Answers To Likely Questions For Potential Bee Farmers:
Is There A Market For Bee Keeping In Nigeria?
Yes, beekeeping has a market in Nigeria as long as people eat honey and use other bee by products
Other products derived from bees are wax (used in furniture polish, candles and crayons), pollen (used for food, preparation of medicine, hand pollination and cosmetics), propolis (used for repairing honeycombs), venom (used for preparing medicine), royal jelly (used as food for queen bees), etc.
What Other Fruit Trees Can Surround A Bee Hive?
Apart from mangoes, bees pollinate farm crops such as cashews, pawpaw, coconut, oil palm, sunflowers, sisal, clover and citrus (orange, grape, lemon, lime, and tangerine).
Why Should You Start Bee Farming?
There re many important reasons why beekeeping in Nigeria is the best agribusiness for you. Some of such reasons are:
- Honey is a good source of nutrition to human diet. It is a rich source of carbohydrate, minerals, and vitamins.
- Honey keeps the human body mentally alert and physically strong.
- It is a complement of many traditional and orthodox medicines.
- It helps preserve the ecosystem, and increases production of a particular farm crops via pollination.
- It increases your revenue generation as you process it on the farm. This in turn, adds more value to the raw products.
How Much Does It Cost To Start Bee Keeping In Nigeria?
If you are just starting, you might want to start with little capital. This might be as a result of your purse or you just want to start little, see how far you can cope with the beekeeping business, before splurging more money into it.
Key costs to consider in the bee business are:
- A place to process the honey harvested.
- The hives for keeping the honey.
- Tables and chairs.
- Honey extractor and separator. This equipment is used by large-scale farmers. Small scale farmers can use a sieve.
Minor costs are:
- Getting locally made protective clothing.
- Smoker- this can also be made locally.
- Trays and tools such as hive tools.
How Do I Start My Beekeeping Colony?
There are three ways to start your colony. You can acquire a colony from a hive, obtain a swarm, and get a nucleus.
Of the three methods mentioned above, the easiest to do is by acquiring a colony from a hive. While it might cost you a little, it is easier and quicker. So, how do you get a colony from a hive? Visit beekeepers, reach an agreement with them, then pay for the bees and collect them.
The second method is by starting a nucleus, which means beginning a new colony from scratch. You can do this by obtaining a queen, drone, and workers. You feed the bees with water and sugar cane temporarily. Next, you provide adequate hives covered in beeswax and put them in an environment conducive for bee swarms as bait to make them enter the hives.
However, the cheapest method is by capturing a swarm of bees. Honeybees are untamed and live in colonies; and you can bait them by rubbing beeswax on several hives or boxes scattered in a suitable place the bee swarm would love to form a colony. Look for places with water, flowering or fruit plants, excellent weather, protection from intruders/predators, and absence of noise.
What Is A Hive?
A hive is a box for keeping the bees. The hives can be made from various materials, and their functions are to ensure that the bees build their nests so that they can be managed easily; and also to aid easy movement for the bees. The three categories of hives are:
- Fixed comb hives made from clay, wall, log, tree bark, etc.
- Movable comb hives which comes in various styles. A popular one is Top-Bar hives.
- Movable frames hives such as Langstroth and Dadant, etc.
- Put the hives beside the source of water and in shades of green leafy trees to avoid hot temperature.
- Paint the hives in white colour to reflect sunlight rather than absorb it. This will help keep the hives cool.
- In case there are no green leafy trees, erect artificial shades to control the temperature inside the hives.
Where Do I Site My Bee Hives?
- Ensure there are no crops being sprayed with insecticides nearby.
- Make sure hives are adequately protected from strong winds.
- Protect hives from strong sunlight by placing them under trees or by erecting artificial shades.
- Place hives in places far from humans to avoid them being stung by bees.
- Make sure there is no water dripping from the tree branches onto the hives beneath
- Start with ten colonies and gradually increases the number if the area can sustain more colonies.
How Many Months Before Harvesting Bee?
If you have just started a fresh colony of bees, allow ten to twelve months for the honey to mature before you begin harvest. Subsequently, if the colony is fully established, you can harvest between seven to eight months.
How Do I Harvest Honeycombs And Process It?
Honey is harvested at the end of the flowering season. To harvest, pick the extreme combs that contain ripe honey with an envelope of thin layer of bees wax. While harvesting, ensure that you leave combs containing pollen or developing bees.
However, if you are using the Top Bar Extractor, instead of using an extractor, simply crush and strain the honeycombs to extract the honey by using muslin or other forms of filter, which would help separate the honey from beeswax. If you are using the frame hives, you can obtain honey by spinning the frames in a motorized circular extractor or a hand crank extractor.
After separating the honey from the beeswax, melt the beeswax over water into a block and store until you gather enough to sell. Pro tip: it doesn’t spoil over time.
Always ensure that you return empty combs to the hives so that the bees can produce more honey.
Should Quality Certification Be A Priority?
It would be beneficial if you intend to produce quality honey when starting beekeeping in Nigeria. You should ensure you make quality a top priority if you intend to have a profitable venture. Also make sure that you follow the standards set by Codex Alimantarius . Adhering strictly to quality includes:
- Not adulterating honey by feeding them on sugarcane.
- Ensuring the bees feed n pure nectar and pollen.
- Not adding food additives to honey after harvesting.
- Honey shouldn’t have flavours.
- Honey shouldn’t ferment or be fermented.
- Honey harvested shouldn’t foam.
- It should have taint caused by foreign matter during processing and storage.
What Are Bees’ Seasonal Cycles?
Just as other agricultural businesses have their seasonal cycles, so also do bees. In temperate regions, the colony cycle is one for each year, but in tropical and sub-tropical regions, it differs as more than one colony cycle can occur within a yearly cycle. The colony cycle has three parts, which are: the buildup, honey flow, and dearth. Make sure you mange each seasonal cycle properly, as each parts has specific things you need to do to maintain the hives.
Should I Join An Association Of Beekeepers?
Joining Beekeepers Association of Nigeria in your locality will help you gain access to training resources and government loan facilities. Moreover, joining them will improve the chances of the marketability of your product, and enable you to get a good price but there’s no law that compel you to join any association.
Hope this article helps.
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