Thursday, 28 June 2012

Apiconsult Newsletter June / July 2012

Click to view this email in a browser - The African Beekeeping Resource Centre    Apiconsult News
African Beekeeping Newsletter - June/July 2012 Edition
An Occasional Newsletter on African Bees & Beekeeping
Varroa in Africa
What is the impact on beekeeping?

Varroa destructor (formerly Varroa jacobsoni) is a very serious parasite of honeybees (Apis mellifera).  The mite is somewhat harmless on its natural host, the Eastern honeybee, (Apis cerana) however the varroa mite has crossed onto Apis mellifera and has spread from Asia throughout most of the world.  In 2009 Varroa was discovered in Kenya by researchers from the US and Kenya and additional surveying across Kenya, in Tanzania and Uganda showed that Varroa is wide-spread throughout Kenya and present in Tanzania.  It is not clear yet what impact varroa is having on bee populations. 

What should beekeepers do?

Mary Ann Frazier of Penn State University and her ICIPE, Nairobi colleagues are strongly advising beekeepers NOT to employ chemical controls.  In other places (US, Canada, Europe) chemical controls have kept bees alive in the short run but have resulted in pesticide accumulation in wax and the inability of the bees to develop resistance to the mites on their own.  In Ireland for example, where mites were first discovered in 1998, the mites are now developing resistance to the chemical treatments for Varroa.  According to Mary Ann in South Africa where chemicals were not employed, "the bees appear to have developed resistance in 7-8 years and are now considered a minor pest".  

Perhaps beekeepers have observations concerning Varroa, and the health of honey bees over the past 10 years in Kenya and other African countries where bees are infected by Varroa.   

Have you seen Varroa in your hives or do you have any views to share on bee health in Africa?  Please post your comments to the Varroa thread on the Apiconsult website:  Click here 

Mites of Safari

You are welcome to download Chris Davey's article which gives a detailed overview on Varroa in Africa (provided here with the kind permission of the author).  The article was first published in the April 2010 issue of the UK journal, Beekeepers Quarterly.   Click here

Learning from Failure
Why we need to embrace our disappointments

Abandoned beehives

There is a very interesting video on the TED website about the need to learn from failure in development projects.  I have embedded the video on the Apiconsult website – click here to watch.  The video really grabbed my attention because I immediately saw the parallels between beekeeping development in Africa and what David talks of in relation to water projects in Malawi.  As human beings we have a natural tendency to fear admitting mistakes.  What will our donors think?  As David says, how can we go back and tell the donor "well actually the money you so generously donated was wasted" hmm….. That wouldn't go down too well!   So the natural reaction is to gloss over failure and mistakes and present things in the best light possible.  Yes, all the beekeepers improved their livelihoods, they got great yields of honey from their brilliant 'modern hives' which they then sold without any problems.    Problems encountered are not mentioned.   For example the defensive nature of the African bee is generally not mentioned at all as being an issue for African beekeepers.   Low hive occupation rates in African beekeeping is another issue which is frequently overlooked.  For example less than 40% of my own beehives in Nakuru were in production over a 4 year period.

This inclination to show everything in the best possible light however has the effect of not allowing us to reflect , learn and improve our practice.  Since we are not open to sharing mistakes others following behind us come and repeat our mistakes over again.  Failed projects get repeated again and again.  See more on learning from failure in development at:

Note:  The African beekeeping Resource Center (ABRC), a Kenya registered NGO, is currently undertaking an evaluation of beekeeping projects in East Africa in order to learn the lessons from both the successes and failures of beekeeping interventions.  Please get in touch for further information:

Empty and neglected hives
Harvesting the honey
Contact Apiconsult for Expert Advice on African Beekeeping
If you are a Business, Charity, NGO or Donor Agency and thinking of a beekeeping intervention in Africa, Apiconsult can help.  Get off on the right track - make sure your money will be wisely spent and will actually help beekeepers to improve their livelihoods.

New images added to the Apiconsult Gallery
New Beekeeping Gallery
Additional photographs have been added to the Apiconsult website on beekeeping in Africa and also in Ireland.  Catching a swarm, bee management and a variety of African beekeeping pictures.

Join the Apiconsult Beekeeper's Forum
Apiconsult Forum
Knowledge is key to beekeeping success.  Join the discussion on African beekeeping at the Apiconsult forum.  You can now log in using your facebook account.

Join Apiconsult on Facebook
Apiconsult is now on Facebook.  You are invited to connect with Apiconsult on Facebook.  

Beekeeping Links

On the Apiconsult links page you can find links to websites and  other useful  resources on African beekeeping.  If you know of any other useful links/resources not listed please email your suggestions to

Thank You 
for subscribing to this newsletter.  I hope you find it useful.  Please send any comments or suggestions on the newsletter to:

Apiconsult strives to promote the development of beekeeping in Africa through expert advice and sharing of information appropriate to African beekeeping amongst those involved in beekeeping on the continent and beekeepers throughout the world.


