Bees for Development Journal Edition 82 - March 2007

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Enclosed with this edition you will find your own copies of two new Posters. The first (Information Poster 1) is a new edition of our popular ‘Ten good reasons why beekeeping sustains livelihoods’. The second Poster (Information Poster 2) explains pollination - the vital step in plant reproduction achieved by bees, which is not well enough appreciated. While we hope you enjoy these Posters, as a reader of this Journal, we know that you are already well informed of these issues! The purpose of the Posters is to inform others - so do place them somewhere prominent, and spread the word further. The Posters are available also in Mandarin, Portuguese and Spanish language editions. This edition brings you news of beekeeping development right around the globe – from nuns providing training in the Philippines (page 7), via good honey business underway in Nepal (page 6) and Ethiopia (page 5), to updates from two Caribbean countries that have featured rather little in these pages until now: Guyana and Haiti (page 8). Bookshelf describes a great crop of new books, reports and DVDs. Have a good read, and then decide where to put your Posters!

Bees for Development Journal



Beesfor Development Journal 82

Hairy vetch Vicia villosa is an important nectar source for honey bees. It is easy to grow and can be planted in hilly waste lands. It flowers in May in Kagamino-cho, Okayama Prefecture in Japan. CONTENTS

Editor Nicola Bradbear PhD, Co-ordinator Helen Jackson BSc Publisher Bees for Development Distribution Quarterly with readers in more than 130 countries


Inside information ..............................2 Practical beekeeping - propolis ..........3 Bee gentlemen ...................................4

Subscription UK £20 (€30, US$35) for four issues (one year) including airmail delivery. Subscriptions commence on the date received. Discounts for multiple subscriptions of ten or more. Subscribe through our secure order and payment system at or see alternative methods of payment on page 13. Discounts for multiple subscriptions of ten or more.

Readers in developing countries Bees for Development helps with information and advice. If you are financially unable to pay, contact us to request a sponsored subscription. You can pay your subscription by Beeswax Barter or Candle Currency see BfDJ 67 or

Bee products in Ethiopia ....................5 News around the World ......................6 Caribbean Update...............................8 Trees Bees Use ................................11 Bookshelf.........................................12 Look & Learn Ahead .........................15 Notice Board ....................................15

Bees for Development Trust We are grateful to the many individuals, beekeeping associations, groups and companies who support our work. Please encourage your friends and colleagues to help. Donations at by PayPal to by cheque or CAF cheque Sponsored subscriptions and donations from UK tax payers are eligible for Gift Aid - a further 28p for every £1 donated. We can send you a form or please download one at Bees forDevelopment Trust UK Charity Number 1078803

Copyright As part of our Information Service you are welcome to translate and/or reproduce items appearing in BfDJ. 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. 2

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Beesfor Development Journal 82

Practical beekeeping


Is propolis antibiotic? Yes, it has been proved that propolis kills bacteria. There are many claims for the medicinal properties of propolis.

Propolis is the sticky 'glue' used by honey bees. Propolis is usually coloured dark brown, although it can be yellow, green, grey or red. Plants are literally rooted to the spot where they grow. This means that if threatened by an enemy, they cannot run away or hide. Plants therefore protect themselves with chemical defence systems. These include toxins, bitter tastes and stinging repellents. Tender buds would provide tasty snacks for insects unless defended, and often a plant protects its buds with sticky gums. When a tree is wounded it secretes resin around the wound as the first stage of the healing process. Humans derive great benefit from these powerful plant chemicals, and many medicines and drugs are derived from plants. Everyday substances include aspirin (from willow trees), caffeine (from coffee), menthol (from mint plants) and penicillin (from a fungus).

How do you harvest propolis? To encourage bees to produce conveniently-sized propolis, place a perforated, plastic grid in the hive. This is a piece of plastic with small holes - not more than 6 mm. The bees will seal up the slots with propolis. Take out the grid and put it in a freezer. When cold enough, flexing the sheet will cause the propolis pieces to drop out. It might be possible to harvest 50 g per hive per season this way.

How much is propolis worth? World price is currently around US$50 (€38) per kg (but this depends very much on the quality). Source: Bee Vital, January 2007

What do bees use propolis for?

How do bees collect propolis?

Apis mellifera honey bees use propolis to keep their homes dry, cosy and hygienic. The propolis coating makes the walls of their nesting place waterproof and draught-proof. Propolis is used to seal up any cracks or gaps where micro-organisms could flourish. The volatile oils in propolis must serve as a kind of antiseptic air-freshener.

The bee bites off scraps of plant resin with her mandibles and packs them into the corbiculae (pollen baskets) on her hind legs (see picture below). Each corbicula can carry about 10 mg of propolis. Because of its stickiness, propolis gathering is a slow business: it can take an hour to fill both baskets. Back at the hive, unloading can take another hour. Propolis is only collected when the temperature is above 18°C. Sometimes bees collect man-made materials and use these in the same way as 'real' propolis. For example bees will collect drying paints, road tar or varnish. Presumably to bees, these substances have a consistency and strong odour similar to plant resins.

As a building material to decrease the size of nest entrances, and to make them smooth for passing bee traffic. A thin layer is used to varnish inside brood cells before the queen lays eggs into them. Presumably this provides a strong, waterproof and hygienic unit for developing larvae. To embalm bodies of mice or other predators too large for them to eject from the nest: these would otherwise decay and be a source of infection. Apis florea, one of the Asian honey bee species, deters enemies by using rings of propolis (like grease bands) to coat the branch from which its single-comb nest is suspended.

PROPOLIS CLEANSING Finighang Aaron Ndichia, Cameroon

It is not possible to define propolis any more than it is possible to define honey - it all depends what is available to the bees. In general, propolis consists of resins, waxes, volatile oils and pollen, also vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals like flavonoids. The problem for people marketing propolis commercially is to obtain a standardised product.

To actually confirm that propolis works well against toothache, gastric and other illnesses, I sacrificed small pieces of propolis to those suffering from the above mentioned diseases in my training workshops. All the reports have been positive. For my twelve years of work with beekeepers and non-beekeepers, many have been treated for their ailments.


So what exactly is in propolis?

