Theshade created by the large mango tree looked an obvious site for keeping bees. “We subsequently erected stands for 20 hives and set them up,” Moses Busulwa says.
The hives were colonised fast and Busulwa expected good harvests soon. But during the last mango season, everything went wrong.
“There were many ripe mangoes falling and rotting around the hives and these attracted all sorts of insects including red ants. These went up into the hives and forced the bees to abandon the hives,” he says. This was a hard lesson learnt for Busulwa and now he has since transferred all the hives away from directly under the mango tree.
- Keep the trees for the shade well-trimmed to reduce incidences of pests.
- Carry monthly checks on the hives to lookout for infiltration by insects. If a hive is infected by other elements, for example, bee beetles or termites, you need to decolonise it and clean it.
- If there is not enough water or flowering plants, establish water mixed with sugar in small containers not far from the apiary unit.
Dealing with bee pests
Thereare a wide range of pests that attack bees, thereby reducing honey production. Some of these are insects like termites, while others are reptiles like lizards or even mammals like the mongoose. Other insects include hive beetles, termites, weaver ants, bee hornets, black bugs, munyeera, red ants and wasps. To stop these attacks, a farmer must carry out various interventions.
-To stop bee hornets, look for their nests near the hives and destroy them manually.
-To stop termites smear burnt engine oil on the hive stands in order to stop them from climbing up.
-To stop rats from going into the hives, make sure that the top cover of the hive is well set because that is where they pass to access the hives. You can also use a heavy object, placed on top of the cover to keep it in position.
-To control wax moth, use improvised bottle traps with vinegar and water. Plastic mineral water bottles can do. The moth will be attracted into the bottle and it will not come out.