4 minute read


Beekeeping in the tropics

Francis G Smith

2003 265 pages £14.95 (€22.45) Code $505

This book was first published in 1960. At this time Francis Smith was working as Head of the Beekeeping Division, Forest Department, Tanganyika (present day Tanzania). This book was worthy of republication by Northern Bee Books, because during the intervening years nobody has written a more detailed and practical guide for East African beekeeping.

The first part of the book covers basic principles: the biology, behaviour, diseases and enemies of bees, bee forage, beekeeping methods and economics. Written long before beekeepers had heard of Varroa, and with species names of bees, diseases, and forage plants all changing in the past 40 years, this part of the book reveals its age.

Part Il, apiary equipment, discusses apiary choice, simple hives and frame hives - top-bar hives had not yet put in an appearance in East Africa.

Part Ill, bee management, advises keeping cylindrical hives in bee houses, and gives plenty of practical information about working with frame hives. Francis Smith advocates the use of Modified Dadant frame hives. No doubt they worked well for him, supported by a well resourced Government Department. Yet we know that today, this type of frame hive beekeeping has not been adopted in Tanzania.

Part IV discusses the crop: harvesting, and processing of honey and beeswax, and notes on developing the beekeepingindustry.

An interesting read with a wealth of ever-valuable beekeeping advice, the book also offers an insight into how much, and how little, life has changed for the rural African beekeeper.

Tropical fruit pests and pollinators: biology economic importance, natural enemies and control

JE Peta, J L Sharp & M Wysoki (editors)

2002 448 pages £85 (€149) Code P190

This text is intended for researchers working in the fields of horticulture, entomology or pest management. World experts have contributed to reviews of the pests and pollinators of avocado, banana, guava, papaya, pineapple and several other major tropical fruits. All of these crops are now widely grown outside their original distribution area, and therefore face a range of predators of different arthropod fauna, as well as exotic predators that have also migrated out of their original area.

Interesting to read that in some passion fruit growing areas, honeybees Apis mellifera are considered pests since they rob pollen from carpenter bees and thereby reduce pollination and fruit set. Also that the Brazilian stingless bee species Trigona spinipes attack the leaves, stems, trunk, developing buds and fruits of several plant species. We are not accustomed to reading about bees under the heading of Pests!

Manual de apicultura para Cabo Verde

Ole Hertz

2002 80 pages £9.65 (€14.50) Code H300

This is an 80-page text prepared in Portuguese language for beekeepers in Cape Verde, the islands off the coast of West Africa. The text covers everything that a beginner beekeeper needs to know: the importance of bees for farming and how to protect them well; the different types of bees, and the flowers they feed on; details about the honeybee colony and how bees live and function; how to keep bees in top-bar hives, frame hives and other types; managing bees and making and using smokers; harvesting and processing honey and wax; and dealing with those few bee pests and predators found in Cape Verde.

The book is full of excellent black and white line drawings and photographs, and will be a great help for Portuguesereading beekeepers wherever a clear guide to low-cost beekeeping methods is required.

Pollinating bees

Peter G Kevan and Vera L Imperatriz-Fonseca (editors)

2002 313 pages (currently awaiting reprinting, further details will be given in Bookshelf when available)

An important book arising from the Workshop on the conservation and sustainable use of pollination in agriculture, with emphasis on bees that took place in Brazil in 1998. Included:

Session 1 The main issues in pollinator and bee conservation (five chapters).

Session 2 The state of the art in bee conservation for agriculture and nature (12 chapters). This session includes papers concerning the situation in countries of Africa, North and South America, Europe and Russia.

Session 3 Methodology for assessing pollinator diversity and abundance (four chapters) giving examples from California (USA) and Costa Rica, and using the Automated Bee Identification System computer technology to identify bee species.

Session 4 Neotropical crop pollination. Research on the pollination of Brazil nut, cashew, coffee and Prosopis. Some other abstracts are presented, as well as excerpts from the text of the SGo Paulo Declaration on Pollinators that originally led to the Workshop.

A very useful and up-to-date introduction to pollination research underway world-wide.


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