Uganda Honey

Honey in its purest

My share of pain and experience…………………….

Aftermath of visiting african bees without knowing their prowess. Picture taken in 2001.

Many had not seen the tough times that I had gone through with the bees here. This was the result for not handling Api Meliferra Scutellata well. I had this picture taken way back in 2001 when I still had not much experience and knowing the aggressiveness of this species. It was after 4 days when the swell had subsided before I could take this picture. I had about 40 stings on my face from this stunt of not respecting and donning my bee suit.

I recalled having my first colony behind my backyard. Every evening when dark fell, I would put on my bee suit, veil and glove. I would light my smoker, grab my hive tool and brush, all ready to face the african bees. All dressed up not knowing what to do and expect.

Every time I tried to open the hive, the whole colony would simply “pour” themselves out of the hive, crawling all over my body. I would use the brush to brush them off, making them even more aggressive. After an hour, I would give up, slammed the cover and literally crushed all the bees that were out.

Come next morning, no one could walk near the hive. They would still be hovering around the hive, attacking any moving creatures that had gone near their habitat.

10 years with these notorious ladies and finally now I am able to interact with them harmoniously. Working with them requires a lot of understanding……. about their behaviour, the environment, our own temperament while handling them.Ā Perseverance had paid off. When was the last time you did something for the first time? šŸ™‚

Practice only makes a habit.....CONSTANT practice makes perfect! Picture taken in Nov 2010.

 

Advertisements

November 8, 2010 Posted by | apiculture, bee colony, Beekeeping, beekeeping journal, beekeeping training | , , , | Leave a comment

First squadron takes off………………..

After a week of rest, we went back to organize our first colony of bees for our relocation exercise. The process is tedious but it is better to be safe than sorry. The colony will be placed in a bee proof cage for double protection. The bee hive itself will also be sealed except a small portion which we will only cover it with wire mesh.

All this were being done the night before because we have to wait for the foragers to come back. If not, when morning comes, some of the foragers will be left behind. We try to relocate the whole colony if possible.

It will be a slow two and a half hours drive from Kampala to Masaka. Setting off at 5am, hopefully with no traffic jams, reaching Timothy Centre by 9am. We have to abide to the schedule in order that we can quickly release the bees when we reach our destination.

pic1

Francis preparing to seal the top part of the hive.

pic2

Any gap that is more than 49mm must be sealed. If not the bees will escape.

pic3

We leave the last few bars free from tapes so that the bees can breathe through it. A fine wire mesh is place instead.

pic4

Wire mesh neatly covering the last few bars.

pic5

Francis is pleased that the whole process was done without aggravating the bees.

pic6

The colony is going to spend a night in my car.

pic7

Preparing to place the beehive inside the bee-proof cage.

pic9

Helmut came to assist while I was taking all these photos.

pic10

Colony safely inside my car.

The next morning at 5am, the journey starts. Luckily there wasn’t much traffic. We need to get out of town as quickly as possible just in case if there were any mishap or the bees somehow escape. We will then be endangering the public. Keeping our fingers crossed all the way.

pic11

Reached Timothy Centre around 9am. A black cloth is used to cover the cage to reduce the light from entering the hive. The bees will then be less active, less stressed.

pic13

Karl and his staffs were already waiting for our arrival.

pic14

The bees are going to their new home.

pic16

Timothy Centre bees haven.

pic17

The colony has reached its destination.

pic18

The bees are settling in for now.

Due to the aggressive nature of Api Mellifera Scutellata, relocation of these species, great care must be taken. One cannot slack in any of the procedure. Most important aspect when handling these bees is to minimize as much direct contact with them. The amount of smoke being introduced must be just right. Many Ugandan bee farmers are still having this idea of smoking too much, thus aggravating and suffocating the bees.

Once the bees are settled in, we release them. As for the tapes, we shall remove them as we perform our regular hive management. We do not remove all the tapes immediately, if not we will experience the whole colony pouring out, attacking anything within 100m.

November 13, 2009 Posted by | apiculture, bee colony, bee hive, Beekeeping, beekeeping journal, beekeeping training, honey, Honey Processing, Honey Quality Control, Sustainable Beekeeping | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment