Uganda Honey

Honey in its purest

Traditional beekeeping in Uganda, Africa…………………….

Modern beekeeping had changed the way human interact with the honeybees. It’s sad to see man intervention on the way bees should live their life. So much so that the beautiful art of beekeeping and the natural way honey being produced were long forgotten. All over the world, a lot of good quality honey were being adulterated just to increase the volume to increase sales. Yet consumers just simply buy honey without even knowing what they are buying. What goes around, comes around. End of the day, it is us human will suffer the consequences if we do not pause a while and reflect what we had done to the honeybees.

But why the shortage of honey in the world demand? During my trip to South Africa in 2001 for a conference, there was already a world shortage of honey of 700,000 tons annually. And recent years the industry was faced with a “Colony Collapse Disorder”. Bees just simply flies out of their hives in the morning and never return. Where did they go? Nobody knows.

A very simple approach to the above equation is this; shortage of honey = shortage of bees. Period. If there is an opportunity to ask many commercial beekeepers, you will be able to know the answers. Hopefully they can pick up the courage to tell you what they do to the queen when they feel she is not productive anymore. How they mutilate her wings just to prevent her from ordering the whole colony to flee. I for one will feel so sad knowing how much they need to suffer to cater for humans.

Uganda is one of the last frontiers that the bees are still resilient to bee viruses. The honey that were harvested are indeed in its purest form, It is so much more rewarding to work inline with nature rather than working against it for man conveniences. Bees are handled in its own natural way, no destroying of unproductive queen, no mutilation of wings, no introduction of antibiotic or medication.

I know it is not easy to visit these kind of beekeeping especially in the Northern part of Uganda. I hope I can bring you closer to see traditional beekeeping with my blog.

Below you will be able to see one of my beekeeper working on a traditional hive. This traditional hive is made from natural rattan wooven together. The outer surface is covered with mud, Mother Earth. This natural way of keeping bees does give the bees a natural feel as if they had found an empty crevice in the wild. You can see the bees moving around the honey combs.

This traditonal bee hive is made from natural rattan wooven together. It is then covered with mud. The final touch to make this bee hive cool is to wrap it with dry leaves to reduce the heat from direct sunlight.

This traditional bee hive is made from natural rattan woven together. An eco-friendly beehive. It is covered with layer of mud for insulation purposes and finally wrap it with dry leaves to reduce the heat from direct sunlight.

This is a closeup view of the ripe honey ready forharvesting. The beekeeper had already pushed the bees gently forward to the front with a little bit of smoke.

This is a closeup view of the ripe honey ready for harvesting. The beekeeper had already pushed the bees gently forward to the front with a little bit of smoke.

Gently the farmer will cut the top part of each ripe comb and then using a very soft brush, brushing the bees away.

Gently the farmer will cut the top part of each ripe comb and then using a very soft brush, brushing the bees away.

One by one from the back, the bee keepers remove the ripe honey without aggrevating the bees or killing them.

One by one from the back, the bee keepers remove the ripe honey without aggravating the bees or killing them.

Usually the beekeeper would not take more than 7 combs per hive. The rest of the honey will be left behind for the bees to consume. A banana fibre cover is then used to cover the back.
Usually the beekeeper would not take more than 7 combs per hive. The rest of the honey will be left behind for the bees to consume. A banana fibre cover is then used to cover the back.

The next time when you visit a supermarket to look for honey, simply ask how the honey was harvested. Exactly where is the honey coming from. šŸ™‚

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January 12, 2009 - Posted by | apiculture, bee colony, bee hive, beekeeping journal, honey, honey harvest, Sustainable Beekeeping | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

6 Comments »

  1. i am a student in one of the Nigerian universities i want to know if in Uganda pot hive is used for traditional hive because in Nigeria we have different types of hive and my research on the net i haven’t come across the pictures of pot hive

    Comment by shola | March 26, 2009 | Reply

    • Hi Shola, your question is incomplete. What are you trying to ask about the pot hive?

      Comment by Lesster | March 27, 2009 | Reply

  2. Dear Randy Sue,
    Currently I do not have any picture of the front of the rattan hive, but I will take note and get some for you. Basically what we do is to create a cover, made out of wood. Cut it into a circular shape that can fit into the diameter of the hive Drill about 4 to 5 holes in line and place it somehwere at the lower end of the cover. To get it to stay, we use cow dung to seal up the circumference between the hive and the cover.

    Hope this help and all the best in your endeavour. šŸ™‚

    Comment by Lesster | March 11, 2009 | Reply

  3. I am researching round hives to start using them in my apiary. I really love the natural rattan hives you show here. Do you have a picture of the front of it? I would like to see where the bees enter and exit. I’m going to duplicate this hive and see how it works in my part of the world. I’m in northern California.
    Thanks so much for your posts.
    You can email me directly if you wish. I would greatly appreciate any help you could offer.
    Thank you!
    Randy Sue

    Comment by Randy Sue Collins | March 10, 2009 | Reply

  4. […] The issues illustrated in the article was discussed previsouly in the entry Ā Traditional beekeeping in Uganda, Africa. […]

    Pingback by Inefficiencies, low capacity cripple uganda honey industry « Uganda Honey | February 22, 2009 | Reply

  5. […] and traditional log hives, and results start showing for itself. Do read my previous blog, ‘Traditional beekeeping in Uganda‘, for the reason whyLangstroth works […]

    Pingback by Swarm catcher……………………. « Uganda Honey | January 22, 2009 | Reply


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