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They tame, breed, sell honey bees

By Vision Reporter

Added 18th June 2012 03:26 PM

They say honey is the sweetest thing on earth. But to get honey, you need to tame bees. It is common for people to buy hives and wait for the bees to settle in them in vain.

They tame, breed, sell honey bees

They say honey is the sweetest thing on earth. But to get honey, you need to tame bees. It is common for people to buy hives and wait for the bees to settle in them in vain.

 

By Joshua Kato and Umar Nsubuga 
 
They say honey is the sweetest thing on earth. But to get honey, you need to tame bees. It is common for people to buy hives and wait for the bees to settle in them in vain.
 
“Many people in the apiary enterprise have been frustrated because they fail to attract bees after buying hives,” says Erieza Nsubuga, a beekeeper. 
 
This is why Nsubuga, a resident of Nakaseke town in Nakaseke district, decided to solve this problem for apiary investors. He makes hives, attracts bees in the hives before selling them off to farmers. Nsubuga sells colonised hives. 
 
“I started doing this in 1996. By then, however, it was on a small scale,” Nsubuga says. His enterprise has since grown and he now supplies the colonised hives to beekeepers across the East African region. 
 
Nsubuga says he gained interest in beekeeping while working in Bushenyi, where honey production was fairly higher than in his home area. 
 
“When I returned here, I decided to take up the venture in a more innovative way,” Nsubuga says. 
He adds that he chose apiary because it needs little space, is profitable and can be done with minimal supervision. 
“You can, for example, have your hives stationed in your coffee shamba or in your eucalyptus forest,” Nsubuga says. 
 
How he does it 
Nsubuga carried out research, including paying a visit to an apiary expert, Dr. Ronald Kugonza.
“Dr. Kugonza gave me valuable knowledge on how to breed, nurture and keep bees in hives,” Nsubuga says. 
He then set up his own hives making centre, which mainly produces the Kenya Top Bar hive. He keeps his hives in his coffee and tree shambas. 
 
Nsubuga explains that the queen bee determines the activities of bees in the colony. “She lays the eggs after being fertilised by a drone and once she settles in the hive, that hive is as well colonised. Once you move the queen, the bees will follow it,” he says. 
 
The queen bee is secluded in a special cell that is in the lower part of the comb. If you move this comb into another hive, then that gets colonised too. Once it is colonised, the honey making process then starts.   
Bees are sensitive creatures and need care. 
“Bees, like chicken, need feeders and that is why we have small, black bowls on or near the hives,” Nsubuga says.  

Good market
Nsubuga says there is good market for the hives. 
“We sell each hive at sh180,000,” he says. The amount includes a smoker and protective wear in addition to transport to your farm. 
 
In future, Nsubuga says he wants to acquire a truck that is customised for transporting hives with bees. 
Even after transporting them, he helps the farmer to carry out primary care for at least three days to ensure that the bees have settled in. 
 
Nsubuga calls upon organisations like the National Agriculture Advisory and other stakeholders support farmers with agriculture inputs to invest in colonised rather than empty hives. 

Benefits
This is a family business and the bees are friends and money makers. 
“We are doing this as our major job now and it is giving us good money as a family,” says Ruth, Nsubuga’s wife. 
 

 

They tame, breed, sell honey bees

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