No known herbalist has ever prepared a drug like propolis. Bees are the highest herbalists. Go to the side of a newly dug track and you find honey bees and bumble bees collecting sap coming out of cut roots. Sometimes you find bees visiting the buds of a plant which is not in flower and you wonder what the bees are taking from the plant. They may be collecting materials to prepare propolis. Sometimes you find bees on the wounded part of a tree bark collecting resin for propolis. I remember a day I went to consult a traditional doctor about my gastritis. My drug was prepared out of the barks, roots and very young branches of trees, and I was cured of my gastric pains. I observed my nephew cleaning his teeth against toothache with a red-brown liquid boiled out from the barks of trees. It had taken him weeks and the toothache was only subsiding. When I gave him propolis to chew against the tooth, he gave me an exciting report: the toothache stopped in a few hours.

A honey bee with propolis packed into the corbiculae (pollen baskets) on her hind legs

Do all honey bees collect propolis? No: Apis cerana is one honey bee species that does not use propolis. Different races of Apis mellifera use propolis to different extents: Apis mellifera caucasica is known for its high collection of propolis.


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How to cleanse propolis

How to use propolis against diseases

Much propolis is harvested from old broken log hives, hollow tree trunks and holes in the ground. Such propolis will be mixed up with wood, dead insects, beeswax, dust and pollen. To remove these unwanted elements, put crude propolis into a sizeable pot. Add water to cover all the lumps. Boil over a fire and stir to melt while the water is boiling. Remove the pot and allow to cool. When cooled, the debris will float on the water while the propolis sinks to the bottom of pot.

Gastritis Put a tablespoonful of propolis granules in warm water. Shake well and allow to stand overnight. In the morning shake again and drink the water with the granules from a glass cup. Eat an equal amount of well filtered brown honey (use the glass cup as a measure). Do not eat any other food before or after. The honey will: 1) provide nutrition for the body; 2) treat ulcers and 3) enhance the effectiveness of the propolis. Drink the same quantity after lunch but do not eat any honey. The use of propolis like this will treat many stomach problems.

Decant the debris and water leaving the propolis in the pot. Put the propolis granules over a fine piece of cloth and allow the water to drip out. Dry the propolis in cold air: do not expose it to sunlight or it will turn back into lumps. Store the propolis granules in plastic or glass bottles in a cold place.

Haemorrhoids Put a quantity of propolis granules in the sun or near a fire source to become soft. Roll small balls between your clean palms to smooth the surfaces. Make the balls about the size of a cowpea grain. Swallow five balls with water before or after each meal. Toothache Chew granules of propolis into gum-like paste, place the gum between the jaw and the painful tooth/teeth and hold in place. Replace when the gum becomes tasteless. When you use propolis for one disease it treats others - this will treat so many mouth problems.

Finighang Aaron Ndichia is with ANCO (the Apiculture and Nature Conservation Organisation), Bamenda, North West Province. See BfDJ 80 ‘Apiculture and poverty alleviation in Cameroon’.

Further reading on propolis and its uses can be found in the Bee Products category on our web store at

If you have good beekeeping advice or tips to share send your ideas to Bf D and we will endeavour to include the information in a future edition of the Journal. Our website Information Centre holds articles about all aspects of bees, beekeeping and development. If you have information that could be usefully added to these pages, or have other suggestions, tell us about it. See

BEE GENTLEMEN As we go to press, news of the passing of two VIPs from our ‘bee world’ Professor John Free CMG was a honey bee scientist working at Mr Les Thorne was a dynamic bee enthusiast who early on realised Rothamsted Research Institute, during the golden period the need for a business approach to beekeeping equipment (1960s-1990s)and became an international authority on pollination, manufacture and supply. Les Thorne regularly attended Apimondia social organisation of honey bees and pheromones. At Rothamsted, Congresses, and grew his business from local supply, to exporting he established pollination research as a major scientific discipline of beekeeping equipment world-wide. The business he developed, global importance, and inspired many students to follow him in this E H Thorne (Beehives) Ltd, has by today grown to become one of the work. largest European companies in this sector. Following his death, the Thorne family carried out the tradition of ‘Telling the bees’. At Just one timely example: much of the information presented in our Mr Thorne’s apiary, they knocked twice on each hive and informed the new Poster about pollination is based upon articles he wrote for bees: “The Master is dead, the Master is dead”. editions 50 and 51 of this Journal. Both of these kind and friendly ‘bee gentlemen’ will be missed sadly.

Do your bees make propolis?

We would like to test it and possibly buy it from you.

James Fearnley of BeeVital is a leading world authority on the nature of propolis & its medicinal properties, he is author of Bee Propolis-Natural Healing from the Hive retailing at £9.99 plus p&p. A major research project has been started by BeeVital and we would like your help. If you are interested in finding out whether your propolis is suitable for medicinal use and learning about sustainable ways of harvesting & using propolis please send a sample (50g) to: BeeVital, Brereton Lodge, Goathland, Whitby, North Yorkshire YO22 5JR, UK Tel: ++44 (0) 1947 896037 Fax: ++44 (0) 1947 896482 Email: 4


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BEE PRODUCTS IN ETHIOPIA Ethiopia is a regional leader in bee product business development. It far exceeds other countries in Africa in terms of volumes of honey and beeswax harvested and traded, and levels of investment in the formal sector. However stakeholders in Ethiopia know that there is more to be done to develop the sector into a robust industry offering significant income-generating opportunities.

for many years and it is gratifying to see the successful outcomes of this work. The current within-country trade in table honey is estimated to be less than 500 tonnes. The sector is also being supported by the SNV BOAM Initiative which is working to increase the sustainability and profitability of the honey and beeswax value chain, through a range of strategic intervention areas.

The way forward

Workshop programme

The Ethiopian Honey and Beeswax Producers and Exporters Association hosted the ‘Developing Business in Bee-products: The Way Forward’ Seminar and Workshop, from 16-18 January, at the International Livestock Research Institute in Addis Ababa. The focus of the meeting was to find ways to develop a progressive and sustainable industry, able to harness the full opportunities of the market place. Participants came from Ethiopia, other African countries and Europe, and included bee product development specialists, business women and men, and people experienced in organic and fair-trade certification.

