Qu'est-ce que apiculture ?
Beekeeping is one of the more universal agricultural endeavors. Bees are found on all continents, oustide of Antartica. Bees work a dual agricultural role by both producing honey and aiding in the pollination of flowering crops. Although much work and study has focused on improving the practice of beekeeping, or apiculture, it is still possible and prevelant to manage beehives at a very low level of technological and capital input. Their cosmopolitan distribution, multipurpose nature and relative simplicity in managment combine to make bees a natural agricultural supplement for many types of farm system in developing countries.
In this page we will adress several issues concerning the application of beekeeping in development projects. Given the great diversity among bees and beekeepers, it will not be possible for us to cover the apicultue of every culture, country or variety of bee. Instead we will focus on some general topics, and provide supplemenatry material for each of those topics.
In short, beekeeping is so cool because it can work almost anywhere. It is multi-functional; bees provide honey, a high energy food supplement that can be sold to bring cash into a small farm. Bees also provide wax, which has almost unlimited uses. Both honey and wax are valued for their medicinal use in traditional cultures. Bees also probvide a valuable ecological service through their role as a pollinator.
Beekeeping has gained much attention as a means of raising the productivity of farm systems in the developing world. This is because the technology of beekeeping is typically within the means of even the smallest farm system. Beekeeping requires little capital input and low maintence, so it does not compete with other aspects of the farm system for these precious resources.
The following is a list of sources that describe some technical information on implementing and maintaining beekeeping systems. Some of the information is of particular relevance to developing countries. Other information is more universal and may or may not be applicable to your particular interest.
THE KENYA TOP-BAR HIVE AS A BETTER HIVE IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD This site describes a type of hive that it claims is more suitable for developing countries because it requires less capital and more labor inputs. Top-bar hives hold the honey comb only by the top, as opposed to the standard Langstroth hive, which frames the honey comb on top, bottom, and both sides. The site's author claims this hive type yields less honey, but more wax. Click here for plans.
Top Bar Hive Beekeeping: An Alternative to Conventional Beekeeping Still more info on top-bar hives. This site also includes plans for a low tech wax melter.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HONEY BEES Beekeeping FAQ. Good general knowledge about honey bees. Ever wondered what the bee dance is? Try this site.
BEEHIVE DESIGNS FOR THE TROPICS Excellent info about the hive designs in tropical environs, plus some stuff on protective equipment and wood preservation (for the hives).
Echonet's Bee Page This page has some excellent information relating to the managment of Africanized bees, plus the effect of Neem trees on nectar gathering bees, when bees get drunk and info about an independent study course on tropical beekeeping.
Bees and Honey This site contains the standard cool pictures of bees and beekeepers as well as some really useful info about bee diseases and afflictions, collecting bees in the wild, and capturing swarming bees.
John's Beekeeping Notebook Returned Peace Corps Voluntere has some interesting info on queen rearing, observation hives, top bar hives and beekeeping in Fiji.
Bee Research Laboratory Home Page A more in-depth page for bee diseases.
Attack of the "Killer Bees" A fairly sensational report about Africanized Honey Bees (AHB) and the dangers they pose.
UCR research and extension on the Africanized Honey Bee Everything you ever wanted to know about AHB's (but were afraid to ask).
Beekeeping in Africa, and FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin More information about beekeeping in Africa than you're are going to read unless you are really going to keep bees there. Discusses general info on the honeybees.
Beekeeping in Asia, an FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin Like above, everthing you could ever want to know about beekeepin' in Asia.
Beekeeping in the Western World
Beesource.com A great website with lots of frees plans, info and advice for the would be apiculturest. Plus links to suppliers in case you wanted to order you up some bee critters.
Beekeeping Links This site has an amalgam of links, from homepages of beekeepers to academic research to apitherapy to photos.
Bees on the Maltese (Islands) Although this site lacks depth, it has some interesting historical tidbits, as well as a short discussion on diseases. The most interesting part of this site deals with a new concept, that of api-tourism - introducing tourists to apiculture, and encouraging apiculturists from other areas to visit.
Beekeepers' Association (We had to include this one!) Great
pictures, some interesting notes on raising bees in very northern
climates. Most of the site is in English and Finnish. St. Urho
would be proud!
Beekeeping in Eastern Europe
Woyke Honey Bee Page This page, out of Warsaw, Poland, has many helpful links, especially to other beekeepers' homepages around the world. There are also several links to sites focussed on the scientific side of bees. A legion of excellent drawings of different species of bees, drawn by the author of the page himself, also grace the first page.
Beekeeping in Russia
In Russian, comrade!
Beekeeping in Africa
Beekeeping In Africa Funded by the Danish Beekeepers Association, this site has some great pictures and basic explanations of African Beekeeping. Not very technically 'deep', but a good resource nonetheless. It also has an interesting page about the dangers to bees (population pressure, pesticides, etc).
Beekeeping in Africa, and FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin Excellent technical information, an exhaustive work detailing much scientific and social information useful for implementing beekeeping programs in sub-Saharan Africa.
