Human beings have been collecting honey and other products from wild bees for thousands of years. But it can be difficult to find wild bee nests and can be risky to remove the honey. Beekeeping on the other hand, is a fantastic way to conveniently access your own supply of honey, at little cost. As well as providing honey and wax for home consumption, honeybee products can be sold to provide a good income, either locally or on a bigger scale.
Bees can can kept in a huge range of different environments – in forest, woodland, grassland, even in urban areas. It doesn’t require a lot of space, the bees find their own food, and it is suitable for town dwellers as well as in rural places. Bee keeping can even be profitable in semi-arid areas that are unsuitable for agriculture, and it’s an ideal activity for conservation areas because it is a non-destructive way to profit from natural vegetation. Additional value, and an absolute blessing for those who suffer elephant damage to their crops, is that elephants don’t like bees. If bees are around, elephants go the other way, which means that keeping bees can be an effective way to protect your crops and homesteads from elephant damage, while earning extra money at the same time – win:win. In addition, because honeybees pollinate plants, farms and orchards can yield up to 30% higher when hives are close by!
Our new Action sheet is an introduction to Beekeeping, written with apiarists at FOREP – Forest Resources for People, Limbe in Cameroon who have been keeping bees and training small holders for over 20 years. It gives a little background on honey bees and the benefits of bee keeping, and what you need to get started. We briefly describe how to make and set up a hive, choose a site, attract bees and care for them, how to harvest your honey, and process it. There is also guidance on where to get training, more information and on-going support.
Image 1 © FOREP. Installing a hive in rain forest, Cameroon. Image 2 © Carbon Green Africa. KTB (Kenyan Top Bar) bee hive in miombo woodland northern Zimbabwe