Day One of the Workshop consisted of a series of informative presentations discussing the status of the Ethiopian honey industry, how to set up internal control systems for certification purposes, current trends in the UK honey market, and how to design development interventions through value chain analysis. Day Two consisted of a series of panel sessions with questions and answers, followed by working group discussions. On the final day, Ethiopian stakeholders met to formulate a strategy for further development, building on discussions from the first two days.

Ethiopia produces significant quantities of honey with estimates ranging from 24,6001 to 43,0002 tonnes per year. Uncertainty about the exact figure is inevitable given that data is collected irregularly and the majority of the honey trade is informal. 95% of production is by means of local methods, and beekeepers use a range of materials to make hives. It is typical to find colonies housed in clay pots, baskets and hives made from grass and bamboo. The vast majority of all honey harvested goes to make Tej, Ethiopian honey wine, and it is clear that the demand for this wine is driving the honey industry. Beeswax is also harvested, and an estimated 3,000 tonnes are exported each year. 1 Seminar 2 Ministry

Further action A summary of the Workshop deliberations emphasised that domestic, regional and export markets remain untapped and inaccessible to Ethiopian businesses. The Residue Monitoring Plan (due to be submitted in March 2007) will open the way for export to the EU. There remains much work to be done in product promotion and development. The Workshop urged the government to support the sector with research, outreach and the provision of technical support. However success lies with the perseverance of the private sector to overcome challenges and interventions, and initiatives should be encouraged. Lessons can also be learned from the coffee sector, where co-operatives are successful in empowering producers, while at the same time being commercially oriented. The importance of establishing a sector-wide co-ordinating trade body was also recognised. Finally, building traceability into the supply chain, and strict adherence to quality standards is essential for the sector to gain credibility.

and Workshop Background and Introduction Document, 2007 of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ethiopia, 2007

Market development There is interest to develop the market for table honey with a view to meeting domestic demand, and for export. Private investment in processing and packing plants is impressive, and participants witnessed the fruits of this investment at the ‘Ethio-Millennium Agro Industry Fair’ taking place during the same week as the Workshop. Nearly a dozen different honey companies displayed high quality products with excellent packaging and labelling. SOS Sahel, an Ethiopian NGO, has been helping beekeepers in Amhara Region to set up local collection and processing centres to increase marketing efficiency, and honey from these co-operatives is also sold as table honey. Bees for Development has been playing an advisory role to this project

The Workshop was funded by the SNV Support to Business Organisation Access to Markets (BOAM) Programme, SOS Sahel Ethiopia, Irish Aid and Cordaid.



Bees for Development acknowledges the sponsors and the Ethiopian Honey and Beeswax Producers and Exports Association for enabling Janet Lowore’s participation in the Workshop.

Participants at the Ethiopian Bee Products Seminar at the International Livestock Research Institute, Addis Ababa

Jo Thomas and Jacob Mogga tasting honey offered by Eyob Assefa of Tutu Honey at the Ethio-Millenium Agro Industry Fair, Addis Ababa 5

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Brazilian honey exports grew by 23% in 2006 compared with 2005, despite the EU embargo imposed on Brazilian honey in March 2006 (see BfDJ 79, page 6). International sales exceeded US$23 million (€17 m). Shipments totalled 14,600 tonnes, an increase of 1.1% compared with 2005. Analysis shows that the 23% increase in the value of exports was due mainly to the great increase in sales to the USA, where sales in 2006 totalled US$17.33 million (€13.35 m). This corresponds to 74% of Brazil’s total honey exports. © MAHALAXMI SHRESTHA

Source: Agência Sebrae (translated by Mark Ament)

NIGERIA Sharing experience I am a beekeeping extension/research officer working with a Bee Conservation Project in Nigeria. We use foundation sheets, liquid bait, ‘bee booster’ and swarm catchers, but our frame hives fail to colonise. What might be the likely causes and which baiting methods can we try? While waiting to hear from you, BEE ALIVE and have a HONEYED day!

Contact Chiegele Christian Akpoke

Leventis Farmers’ Day Leventis Farmers’ Day is an annual event organised by the Leventis Foundation Agricultural School in Ilesa. Farmers trained by Leventis are invited to display their products, and students are encouraged to visit and learn

Honey Pavilion Api-Net Nepal created a Honey Pavilion covering 150 m2 to accommodate all the beekeeping activities, at the Agro Expo 2006 exhibition held in Kathmandu. The Honey Pavilion was showcased by the construction of a special entrance (see above). During the exhibition, Api-Net Nepal provided information to visitors and demonstrated different bee products and equipment, including an observation hive complete with bees. With the support of PSP/GTZ, Api-Net also published posters about bees and beekeeping in Nepal, and leaflets about honey and its uses. The leaflet was distributed freely and was most informative for honey consumers. Honeys from different sources and of a variety of colours were introduced. To show the diversity of its use, honey-lemonade, honey cookies and cake, and honey-lapsi candy were displayed and sold, along with beeswax candles and creams. The event was very successful, with interesting interactions between consumers, traders and entrepreneurs. Total honey sales were NPR400,000 (US$5,674; €4,369). The event was highly appreciated.

Mahalaxmi Shrestha, Secretary, Api-Net, Nepal (Api-Net, Nepal was established in 2002, read more in BfDJ 68, pages 6 &7) from the event. In 2006, Mr E B Ayinde organised an impressive exhibition of beekeeping tools and bee products for his stand shown left.

PHILIPPINES The nuns of St Benedict Monastery of Lipa on the island of Luzon are in their third year of beekeeping since they attended a training course at the University of the Philippines at Los Banos in 2004. Initially interested only in apitherapy for their ministry to the poor, the nuns’ success in beekeeping prompted them to organise a seminar for people of the region.

