Over the weekend, I drove up to the village to see whether I could save that colony that had their queen mutilated. Whenever I come to know of these happenings, I feel sad. On one hand everyone in the beekeeping world is talking about the disappearance of bees, the colony collapse disorder, viruses and diseases affecting them, but on the other hand, teaches African farmers how to mutilated, deface and destroy the queen in the name of professional beekeeping. Hypocrite!
I used to keep quiet about what I saw on the ground, how many failed projects with abandoned hives and equipments but I reckon this has to stop. If no one is going to stand out to tell the world what is actually happening in the honeybee industry in these developing countries, I can foresee in no time, the last remaining frontier where the honeybees are still living in their own natural ways, will be wiped out by the human race because of greed.
I am not slapping my own face as a commercial beekeeper, but I believe strongly that I can still live harmoniously with them and yet able to provide two meals for my family from the income generated from honey farming.
Watch the clip and see how stressed the queen was and the fate of this colony. She was not even making any effort to escape from my hand. Her fate was sealed.
Recently one of my student bought a few colonies from a local bee expert. He found one of his colony behaving strangely. They were all outside just below the entrance and on the grass. He was wondering what had happened.
When I looked at the picture, immediately I knew that the queen had her wings clipped. What a sad sight!
Many overseas “professional” beekeepers were paid handsomely by NGOs to come here to teach the locals on beekeeping. They would spend a few days showing them what they did back in their own country with their European species. After which off they go. Most of these overseas beekeepers have no experience with African bees and have no idea how to curb the high absconding rate of African bees. And do you know what were their solutions? They teach these farmers to clip the wings of the queen to prevent them from absconding. What a stupid idea! Imagine if someone were to cut off both your legs against your will to prevent you from leaving, how would you feel. In other words, your defense system would be compromised and your chance of survival would be slimmer.
I wonder why do they call themselves beekeepers when in actual fact, they show no empathy and well being for them. They mutilated the queen for their own convenience. There are other ways to prevent these poor little insects from absconding and yet, they chose the inhumane way.
Honey bees, like all other living creatures, have it natural instinct that the hive is not suitable for them. It could be due to infestation of other predators or the food source is not there. There must be a reason why they need to abscond to a safer or better place. Just put yourself in their situation. I believe you will do the same thing.
Take a look at the picture below. The queen tried to abscond but because her wings were clipped, she could not fly but fell onto the ground. The rest of the family followed. I can assure you that in no time, the whole colony will be consumed by predators. This will be the end of this colony.
Not too long ago, I was approached by a beekeeper from overseas and she wanted me to join her workshop. She gave me a video showing her working with African bees. It was a total mess. The bees were literally attacking everyone in the class and I cannot imagine how many bees perished during her workshop. End of the video, it showed her proudly displaying a modified traditional bee hive that can never work with the harsh environment and the behavior of these African bees. It was her first time in Africa and working with African bees.