Strangers, honey and hardship: the lot of Angolan refugees in enterprise beekeeping in North West Zambia A brief decsription of the ups and downs of beekeeping activites by Angolan refugees in Zambia, includes sources.
"Agroforestry extension manual for Kenya": Trees and livestock including beekeeping Describes an agroforestry manual for Kenya, available for purchase. Includes beekeeping.
Bees all sweetness and light? Touches on some of the inefficencies in current beekeeping practices.
your taste buds
A recipe from Ethiopia using honey
- looks tasty!
The Kibwezi Women Beekeepers Cooperative Society: part of an integrated development project in semi-arid rural Kenya.
Beekeeping in Latin America
The Beekeeping in México This web page has lots of information about beekeeping in México, honey production, beekeeping history, bee journals, beekeeping congress, honey exportation, beekeepers associations, beekeeping statistics, bee research, honey exporters and honey packers, and more.
Agricultural Impact of Africanized Honey Bees in Sinaloa, Mexico This article discusses how AHB's have been managed on the west coast of Mexico for agricultural pollination.
Beekeeping in Asia
Beekeeping in Asia, an FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin More information about beekeeping in Asia than you're are going to read unless you are really going to keep bees there. Discusses general info on the honeybees.
BEEKEEPING : MALAYSIA RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT A very technical and lenghty report describing a four year project integrating beekeeping with various tree-crop systems. Describes the effect of hive design, vegatation types, temperature and relative humidity and many other factors effecting bee productivity. Includes hive plans and much technical data.
Hindu Kush-Himalayan: Studies on Pollination Problems in Mountain Crops and Farmers Management StrategiesDescribes some studies on how to improve fruit tree pollination with different bee species.
Bees all sweetness and light? Touches on some of the inefficencies in current beekeeping practices.
The Tualang Tree, the Giant Asian Honey Bees and the Hindu Myth of the Princess, Hitam Manis-- Dark Sweetness... An excellent annecdotal describing traditional honey gathering of non-domestic bees in Malaysia.
Beekeeping in Rural Areas Descibes some extension work done in Malaysia to develop beekeeping in rural areas.
Beekeeping in Rubber Plantations Brief description of integrating beekeeping with rubber plantations Kerala, India. Includes contact information.
Beekeeping in Arab countries
The Egyptian art of beekeeping A brief description of the rich history of beekeeping in Egypt.
The Future of Bees and Honey Production in Arab Countries A rich overview of the present state of beekeeping in Arab countries. Very informative and quantitative, with descriptions of possible avenues for further development of the industry.
Beekeeping in Morocco (en français) A wealth of info about the present state of apiculture in Morocco. Good stats and numbers on how many beekeepers exist and the potential number that could be supported. How's your French?
Tunisia This site has a nice, but short, explanation of the traditional ways of beekeeping in Tunisia, as well as some discussion of the role of beekeeping in Tunisian culture, and how it is changing.
Participation of women beekeepers in integrated rural development programmes in the Yemen Arab Republic.
Beekeeping in Oceania
Experiences of a Peace Corps Beekeeper in Fiji Some great pictures and a brief description of PCV John's attempt to help Fiji become self-sufficient in honey production.
Beekeeping in Australia and New Zealand
Kangaroo Island Bee Sanctuary You just have to see this one for yourself.
Beekeeping Links A page with a plethora of links to sites
all over the world, organized by subject, including: Africanized
honeybees (AHB), Apitherapy, Legal sites, Organizations, Software,
and Quotes: Bees in Literature. This site has the longest list
of links I've ever seen!
Integrating apiculture with womens' cooperatives and community groups has proven to be succesful means of empowering the female economic situation in many traditional cultures. With respect to the traditional gender-based differentiation of labor, the successfulness in attempts to organize women beekeeping groups may vary from culture to culture. There seems to be a lack of on-line information focusing on women's beekeeping in developing countries.
Beekeeping for women in integrated rural development. Author:Townsend, G.F.. Source: Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Apiculture in Tropical Climates, Nairobi, Kenya, 5-9 Nov 1984 / hosted by the Government of Kenya ; convened by the International Bee Research Association ... [et al.]. Year:1985
Education, and training and encouraging women as beekeepers. Author:Kigatiira, K.I. Mohammed, R.A.. Source: Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Apiculture in Tropical Climates, Cairo, Egypt, 6-10 November 1988 / Posted by the government of Egypt ; convened by the International Bee Research Association. Year:1989.
The Kibwezi Women Beekeepers Cooperative Society: part of an integrated development project in semi-arid rural Kenya. Author:Mann, E.. Source: Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Apiculture in Tropical Climates, Nairobi, Kenya, 5-9 Nov 1984 / hosted by the Government of Kenya ; convened by the International Bee Research Association ... [et al.]. Year:1985.
Beekeeping for women in integrated rural development. Author:Townsend, G.F.. Source: Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Apiculture in Tropical Climates, Nairobi, Kenya, 5-9 Nov 1984 / hosted by the Government Kenya ; convened by the International Bee Research Association ... [et al.]. Year:1985.