Pax Seminar


The Seminar aimed to introduce beekeeping, with the efficient production and marketing of quality bee products, as a means to conserve the environment, augment rural income and contribute towards development. The focus of the Seminar was on the conservation of indigenous honey bees Apis cerana and Apis 6

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NEWS AROUND THE WORLD dorsata, and stingless bees Trigona sp. A highlight of the event was Professor Raymundo Lucero’s sharing of his expertise of Apis mellifera queen rearing techniques. The participants enjoyed constructing hives, melting wax for foundation and extracting honey. The nuns demonstrated a transparent box they have designed for the effective management of Trigona sp. The Seminar concluded with the stingless Trigona sp emerging as ‘everybody’s favourite’, because it abounds in the region and requires the least amount of capital input. The enthusiastic participants named their group PAX Swarm and plan to meet quarterly to share their beekeeping experiences and discoveries.


Sr M Catherine Viray, OSB


A further alarm that sounded in summer 2006 was fortunately found to be false when laboratory identification proved the beetles to be from the family Nitidulidae and not Aethina tumida.

Abeilles & Cie, November/December 2006 Beetle versus bee – the award winning film is now available on DVD – see page 13.

SOUTH AFRICA Gauteng is experiencing an unprecedented influx. “In all our years of operation we have never witnessed anything like the current influx of bees, particularly in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg”, said Bree Leach of EcoSolutions. Joe Hugill, Chairman of the Southern Beekeepers Association, said the reason for the increase was due to the good rains that followed last year's long, dry spell, and that led to increased nectar production. More nectar meant more colonies. A representative of Beeware, a beekeeping company, said that colonies were dividing at a great rate. Pretoria beekeeper, Sidwell Banne, of Honey Badger, said several people had requested help to remove bees from their property. Banne said: “If you do not interfere with bees they will not sting you, but if they are left too long in a place and settle in, they are difficult to remove”. Banne warned residents against

PHILIPPINES: Seminar participants learn foundation making attempting to remove bees by themselves and recommended that they call professional beekeepers to do the job. It is illegal to kill bees because they help the environment.

Source: Pretoria News at

ZAMBIA This is Victor Kahoota (right) with one of his hives. Victor started beekeeping in 2006 and wants to increase his knowledge. He is the recipient of a sponsored subscription to BfD Journal and hopes to find assistance to attend training courses and workshops.

If you can help contact Victor Kahoota, PO Box 057, Luangwa, Zambia © VICTOR KAHOOTA

In News around the World (BfDJ 73) we reported that honey bee queens imported to Portugal from the USA were found to be infected with larvae of the small hive beetle Aethina tumida. Immediate action was taken to destroy the larvae and make safe the surrounding area.

BIOTRADE VERIFICATION CERTIFICATION SYSTEM Support for differentiation of natural products in the marketplace established by The Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT). Stakeholders are invited to comment on the development of the BioTrade Verification Framework for Native Natural Ingredients by 22nd April 2007. See, log in, click on ‘Guidelines in Development’ and then ‘UEBT BioTrade Verification Framework for Native Natural Ingredients’. In order to comment you must first register as a member.

Further information from the Ethical Certification and Labelling Authentication Project: 7

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CARIBBEAN UPDATE GUYANA Ahnand Rajkumar provides us firstly with an overview of apiculture in Guyana. Following is a report about Ahnand’s brother Rabbie, and nephew Ravi Rajkumar, and their beekeeping enterprise.





Ahnand Rajkumar The beekeeping industry in Guyana is suffering from a lack of interest and investment. Honey production peaked during the early to mid 1970s when beekeepers numbered a few hundred and included commercial, small-scale operators and hobbyists. Today, the number of beekeepers in Guyana is low, and foreign honey floods the market.


History Beekeeping with honey bees started in Guyana when settlers brought bees from Europe. Until then, indigenous stingless bees were used for honey production, with an annual production of about 2 kg honey. The imported Italian honey bees were easy to manage, rarely swarmed, required low skill levels for their management, and produced good yields. The beekeeping community was well organised through a Beekeepers’ Society. Skills were passed on to the younger generation and new members were encouraged and welcomed. There was active training and extension education and under this scenario, the beekeeping industry flourished.

teach basic skills. However, there exist still, a large number of honey collectors who raid wild colonies during ‘dark night’. Lack of suitable apiary locations is another constraint facing beekeepers. In the past, beekeeping was largely a backyard operation with up to 50 hives or more in close proximity to neighbours. The African bees cannot be kept this way.

Needs Very few beekeeping ventures are underway and for a revival, the industry must be encouraged and given the support it needs. Importantly, tracts of land should be identified and leased to beekeepers so they can safely buffer their hives from neighbours and provide water for the bees at the site.

The arrival of African bees in Guyana in 1975 in the Rupununi, and in 1976 on the Coastland, impacted negatively on the beekeeping industry. This defensive bee made sensational media headlines and generated fear within the human population that had little knowledge of honey bees. The African bees took over hives that were previously occupied by the ‘gentle’ European races of honey bees. Hobbyist beekeepers were unable to keep hives in backyards for fear of these bees attacking people, livestock and pets. The smaller and commercial operators were also under similar threat. They scaled down their operations, and in time, most went out of business. Hives could no longer be kept in backyards and there were several incidences of bees stinging neighbours, pets and livestock, and souring good neighbourly relationships. Against this backdrop, many hobbyist beekeepers disappeared and by 1985, the number of beekeepers had dwindled to below fifty.

The beekeeping industry needs to be re-tooled and equipment made available at affordable costs. A preliminary estimate to construct a hive with three supers is approximately GY$20,000-30,000 (US$105-160 €80-120). This investment is high and does not factor in maintenance, management and other overheads. The security of hives is now of high priority. In the past, when hives were kept in backyards, there was no threat from vandals, but now the entire apiary can be subject to vandalism mainly from ‘honey gatherers’ who destroy the hives and cut, not only honeycombs, but also brood combs from the hives and squeeze all to produce ‘blast’ honey.

The Apiaries Division of the Ministry of Agriculture located at the Botanical Gardens was abandoned, and support waned. The support given in the late 1970s and early 1980s was not followed through, and the decline thereafter was obvious.

Pests Honey bee pests present in Guyana are: Army ants Invade hives, kill adult bees and feed on the brood. Can weaken or kill the entire colony. Toads Sit in front of hives and consume large number of bees. Lizards Consume adult bees, but not a serious problem. Predatory bugs Feed on adult bees. Low threat. Wax moth Two species that invade colonies are present in Guyana. Can result in significant damage to hives. Termites Not a direct threat to bees. Destroy wooden hive materials. Damage can be significant. Varroa mite Presence in Guyana not established.

