses to articles we have published. Articles should be 800-1,600 words in length and accompanied by images. Items can be sent by post or in email text or attachment in Word of pdf format. We accept images as colour prints or digitally saved as jpeg files. Please send images at the size they are taken off the camera. (Images resized for website use are not suitable for printing. If it is not possible to include your submission in the Journal, we may place it in the Resource Centre on our website. All the information material we receive is added to our databank on beekeeping worldwide. 17

Bees for Development Journal 132 September 2019

BOOKSHELF The Joy of Bees Paolo Fontana with English translation by Paul Tout 2019 710 pages Hardcover £37.50 This new, fabulous and entertaining 700 page text could become a classic! It is the English translation of Paolo Fontana’s original Italian text Il Piacere delle Api. Paolo is a member of a group of Italian beekeepers and bee-thinkers who have established a protocol for Biodiversity Friendly Beekeeping based on good principles. This book sets out the reasoned arguments supporting the protocol’s advocacy for beekeeping practice that best respect biodiversity – such as the use of local (and never hybrid) bees, the great importance of natural comb, keeping colonies in the same place throughout the year, and many other factors. However this is not by any means a standard beekeeping text, for example there are three pages of quotes from Aristotle about bees, hundreds of other quotes from ancient and modern life, and dozens of pictures and diagrams featuring bees, beekeeping, nature and human history. It is a wonderful compendium of knowledge – and all provided in highly readable, entertaining and informative sections, with references on almost every page that themselves add further interest.

The Garden Jungle or Gardening to save the Planet Dave Goulson 2019 280 pages Hardcover £16.99 Dave Goulson is an excellent story-teller, able to make science entertaining and readable – this is his latest, delightful book, introducing us to the world at our feet. Dave explains that even the tiniest scrap of garden contains hundreds of species of insects, plants and small animals, of whom we know little. This book will help you to understand more – each chapter begins with a recipe – leading to ingredients discussed in the chapter. Gardens offer a huge network made up from tiny nature reserves where humans and wildlife should live in harmony. Goulson deftly addresses the damage unwittingly caused to the environment by gardeners buying intensively reared plants in disposable plastic pots, sprayed with chemicals, and in precious peat cut from the earth. With a few small changes, we could – and must – do so much better.

Dancing with bees – a journey back to nature Brigit Strawbridge Howard 2019 304 pages Hardcover £20 Another excellent writer and story-teller, Brigit’s life is full of discovery, with bees at the heart of her story. This charming and enjoyable book is full of natural history detail about bees and will inspire you to take far greater interest in the different species with which we live: cuckoo bees, solitary bees, and bumble bees as well as honey bees. Brigit is a stalwart advocate for bees and rather than lecturing with frightening facts about their decline, she achieves success by discussing the delight to be gained from knowing about bees and perceiving them as they are: wonderous, accessible and endearing animals in urgent need of our protection. This book is beautifully illustrated by John Walters. Brigit will be speaking in Monmouth, at the Shire Hall, as part of the Monmouth Bee Town series of Bee Talks. Free to attend – just come along to the Shire Hall at 7 pm on 5 November. You can buy copies of the book, signed by Brigit, on the night, or from our shop in Monmouth or at

• Secure order and payment at • Credit/Debit card: We need card number, name on card, valid from and expiry dates, card issue number (if given), security number on back of card. • Cheque/bank draft in GBP payable to Bees for Development 18


Bees for Development Journal 132 September 2019

BOOKSHELF Ten Poems about Bees Candlestick Press with an introduction by Brigit Strawbridge Howard (see above) 2019 £4.99 Ten poems about bees by ten authors, introduced by Brigit Strawbridge. A beautifully presented gift booklet, with a bookmark and envelope to send to anyone who delights in bees, flowers, gardens and honey.

The Solitary Bees – biology, evolution and conservation Bryan N Danforth, Robert L Minckley and John L Neff 2019 472 pages Hardcover £35 This is a brilliant, important and useful new text: 90% of bee species in the world are solitary bees – surviving on their own and using their own resources to protect their offspring and fight off danger. This wonderful new book is the first to provide a comprehensive overview of their evolution, biology and behaviour. The authors achieve three main goals. The first of these was to bring together solitary bee biology into one text and make some of their amazing natural history better known, for example, that the males of one species of Anthophora collect parsnip perfume to attract females, the Hylaeus bee that builds an upside down nest, and Lasioglossum bees that forage by moon light. The second goal was to present current views of solitary bee evolutionary history, to elucidate biological patterns across bee families, and the third aim was to provide a road map for further studies. For example, all of Chapter 9 describes the various organisms that inhabit the solitary bee brood cell, for example bacteria and fungi, annelids, nematodes and mites – all of these seem to be beneficial to the developing bee larvae though their roles are unknown. The text explains the critical role that solitary bees play in crop pollination, and describes the dire threats they face due to habitat loss, climate change, pesticides, pathogens and invasive species. The book is beautifully illustrated by Frances Fawcett, and with 16 colour plates.

A book of honey Eva Crane 2019 reprint 192 pages Softcover £29.95 When first published in 1980 this book was the first time an abundance of detailed information about honey was presented together. Today it remains a seminal text for anyone seeking to understanding what honey is and how it is created by bees from nectar. The first four chapters tell the story of honey from its raw materials to its use (including some good recipes), while the final two chapters look into the history of honey and its often sacred status in the ancient world. There are two appendices with further information and a comprehensive index, some excellent drawings by Dorothy Hodges and other interesting pictures too. Though now 40 years since first published, this book remains uniquely useful.

Processing beeswax Bees for Development 2019 edition 19 pages Softcover £5 A new edition of the Bees for Development Training Module intended for use by trainers in tropical Africa. After the end of the Module, course participants will appreciate the value and different uses of beeswax, understand issues regarding its quality, know how to render beeswax using hot water or a solar wax extractor, and appreciate the different types of markets for beeswax. This Module is available free of charge to projects and associations in developing countries and is also available for purchase from our website store. 19




The Poster reproduced as the centrefold of BfD Journal 132 is number eight in a new series of ten available now from Bees for Development. The images used are supplied by our partner organisation TUNADO – The Uganda National Apiculture Development Organisation. POSTER TITLES

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Creating an apiary site Advantages and disadvantages of top-bar hives Advantages and disadvantages of local style hives Four ways to get bees Protecting bees from pests and predators

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Forage for bees Harvesting honey and beeswax Beeswax Preparing honey for sale Enterprise analysis for beekeeping business

These Posters are free to projects and associations in developing countries and are included in our Resource Boxes for training events and workshops. Posters and Resource Boxes are also available for purchase through our website store. For more information visit our Resource Centre at Bees for Development, 1 Agincourt Street, Monmouth NP25 3DZ, UK Telephone +44 (0)1600 714848 © Bees for Development 2019 ISSN 1477-6588 Printed on environmentally friendly paper