Can I use herbicides to kill weeds and pesticides to kill pests from my coffee shamba where I am also maintaining my apiary? (Christine Mulindwa, Luwero)
It is not advisable to use herbicides, pesticides or eradicative chemicals around apiary sites because they eventually affect bees. Bees are sensitive to scents and may abscond from their hives if they smell them. Research shows that the world population of bees is going down due to over use of chemicals on crops from which they seek nectar for processing honey.
A suitable apiary site
-Water availability; Bees need water to thrive in their business of producing honey. Make sure that there is a water source within a radius of 500 metres. Although bees are known to travel for over 5km looking for water, the nearer the better. If there is no water source, you can put up your own water sources, in small sauce pans or pails near the apiary site.
-Good flowering plants; Bees process honey from nectar. The sources of natural nectar are mainly flowers. This is therefore why it is important to have flowering plants near the apiary. These can be coffee, mangoes, maize, bananas, calliandra, eucalyptus or simsim plants.
-Have shade over the hives; Bees do not like direct sunshine. Therefore, this is why you must select a site that has trees to create a shade. Direct sunshine makes the hives too hot for the bees to live in.
-Away from human habitation; The site should be at least 100 metres away from human houses. This is intended to stop attacks from the bees. The nearer the hives are to a homestead, the easier it is for the bees to be disrupted into attacking people.
-Keep it away from any animals or animal shelters for example a kraal. Bees are easily irritated by animals and they may attack them. Animals may also meander into the apiary site, hence causing attacks.