In the mid 1980s, attempts were made to revive beekeeping. Assistance was given by bringing in experts to study the industry and give lectures on managing African bees. Italian queen bees were imported and used to replace the African queen bees. The Beekeepers’ Association was resuscitated and became active. The number of beekeepers rose briefly, but thereafter decreased to the low level where it remains today. The industry has lost skills through migration, passing on of the older generation, beekeepers moving into other, safer business ventures, and lack of training to teach the present generation. Several people have shown interest to become beekeepers, but there is no resource centre to 8


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gentlest of all is the tiny bee nesting in the middle of termite Nasutermites sp nests. This species of stingless bee is common along the Atlantic coast of Guyana and nests in the hollows of trees, houses, and even old machinery. Other stingless bee species are present in the interior area of the country.

Production and quality control The quantity of honey produced per colony varies according to attention paid, techniques used, location of the hive and the bee pasture. An estimated 45 kg of honey per colony per year can be produced with Italian honey bees.

Conclusion Beekeeping has potential to contribute meaningfully to the economy of Guyana. There are vast bee pastures all over the country from where various colours and flavours of honey and beeswax can be harvested. Teaching beekeeping to the younger generation and establishing a training apiary would go a long way to arrest the decline of the industry.


Strategies for revival - summary Hire a competent beekeeper for extension education Provide an intensive training programme for small operators Establish a training apiary Make land available for beekeeping Document the honey flow periods.

Stingless bees in Guyana. Honey per cup ranges between 3-8 ml. After filling, the cups are sealed, likewise the pollen cells

Stingless bees There are several species of indigenous bees in the interior, forested areas of Guyana. They all have unique defences. One deposits a very sticky substance, another secretes chemicals that give effects similar to burns, another is gentle and flies around the face in large numbers, and there is a biting one. Finally, there is the ferocious ‘Tar Honey’ that builds a solidly constructed, round nest high in forest canopy. They find their way under the best of protection and imbed their mandibles at the hair roots, and would make the best of operators take to their heels. The

5th Caribbean Beekeeping Congress, Guyana 2008 More details in future editions of BfD Journal Further reading Zoom in on …Guyana Bees for Development Journal 24

Proceedings of the Caribbean Beekeeping Congresses, 1-3. On our web store at


bottling the product in 200 ml, 500 ml and 1 litre bottles begins. With their label Rajkumar's Honey Works & Apiary - Nature's Own Food, the bottles are ready for market. Ravi said: “We do our own bee breeding. We manufacture all equipment such as hives, frames, wax foundation and protective clothing, as this is a lot more economical”. They also provide a service capturing Africanised bees that are nesting on rooftops or in trees. Though the bees would not interfere with anyone, they act defensively and only attack if disturbed. Ravi recalls getting stung a few times but “it was not so bad that I needed to be hospitalised”. He said it is not advisable to have the bees close to homes but that does not mean persons should destroy them. Rather, they should have them captured and put to good use. He stressed the usefulness of bees and said that farmers exterminate them often while spraying their crops to get rid of pests and diseases. Ravi said: “Farmers have little knowledge of the benefits of the bees to their crops, and if they happen to spray during pollination, they get rid of the bees as well as the diseases. By doing this they decrease their yields”. Honey from the Laluni apiary is not at risk from pesticides since that area is known for its rich wild forest, yielding honey all year round.

Rabbie and his son Ravi are the third and fourth generations of the Rajkumar family to be in the honey business, which was started in the 1940s by Ahnand and Rabbie’s father. They have 250 colonies at Fort Wellington, Mahaicony and at Laluni, in the interior. Once every month, Rabbie and Ravi journey to their apiary at Fort Wellington, West Coast Berbice to extract honey. Here the tree of choice for the bees is the mangrove, widespread along the shore. The blossoming season occurs from late August to early January, and during this period one colony can produce almost 30 litres of honey. The bees pollinate the mangroves which play a vital part in preserving the shoreline from erosion.

Making good use of bees Ravi deploys smoke around the hives whilst Rabbie lifts the covers to see if the honey is ready for harvest. He brushes the bees off the combs with a hand brush, and Ravi picks up the frames and places them in boxes to take to the factory at Mon Choisi Village. He then puts empty frames in the hives: these will be ready for harvesting in about a month.

Beekeeping in Guyana is not getting the support of other agricultural ventures. Recently, Mohamed Hallim, an apiculturist from the Caribbean Institute of Beekeeping, held a talk with beekeepers at the Red House in Georgetown. Rabbie is pleased that the Government has accepted the invitation to host the 5th Caribbean Beekeeping Congress in Guyana - this will give the industry the boost its needs.

Over at the factory, father and son offload the boxes and start extracting the honey. After uncapping the combs, together with an employee, Ravi lifts them into the extractor and turns the handle to spin the honey out. Buckets at the base of the extractor collect the honey, which is then strained, into a barrel. When all of the honey is extracted the task of

Bees for Development acknowledges Stabroek News (article by Shabna Ullah, for the use of this text 9

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HAITI FARMER TO FARMER BEEKEEPING PROJECTS Farmer to Farmer Beekeeping Project With improving political stability in Haiti, a special Partners of the Americas’ Farmer to Farmer Beekeeping Programme, funded by USAID, is back on track. Through the programme, US beekeeping volunteers spend 2-3 weeks working with Haitian beekeeping individuals or organisations to improve local apiculture skills and further the production and sale of quality honey. Most Haitian beekeepers have had little formal beekeeping training and have limited access to resources to improve their operations.


Dewey Caron, University of Delaware, USA

Farmer to Farmer Volunteer Don Hopkins and Benito Jasmin of Makouti Agro Enterprises carry out a hive inspection in Cap-Haïtien

Many Haitian hives are local-style, with fixed combs. Beekeepers recognise the value of movable-frame hives, but lack the knowledge of hive construction or funds to import. Wood is highly prized for firewood. Construction materials for movable-frame (Langstroth) hives are not generally available, and since they are imported, are beyond the means of many beekeepers. Volunteers seeking to upgrade hives are not necessarily seeking to eliminate the local-style hives but to integrate movable frames with the local hives.