Contact Us:  Apiconsult, Box 12173, Nakuru 20100, Kenya.  Email:

If you no longer wish to receive these emails, please reply to this message with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line or simply click on the following link: Unsubscribe

Click here to forward this email to a friend

Box 12173
Nakuru, 20100

Read the VerticalResponse marketing policy.

Try Email Marketing with VerticalResponse!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Central Beekeepers Alliance : 2011 Maritime Bee Tour – You’re Invited!

Central Beekeepers Alliance : 2011 Maritime Bee Tour – You’re Invited!

2011 Maritime Bee Tour – You’re Invited!

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 09:40 AM PDT

Every summer, beekeepers in our region look forward to the "Bee Tour" of the Maritimes Beekeepers Association. Well, it's that time again – and you're invited on the 2011 Maritime Bee Tour, hosted by the Nova Scotia Beekeepers Association!

SENB Beekeepers’ Field Day 18 June 2011

Posted: 15 Jun 2011 10:43 AM PDT

Southeast New Brunswick Beekeeper’s Association will be holding a field day on Saturday, 18 June 2011 — rain or shine. Registration and coffee will be at 9:30 a.m. at the Salisbury Baptist Church, Main Street, Salisbury, New Brunswick.  If weather permits, the afternoon session will take place at the Country Fields/ Dore Honey apiary in [...]

Four New Viruses Found in US Honey Bees

Posted: 09 Jun 2011 09:22 AM PDT

What viruses and bacteria exist in a normal honey bee colony throughout the year? A new study by UCSF researchers followed 20 colonies in a commercial beekeeping operation of more than 70,000 hives as they were transported across United States for crop pollination.

Honey Fights Bacteria in Wounds, Scientists Say

Posted: 09 May 2011 08:46 PM PDT

Some 2000 years before the discovery of the existence of bacteria, honey was used to treat infected wounds. With the advent of modern medicine, such "folk remedies" as honey for wound treatment have gone out of favour, but in recent years honey has started to get more attention. Now, another study lends further credence to [...]

Beekeeper Responds to Health Canada “Anti-Honey Campaign”

Posted: 17 Mar 2011 10:11 AM PDT

In this submitted article, New Brunswick beekeeper Richard Duplain responds to recent warnings from Health Canada about  infant botulism as an effect of toxins in honey, as well as an implied connection between honey and allergies due to pollen. Health Canada advises against using Honey Letter to the Editor or Commentary Recently Health Canada embarked [...]

From Chemicals to Air Pollution, New Report Points to Multiple Threats to Bees

Posted: 10 Mar 2011 07:49 AM PST

More than a dozen factors, ranging from declines in flowering plants and the use of memory-damaging insecticides to the world-wide spread of pests and air pollution, may be behind the emerging decline of bee colonies across many parts of the globe. Scientists are warning that without profound changes to the way human-beings manage the planet, [...]

NB Agriculture Website is Updated, Better for Beekeepers

Posted: 17 Dec 2010 10:10 AM PST

The New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries has launched a major update to its website. Beyond a clean new look, the revised website makes it easier to find information published by the department, including forms and regulations. For beekeepers, there is a separate page all about bees, which serves as a “one-stop shop” [...]

Free Honey and Pollen Analysis Offered to Canadian Beekeepers

Posted: 09 Nov 2010 04:57 AM PST

A two-year research project entitled Floral identification of Canadian honey and pollen and development of a palynological reference booklet aims to develop a Canadian expertise in honey and pollen identification.  Unlike European honeys, Canadian honeys are not differentiated by their specific floral sources. The term "mixed flowers" categorizes the majority of honey sold in the [...]

Varroa Mites Blamed for Winter Bee Losses in Canada

Posted: 08 Nov 2010 07:58 AM PST

Here's a good reason for beekeepers to treat all bee colonies for mites, whether or not you've seen visible evidence of infestation: "Varroa destructor is the main culprit for the death and reduced populations of overwintered honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies in Ontario, Canada," says a report from the University of Guelph and Universidad Nacional [...]

PEI Honey Product Wins Prestigious Prize

Posted: 21 Oct 2010 07:39 PM PDT

Central Beekeepers Alliance sends its hearty congratulations to Island Abbey Foods Ltd. of Prince Edward Island. The company just won the Global SIAL d'Or, one of the world's top food prizes, for its innovative Honibe Honey Drop, a dried honey product in the form of a lozenge, used to sweeten a hot beverage with honey [...]

Bees trained to give early warning of plant disease

Posted: 14 Jul 2010 06:06 PM PDT

Remember, back in school, hearing about Pavlov’s dog that learned to drool when it heard a bell ring? That method of “classical conditioning” is how Dr. Andrew Sutherland, a researcher with the University of California Davis Plant Pathology Department, is training honey bees to detect plant disease in agricultural crops. Here’s the story, straight from [...]