Starting Modern Bee Farming In Kenya

  What do you require to start a beekeeping  project in       Kenya?

Bee keeping in Kenya is done by communities living in ASAL regions. The bee farming activity is done for number of reasons in most areas of our country. Since in memorial a good number of farmers in Kenya produced honey for own consumption. The only excess quantity is what is presented for sale, mostly to neighbours and friends of the beekeeper. In the wake of current world where lots of research that involved modern technology, there is a good uptake steps by many individuals who have seen the potential of commercializing the beekeeping industry. Most of the Kenyan people have come to understand that beekeeping is the easiest mode of agriculture that is also cost effective.

Requirement of a beekeeper before starting a bee keeping project.

As a beginner beekeeper, you will require a high quality, durable beehive that will act as a home for your bees. The most recommended beehive for a beginner is a langstroth beehive. What does a good quality beehive comprise of? The beehive that is considered to be of high quality and that can last for long is a beehive that is constructed without extra spaces that make the worker bees to overwork. Other common types of beehives in Kenya include: Log hive, Kenya Top Bar, Box hives , langstroth standard, and Improved langstroth hives. A beehive to be categorized as the best, should be easy to maintain, have a very simple design of the top covers and supers.


Maintain the standard spacing between the frames and the bars inside the hive boxes. All these allows the beekeeper to be able to inspect the condition of the hive easily, conduct smooth harvesting

• A bee suit- A bee suit includes the head veil, which offers protection against bee stings on your face and head. Should be worn under the gumboots.
• A pair of gloves- There are two types of hand gloves: the rubber hand gloves and the leather hand gloves.
• Bees smoker- this equipment it’s so special on its own as it is majorly used to calm the bees during the time you are operating in a bee hive. You should look for a smoker burns for longer period, with a good sized opening to emit enough smoke and at the same time it should be a fuel preservative. There are three types of bee smokers: Local fabricated smokers, imported bees smoker with heat guard and the automated bee smokers.
• Bee brush- A bee brush is very much important as it helps you wipe the bees off the honey comb. An ideal bee brush should have soft bristles.
• Hive tool- this is important equipment that a beginner beekeeper need to purchase. It helps in opening of the beehive, ungluing the frames and bars from the hive during inspections and harvesting. Hive tool also helps you lift the frames as well as cleaning of the propolis from the hive. Also read

Best location for a beekeeper to keep hives.

As a beginner beekeeper you should get some basic information from experts selling you the hives on the most ideal place for setting up the apiary. An apiary needs to sit in a far place from noise and disturbance by human activities. The place need not be swampy as the bees may abscond as a result. The place needs to be having a good shade especially during summer season, bees dislike harsh climatic condition. Also you should ensure that once you start practicing bee farming, should avoid frequent sprays on your crops to reduce bee poisoning and also cases of honey contamination. It is recommended for you as a farmer to embrace organic farming.

Bee apiary should be done in a place where water is available as well as forage. In case there is no continuous supply of the bee forage then it is advisable you set plans to avail then as when needed. There are two major types of apiary that are embraced by beekeepers depending on the available size of the land. These include: closed apiary (where a structure that has a wall and roof is done).Then there is an open apiary (which is set mostly under trees plantation). In situations where you will settle on an open apiary structure, ensure you fence that particular area to protect your beehives from animals, honey badgers, humans and monkeys.

Better place all the hives at a height that you will find comfortable to work without causing disturbance to the bees. When this is put in practice helps above all to tame your bees. There should be a space left between one hive to the other about 1-1.5m – this helps you to get enough working area. In case you have a limitation of space then I would recommend you pair the hives. If you are capable then opt for metallic stands for your beehive. Note that all these stands should have metallic cups where you will need to pour engine oil to bar the crawling ants from accessing your hives. If you use wood stands then make use of crease to bar the small insects which are great threat to your bees.


What are the best plants for bees?


Bee farming is a long term agricultural project that needs proper planning. Few things that you should put into consideration:
1. What will be the source of nectar and pollen for my bees?
2. What will happen to my bees if my bees during dry season?
3. What vegetable should I grow within the range of my apiary?
4. Which trees should I plant to provide nectar in long run for my bees?

The above questions are very critical as it is a requirement that trees surrounding your apiary should provide the apiary with enough pollen, nectar and water catchment as well. You can as well influence your bees to produce the type of honey you would nee, for instance, a beekeeper may produce citrus honey, mango honey or even sunflower honey.

Bees love wild flowers very much and that is the reason why you should supplement the available herbs with other variety of plants which are great source of quality forage. Some of the trees that you can plant around your apiary as well as vegetables are capsicum, Papaya, bottle brush, okra, pumpkins, eucalyptus, red mahogany, cassava, sweet potato, sunflowers, oranges, mango, Napier grass, maize, Bermuda grass, hibiscus, Apple ring, black pepper, cowpea, beans, and acacia.


How Do You Attract bees in Your Hive?

Catching a bee colony to your hive requires a plan and not sit wait for luck to happen. Bee hives are fitted with bee attractants.  Attractants play great role in wooing bees from the forest to come and make the hive installed their home. Some of the attractants we use for our hives include: bees wax, starter strips, starter combs, lemongrass oil and other swarm lures. The best attractant of our all times is a mixture of two components that we found working amazingly. It is because of that great innovation that you find all our beehives have better chances of catching bee colonies in few days after setting them in apiary.

Biggest Beekeeper’s Challenge?

The great challenge of all times for the beekeeper is absconding. Absconding of bees is whereby all the bees leave your hive entirely. This happens as a result of many factors , one being attack of the colony by crawling insects, careless handling of bees while harvesting or conducting hive inspections frustrates the bees, harsh climatic conditions or lack of forage within the recommended radius. Some good examples of poor handling of beehives are breaking the combs anyhow, excess hive smoking, banging hive, being rough on the bees. Other factors that cause absconding of bees are excess heat in the hive or excess cold in the hive as this makes the bees to overwork, something bees dislike very much. Also read

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