European and American foulbrood diseases - all of which were detected in colony inspections. Jamie initiated efforts on a seasonal management calendar. Virginia Webb worked with beekeepers in the Cap-Haïtien area on simple honey processing methods. She also gave a workshop on the use of beeswax for candles and craft products. I visited in June 2006 with Don Hopkins to extend beekeeping instruction to an EU sponsored beekeepers’ co-operative in Pilate (Cotapop) in the northeast of Haiti, a region still suffering from extensive flooding due to Hurricane Jeanne in 2004. We assessed efforts of northern coast beekeepers to combat Africanisation and increasing Varroa populations. Linda Aine and Peggy Carlson, of the Partners’ office in Washington, USA, also visited in 2006, working with Makouti Agro Enterprises to develop a marketing strategy for their products and give training on the basics of economic development. Many Farmer to Farmer volunteers develop a long-term commitment to the programme and make multiple visits to work on different aspects of a project.

A number of Farmer to Farmer beekeeping volunteers have recently visited bee associations in the Cap-Haïtien area to work with Benito Jasmin of Makouti Agro Enterprises. Don Hopkins, North Carolina State Apiarist visited in December 2005 to assist beekeepers in evaluation of the overall health of their colonies and demonstrated methods of Varroa detection. In the past two years, colony losses have been excessive, and Varroa is the major suspect for this. Ann Harman from Virginia visited twice in 2006 to work on hives, honey production and marketing. Jamie Ellis, Bee Extension Specialist at the University of Florida, worked with producers on disease and pest control. His presentations to associations included: identification, prevention and elimination of Varroa mite infestations; methods to handle severe ant predation; and diagnosis and control of chalk brood,

For more information on Partners of the Americas and the Farmer to Farmer Programme, visit

THE HONEY AND BEESWAX MARKET IN THE EU This CBI Market Survey covers the EU market for honey and beeswax, and with greater information about the markets of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands and the UK. The following issues are discussed: The EU consumes approximately 22% of the world’s traded honey production. EU honey consumption is increasing slightly. Fluctuations in consumption have been caused by imports of honey contaminated with substances prohibited by the EU. Utilisation of beeswax is increasing at a slow rate. The EU produces around 50% of the honey and beeswax it uses, with the remainder imported. Recently South American countries supply the majority of EU honey

imports, with Chinese supplies recovering from the consequences of the ban imposed in 2002. China has consolidated its dominant position regarding EU imports of beeswax. Honey reaches retailers through importers and packers, who often blend honey to make cheap and acceptable table honey. Importers of beeswax, and agents acting on behalf of beeswax traders, often mediate between exporters of beeswax and refiners in the EU. CBI is the Centre for Promotion of Imports from developing countries 10

This useful 15 page document gives October 2006 EU import prices of honey and beeswax, and provides essential market information for traders of honey and beeswax in developing countries who aim to gain access to EU markets. Free to download at


Beesfor Development Journal 82

TREES BEES USE BHOCA – a bee forage plant Shiny Rehel, Keystone Foundation, Tamil Nadu, India

can see the profuse, mass flowering of Bhoca, like a floral mat laid on the tree canopies. It is a characteristic species of dry deciduous forest in this part of South India.

Apicultural value Pterolobium hexapetalum is a major source of nectar and pollen for the honey bees Apis dorsata, Apis cerana and Apis florea. Trigona sp also forage on the flowers, but Apis dorsata is the predominant forager. The honey harvested from Apis dorsata colonies is very sweet, slightly watery and has a pleasant aroma.

Pollen grains Spherical, tricolporate (see right)

Botanical description Pterolobium hexapetalum is an extensive straggler, with long, arching branches. Leaves compound, leaflets oblongoblanceolate Flowers in axillary or terminal racemes, yellowish white colour Pod samaroid, oblong, apically winged red pod Seeds solitary at base, obovoid

Botanical Name Pterolobium hexapatalum

Family Caesalpinaceae

Names In Tamil language Karuindu, Telugu language Walekadula

Pterolobium hexapetalum is indigenously named as Bhoca in the Nilgiris by the Irula community. Bhoca originates from the foot hills (Mettupalayam) up to the hills (Kotagiri). During March and April you


What plants do your bees use? Send details to Bees for Development – address on page 2

Bhoca Pterolobium hexapatalum – a bee forage plant 11

Beesfor Development Journal 82


BOOK SHELF HONEY BEE DISEASES AND PESTS: A PRACTICAL GUIDE Wolfgang Ritter and Pongthep Akratanakul 2006 42 pages Soft cover £12.50 (€17.75) Code R225 This useful book is a revised edition of the earlier FAO text on honey bee diseases and parasites. It concisely and correctly covers all the main problems: microbial diseases; parasitic bee mites; insects; and vertebrates. The rapid spread of honey bee diseases and parasites world-wide is underlined by the many changes that have taken place since the publication of the first edition in 1987. Today, beekeepers in many more countries have Varroa destructor infesting their honey bee colonies, and most have heard of another mite - Tropilaelaps clareae, that is still confined to Asia. One of today’s most problematical ‘international honey bee predators’: small hive beetle Aethina tumida, was not even mentioned in the 1987 text. However, these parasites and disease would not be killing bees in so many parts of the world without assistance by man to move these pathogens far outside their original range, introducing them to populations and species of honey bees that have not evolved in their presence. The two paragraphs that close the book’s section on ‘mammals’ remain highly pertinent: ‘It is important to note that among the primate pests of honey bees, people are probably the most destructive. Honey crops may be stolen, or brood and combs consumed on the spot. Occasionally, entire hives are made off with. Finally, note that in areas where intensive modern apiculture is practised, the loss of bees through human misuse of pesticides is probably greater than loss from all other causes taken together’.