Participation of women beekeepers
in integrated rural development programmes in the Yemen Arab Republic.
Author:Swanjord, T.S.. Source: Proceedings of the Third International
Conference on Apiculture in Tropical Climates, Nairobi, Kenya,
5-9 Nov 1984 / hosted by the Government of Kenya ; convened by
the International Bee Research
Association ... [et al.]. Year:1985.
Apiculture in integrated rural development, and the special role of women. Author:Phadke, R.P.. Source: Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Apiculture in Tropical Climates, Nairobi, Kenya, 5-9 Nov 1984 / hosted by the Government of Kenya ; convened by the International Bee Research Association ... [et al.]. Year:1985.
Apitherapy is the medicinal use of honey or other bee products. Although this might seem like a hippie new-age idea, there are threads of apitherapy in many traditions, including Chinese texts 2,000 years old and in the writings of Hippocrates. The products used in apitherapy include honey, pollen, propolis, royal jelly, beeswax, and the venom. These can be used to treat skin conditions, viral infections, rheumatological conditions, cardiovascular and pulmonary conditions, and many other situations.
"Since ancient times people have speculated about honey's curative properties. The ancient Greeks, Romans, Chinese and Egyptians used honey to heal wounds and cure disease of the gut (Zumla and Lulat, 1989). Until recently, there was little scientific evidence to support therapeutic uses of honey. Lately, however, many studies have shown that honey has valid medical use because of its antibacterial activity." (http://members.tripod.com/~Bee_Mann/antibac.html)
What is Apitherapy? A good basic page that explains the different bee products and their uses.
American Apitherapy SocietyThis page has useful answers to fundamental questions about this field, as well as techniques of the trade, discussion forums, news bits, and how-to-get-started tips.
Honey, Honey, Honey, Honey Extolling the medicinal and nutritional wonders of honey (and other bee products), this site has several interesting articles from doctors and beekeepers both, as well as links to other apitherapy sites.
The Apitherapy Reference Database This page has many useful links to apitherapy resources, associations, research, and testimonials.
Bee Resource Page - Apitherapy and the Honeybee "This area has links that try to explain the medicinal and agricultural importance of the Honeybee. "
Bee Venom Therapy A page with a large selection of books, links, and research about using bee venom.
Wolf Home Page - a page about HoneyBees and Apitherapy! This site has a lot of good information about the uses of the different bee products, both from a nutritional and a scientific standpoint.
The Color of Honey Interesting article about the antioxidant properties of honey.
Understanding the relationship between bees and plants is crucial to human use of bees. Honeybees are very efficient pollinators of flowers and crops. Farmers in developing countries have found increased yields after placing beehives near their fields. They also raise bees to insure pollination. Some claim that "the honey bee is directly or indirectly responsible for eighty percent of the world's food supply." (http://members.tripod.com/~Bee_Mann/index.html)
"Honeybees probably originated in Tropical Africa and spread from South Africa to Northern Europe and West into India and China. They were brought to the Americas with the first colonists and are now distributed world-wide. The first bees appear in the fossil record in deposits dating about 40 million years ago in the Eocene. At about 30 million years before present they appear to have developed social behavior and structurally are virtually identical with modern bees." (Koning, Ross E. "Honeybee Biology". Plant Physiology Website. 1994. http://koning.ecsu.ctstateu.edu/plants_human/bees/bees.html (5-14-00).)
The Biology of the Honeybee, Apis Mellifera A very comprehensive site about the life and times of honeybees. Includes descriptions of the roles of the different bees (queen, drones, workers), great drawings, a discussion of the attraction of bees to flowers, and the rewards they both get.
Pollination of Plants in Africa Part of the Beekeeping in Africa website, this page has some nice pictures and description of bees as pollinators in Africa.
Bee Alert! This page outlines the research being done about using bees as environmental indicators: "Bees and portable computers can now be used to assess environmental hazards through the development of electronic hives, toxicological models, extensive databases, and pattern-recognizing software that help assess risks posed by metals, radiation, carcinogenic chemicals, and pesticides."
Insect Pollination Of Cultivated Crop Plants"The First and Only Virtual Beekeeping Book Updated Continuously." Written for agriculturists in the developed world, this book is divided into 9 chapters; each chapter describes the plants in that category (individually), their uses, their pollinators and pollination requirements, and recommendations.
Mark L. Winston. 1987. The Biology of the Honey Bee. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, MA.
EXPERTISE CENTRE OF TROPICAL APICULTURAL RESOURCES "NECTAR
is a non governmental, non-profit association of tropical bee-keeping
experts in the Netherlands. It was founded in1990. NECTAR stimulates,
promotes and advises on (sub)tropical beekeeping activities to
interested parties in development assistance programs throughout
The International Bee Research Association Founded in 1949, IBRA is a not-for-profit organization with members in almost every country in the world. It exists to increase people's awareness of the vital role of bees in agriculture and the natural environment. IBRA promotes the study and conservation of bees which in themselves are indicators of the world's biodiversity.
The International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecoloy
Search the library to find technical sources on international beekeeping.
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