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Zooming in on The Solomon Islands

Location

A chain of islands east of Papua New Guinea and extending south-east for 1440 km. Total land area is 30 000 km². Six main islands the larger of which are up to 200 km in length, and many smaller ones, some no more than coral outcrops. The terrain is quite rugged, with foothills rising gently to a peak and then falling away steeply to the sea on the other side. 

Population

300 000

GNP

$410 per capita.

Main agriculture

Banana, coconut, cocoa, sweet potato, taro, yam. Honey bees Apis mellifera, originally of European origin introduced from Australia around 1960. 

Beekeeping

Frame hives (Langstroth). No other types of hive are in use.

Melliferous vegetation

Albizzia falcataria, Avicennia spp, Cocos nucifera, Eucalyptus spp, Gmelina moluccana, Pterocarpus indicus, Vitex confassus.

Legislation

The Apiaries Bill 1991 relates to the keeping of bees, disease control and importation.

Number of beekeepers

126

Number of Apis mellifera colonies

752

Average annual honey yield per colony

60 kg

Total honey yield

1037 kg (1990), 7211 kg (1991)

Honey imported

852 kg (1990), 26 kg (1991)

Beekeeping department

Ministry of Agriculture Lands, Honiara.

Beekeepers’ co-operative

Solomon Islands Honey Producers Co- Operative Association,Honiara.

Equipment

Solomon Islands Timber Products Ltd.

Projects

Between 1990 and 1991 VSA (Volunteer Service Abroad) and the New Zealand Government provided support and funds for training of Government beekeeping staff and to establish the beekeepers’ co-operative, which is now self sustaining.

Training

The Government provides training courses, including one course specifically for women.

Honey bee diseases

None.

Honey bee pests

Cane toads and lesser wax moth are pests of honey bee colonies.

Previous articles

Newsletter 14: News Around the World.

Further reading

EVANS, B (1991) Beekeeping Handbook: guide on how to keep bees in the Solomon Islands. Agricultural Information Section, Ministry of Agriculture Lands, Solomon Islands. ISBN 982 151 007 8.

FORSTER,S; GALVIN, J D  (1988) Notes on honey sources of Kolombangara for beekeeping. Forestry Note, Forest Division, Ministry of Natural Resources, Solomon

Islands. island Bee News. Newsletter of the Solomon Islands Honey Producers Co-operative edited by Galvin. PO Box G13, Honiara, Solomon Islands.

More articles and papers are held in the IBRA library.

The assistance of Rex Ramoiau and Bryan Evans in providing this information is gratefully acknowledged.