HONEY: A MODERN WOUND MANAGEMENT PRODUCT Richard White, Rose Cooper and Peter Molan 2005 160 pages A5 soft cover £25 (€37.50) Code W111 For over 4,000 years, honey has been known as a natural remedy in caring for wounds, and these healing properties are now being studied scientifically. Faced with serious clinical problems caused by bacteria becoming resistant to common antibiotics, microbiologists are investigating alternative approaches, and turning their attention to honey. Honey has valuable properties for wound treatment, does not adversely affect human tissue, is unlikely to create the selective conditions that lead to resistance, and is comparatively inexpensive. This book describes the anti-microbial action of honey, its capacity to combat inflammation and to promote healing and tissue regeneration. Recent research has focused on the sterile, medical-grade honey products that are harvested and processed specifically for wound management. The book summarises recent research findings, and, containing as it does many colour pictures of wounds in various stages of healing, is not for the faint-hearted.

SMALL-SCALE WOODLAND-BASED ENTERPRISES WITH OUTSTANDING ECONOMIC POTENTIAL - THE CASE OF HONEY IN ZAMBIA G Mickels-Kokwe 2006 82 pages Soft cover £5 (€7.5) admin & delivery costs Code M111 This new book describes a study undertaken by CIFOR, the Center for International Forestry Research, with the aim of providing information for the Zambian Government to develop an appropriate beekeeping policy. To this end, the beekeeping sector (in selected provinces) is characterised: the resource base and levels of production and trade are examined, potential is assessed, and existing policies and institutional arrangements are described. There is a useful description of the honey marketing chain. Information was gathered from literature review, the preparation of stakeholder profiles, interviews, four stakeholder workshops, and survey of prices. The outcome is this extremely useful guide to the honey and beeswax sector in Zambia, providing an up to date and realistic assessment. The information provided is exactly what is needed for institutions to make rational decisions when preparing policy or interventions to assist beekeepers. Just one interesting (and evidently true) point from the book’s discussion chapter is the fact that poor beekeepers often shun groups when it comes to selling their product, and prefer to sell quickly for cash, rather than participate in slow marketing by a group. Yet beekeeping projects so often insist upon group activities, often justified by the high capital costs of so-called ‘modern’ beekeeping. A welcome addition to the literature on African forest and beekeeping development.

GUIDE TO BEES AND HONEY Ted Hooper 2007 276 pages Soft cover £14.99 (€22.50) Code H450 This beekeeping text has proved enduringly popular and valuable. It provides a reliable, comprehensive introduction on how to begin beekeeping with European bees and equipment. There are many photographs and illustrations. Another ‘goodie’ returns to Bookshelf thanks to this reprint by Northern Bee Books. 12


Beesfor Development Journal 82

NOW ON DVD BEEKEEPING IN ZAMBIA Horst Wendorf 2006 (video release 2001) 81 minutes £30.30 (€45.45) Code VID16 This two DVD set shows the work of a beekeeping project in Zambia. It shows people handling bees gently and expertly, the excitement of bringing home a swarm, and people enjoying their beekeeping work. The films give fresh ideas for running a profitable enterprise, and shows exactly how useful beekeeping may be in remote, rural parts of Africa. There are three separate sections: Appropriate beekeeping technology; Processing and marketing of bee products; and Management of bees in top-bar hives.

MAGIC TREES OF ASSAM Gerald Kastberger, with narration by David Attenborough 2007 (video release 2001) 51 minutes £43.80 (€65) Code VID17 English and German A marvellous film that fascinates everyone who sees it. It follows the journey of a giant honey bee colony as it migrates from the foothills of the Himalayas to the plains of Assam. There is fantastic film of the giant honey bee Apis dorsata: how the colony lives and works, defending itself from predators, and most remarkably, gathering to leave on migration. We see as if from the eye of the bee as she flies south over forest and rivers. The colony has to stop several times en route, each time for a few days to fill up with fuel (nectar) for the next leg of the journey. Journey's end is a majestic silk cotton Bombax ceiba tree in the plains of Assam. This 'Magic Tree' is full of Apis dorsata colonies. But how do they know to come here? Only the queen may have been here last year: the workers and drones are too short lived to have been before. The beginning of the film focuses on the defensive nature of the giant bees. It goes on to show exactly why they have to be so defensive, for predators include not only Yacoub, the highly skilled, agile and confident village honey hunter, but also giant spiders, honey buzzards, wasps and ants. This film is in a class of its own - and not on general release: copies are available from BfD, for educational use only.

BEETLE VERSUS BEE: THE DRAMATIC STORY OF A CUNNING PARASITE Gerald Kastberger and Otmar Winder 2007 (video release 2001) 28 minutes £43.80 (€65) Code VID28 English and German This Apimondia-medal winning film provides a review of the devastation caused by the unintentional importation of the small hive beetle Aethina tumida into the USA. Everyone thought the Varroa mite was terrible, but in most American States, beekeepers will tell you this infestation is far worse. Within three years the beekeeper who first found the beetles in his hives lost 500 colonies. The small hive beetle originates from Africa where it creates a nuisance for African bees, but does not kill the colony. The beetle larvae feed voraciously on pollen stores and brood cells. Guard bees chase some beetles away, but when there are too many beetles, African bees have developed the defensive mechanism of 'moving on', that is absconding from the nest, leaving behind their brood. The honey bees present in the USA (European races of Apis mellifera) do not have this defence mechanism and will remain in hives even when there are thousands of beetle larvae destroying the combs. There is no successful treatment. The only chance is to break the beetle's life cycle by preventing larvae pupating and infesting more hives. Good, clean management and hygiene are necessary to ensure this process. The beetle originated as a tropical animal and may not tolerate cold conditions although beetles have been reported in Canada. The film ends with thoughts of the inevitability of the beetle’s arrival in Europe. The film’s producers state that, to reduce the risk, there is a need to enforce strict laws to prevent the importation of bees and queens.

