When we started our farm in the early 1990s we found a lot of bees in the area, unfortunately, the bees have been destroyed to pave way for farming and human settlement. Many were destroyed by burning them! At the time wild bees were nesting in termites’ mounds, underground tunnels dug by wild animals, holes in either live or dead trees, cracks in stones, and abandoned homes among others.
As people started settling in the area trees and other places of nesting were destroyed. Many of the flowering plants including mangoes, avocados, jackfruits, coffee, guavas, and other flowering wild plants were destroyed to pave way for human settlement. As a result, the population of bees has drastically been reduced with negative consequences on food production as bees are the most effective agent of pollination.
Home for bees -Apiary
In order to enhance food production on the farm and in the neighborhood, we implemented a beekeeping or apiculture project using KTB bee hives. We have so far attracted over 60 colonies of honey bees to our farm. The bees have enhanced crop production on our farm and the neighborhood as they are effective agents of pollination.
Attracting bees to the farm
We have done a number of things to attract bees to the farm including the provision of water on the farm, planting flowering plants, making the farm look as natural as it can, stopping the spraying of pesticides, planting some weeds that attract bees, and promoting an awareness program.
Bee awareness program
We have continuously made the community aware of the importance of bees including offering to buy the bees from them instead of being destroyed. The community has responded positively by always alerting our team of the existence of unwanted bees in their areas. Our team with the resources availed to it is always at hand to rescue the bees.
Benefits of apiary
Bee farming is an important component of our farm because of the roles the bees play in the pollination of plants. Bees as agents of crop pollination play a key role in enhancing our crop production. We harvest honey from the apiary twice a year resulting in increasing our income levels and health stands. The honey is generally used in our kitchen and the balance is sold to our visitors.
Initial capital is required to acquire beehives and to construct the framework on which the beehives are placed. The framework can be either wooden or metallic. If the wooden structure is selected, it is advisable for it to be placed under a roofed shade to prevent the rainwater from spoiling it. At the farm, we opted for a metal framework to accommodate the bee hives in the open. Capital is required to ensure enough bee food is on the farm through acquiring and planting various flowering plants that provide the source of nectar, propolis, and pollen. We also invested in small bait hives which we used to attract bees. The bait hives were placed in the various parts of the farm and in surrounding areas with the permission of our neighbors.
As far food chain is concerned we cannot live without bees therefore effort must be taken by the community with the guidance and support of the government to preserve the bees.