BEE FARMING

Introduction

Modern and improved bee keeping is not a very well established farming enterprises in the country.  The modern Kenya Top Bar hive is still being introduced in most districts.

Potential for bee keeping in the province is lowered by heavy sprays done on coffee and vegetable which tend to kill bees.  However, farmers bordering forest areas can exploit the existing potential.

Honey marketing is also not well established.  Refined honey is sold in shops in towns but most of it is imported from other countries to Kenya

BEE KEEPING MANAGEMENT PRACTICES

  • Recommended Hives Type

The recommended improved type is Kenya Top Bar Hive which has been researched in Kenya for sometimes now.

  1. T. B Hive Advantages

The hive is made such that is easy to handle and inspect.

The hive can produce 25-30kg of honey per year and about 7 kg of wax.

It is not easy to be attacked by pests because of the way it is handed

In times of drought bees can be fed easily by the farmer.

  • Apiary

Site selection

The apiary should be sited in accessible place.  Avoid marshy areas

It should be far away from homestead, roads, schools or livestock houses.

Provide a windbreak if possible which will measure the flying height fro bees.

Select a place with proper forage species for nectar such as osman spp. (makuri) acasia, mukeu, Ngananguru, Mangoes, citrus, mukinduri, bananas, etc.

Select a place near a water source for bees or provide water.

NB:  if water is provided, put sticks slanting to the container sot that bees can walk on them and prevent drowning.

  • Hive Hunging Patterns

Types

Cross pattern

The pattern is best recommended as it saves on posts and land.  Post are shared by hives as shown in the drawing attached.

NB:Hunging is done so that hive entrance fee out and this prevents drift.  Bees are able to get their hive easily when they come from foraging.

Hive Management

Hive Stocking

Pure bee was is used so that it can attract bees into the hive.  It is smeared on the lib of the top bar.

Method

Use catcher box which consists of  4 top bars.

Remove 1 top bar full of honey, another full of brood and another ½ pollen + brood and another ½ pollen plus honey from a hive with a colony.  Place them in the catcher box and then transfer the catcher box to a new hive.

Queen Excluder

If absconding is too much use a queen excluder.

Bee Keeping

  • Visit apiary and check the types of hives used and advise on advantages of KTB hives
  • Discuses hunging patterns and demonstrate.
  • Check apiary sitting and distance from the homestead
  • Check the farmers knowledge on hive management
  • Does the farmer have honey harvesting kit and does he know how to harvest?
  • How does the farmer handle honey, was brood and combs?
  • Is there problem of pests and the apiary? Check and advice on control measures.
  • How is honey being marketed or used?