DEFENCE STRATEGIES OF GIANT HONEY BEES Gerald Kastberger 2007 (video release 2001) 23 minutes £32.50 (€48.75) Code VID19 English and German This amazing film shows the behaviour of Apis dorsata and how it protects itself from predators. The filming takes place in Assam, at the edge of the Himalayas. The giant honey bee builds large, single combs, some almost 2 m wide. The colonies nest near one another, sometimes with hundreds of colonies in one tree. These honey bees show defensive behaviour that is very different from that of hive nesting bees, for example a 'Mexican wave' moves across the comb as predatory wasps come close. This film will fascinate beekeepers, teachers, students and any scientist studying honey bees’ defence behaviour. BUYING FROM BfD Order through the Secure Payment System on our website Store at Or you can send an e-mail, fax, or post us a note of what you want Or we will, on request, send an order form or pro forma invoice (we require payment before we dispatch orders) DELIVERY UK addresses FREE delivery on orders up to 1 kg in weight Outside the UK: all orders are dispatched by airmail Please add: 10% for delivery to Europe; 25% for delivery outside Europe For orders over £500 request our quote for delivery costs We are not responsible for loss or damage in transit unless insurance is paid with the order: Optional insurance cover: up to £100 add £10; up to £500 add £15, to total order cost. WAYS TO PAY FOR ORDERS AND SUBSCRIPTIONS Pay Pal to Credit card Electron/Maestro/Mastercard/JCB/Solo/Visa. We need card number, name on card, valid from and expiry dates, card issue number (if given) Cheque or bank draft in UK £ sterling or Euros payable to Bees for Development Web E-mail Phone +44 (0)16007 13648 Fax +44 (0)16007 16167 Post Troy, Monmouth, NP25 4AB, UK


Beesfor Development Journal 82


Beesfor Development Journal 82


PUERTO RICO 1er Congreso Antillano de Apicultura


ARGENTINA I Exposición Apícola Internacional 9-11 March 2007, Mar del Plata Further details

28 June - 1 July 2007, Guayanilla Further details

Bees for Development can arrange beekeeping study tours and visits. Tailormade to suit requirements and to fit any budget. Contact us for details. Bf D BEEKEEPERS’ SAFARIS Further details on page 16 IRELAND Irish Beekeepers’ Summer Course 23-28 July 2007, Gormanston Further details KENYA 2007 Baraka College 18-24 March and 12-18 August: Introduction to beekeeping 15-21 April and 14-20 October: Processing bee products 1-7 July: Bee multiplication and breeding 19-25 August: Making beekeeping equipment Further details

AUSTRALIA APIMONDIA 40th International Apicultural Congress 9-14 September 2007, Melbourne Further details Apimondia Congress and Australia A Bf D Safari in co-operation with Bikonsult of Sweden Further details page 16 BRAZIL XVII Congresso Brasileiro de Apicultura May 2008, Belo Horizonte Further details will appear here CHILE Second Latin American IUFRO Congress 23-27 October 2007, La Serena Further details CHINA 9th AAA Conference 26-30 October 2008 Further details will appear here FINLAND International Conference on Recent Trends in Apicultural Science 10-14 June 2007, Mikkeli Further details

RUSSIA APIMONDIA/SICAMM meeting: the Black Bee in Russia April 2008, Moscow Further details SLOVENIA International Beekeeping Exhibition/State Conference 17-18 March 2007, Celje Further details SOUTH AFRICA XXXII International Congress of Entomology 6-12 July 2008, Durban Further details TURKEY 1st Balkan Countries Beekeeping Congress and Exhibition 29 March - 1 April 2007, Istanbul Further details UK British Beekeepers’ Association Annual Convention 21 April 2007, near Warwick Further details 5th International Symposium on New Crops and Uses 3-4 September 2007, Southampton Further details

FRANCE APIMONDIA 41st International Apicultural Congress 21-24 September 2009, Montpellier Further details

USA 9th International Pollination Symposium 24-28 June 2007, Iowa State Further details home.html

GERMANY 5th Apitherapy and Apipuncture Congress 23-27 March 2007, Passau Further details

Eastern Apicultural Society Conference 6-10 August 2007, Delaware Further details


UK Bf D Training Day 8 June 2007, Monmouth Further details USA Organic beekeeping workshop 27-28 April, Chestnut Ridge NY Further details If you want notice of your conference, workshop or meeting to be included here and on our website send details to Bees for Development, Troy, Monmouth, NP25 4AB, UK E-mail

IT PAYS TO ADVERTISE Bf D Journal offers a great opportunity to contact thousands of readers in over 100 countries. Quarter page advertisements £65; full page £200. Other sizes available – contact details page 2.

estimates and the reporting arrangements. Submit your request to the office of FAO or UNDP in your country. Applications for projects with budgets over US$10,000 must be submitted through a Government Ministry. See

CAMERA READY 7th International Apiculture Photography Contest. Closing date 30 April 2007, see

Remember to tell BfD the outcome of your application.

Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Online closing date 30 March 2007, see

BEE CRAFT A full colour monthly magazine for beginners and experts alike covering all aspects of beekeeping in the UK and Ireland. £22 for 12 issues (one year). Credit cards accepted. For free sample copy and overseas rates contact

PROJECT PROVISION FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, supports beekeeping projects in developing countries. Beekeepers’ groups and associations may apply for small project funding of up to US$10,000 from the TeleFood Special Fund. Request documents should include a brief description of the project’s objectives, the proposed food production or income-generating activities, the work plan, the number of participants, a detailed list of inputs with cost

ULUDAG BEE JOURNAL News, practical information and research articles - a link between Turkish beekeeping and the world. Published quarterly in Turkish with English summaries. Contact 15

AFRICAN HONEY TRADE WORKSHOP 2nd Workshop Proceedings available soon Full details in Bf DJ 83

1st Workshop Proceedings on our website

APIMONDIA CONGRESS 2007 9-14 September, Melbourne, Australia 15 May 2007 deadline for speakers and ‘early bird’ registration Fax: +612 9221 0922 ApiTrade Africa - the Association of African Honey Traders – plan to participate

BEEKEEPERS’ SAFARIS AFTER APIMONDIA AUSTRALIAN LIFE AND BEEKEEPING Organised by Bikonsult of Sweden in co-operation with Bees for Development

14-23 September 2007 €1.065* (£760 approx) per person in double room

TANZANIA With our partners at Njiro Wildlife Research Centre

14-28 November 2007 £1,750* per person

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO March 2008 £1,295* dates and price to be confirmed *Prices exclusive of international flights costs

For more details contact BfD - address below ISSN 1477-6588

Telephone +44 (0) 16007 13648


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