The Beekeepers For Life Make Their Own Decisions on Hive Selection
The Jireh Women’s Group in Kisoro Uganda chose local hives rather than top bar hives. They were made by a local craftsman using locally sourced flexible sticks formed into a cylindrical shape and covered in mud and dung. A woven plug fits over the open end (back) to allow harvesting and the bees enter at the other end (front). Harvesting from local hives has to be done by feel, fortunately bees always store their honey furthest away from the entrance so the beekeeper knows where it will be. Hives like this have been in use for a very long time and represent the great majority of hives used in East Africa. The problem with them is that they are only for the brave, very many people are scared of the way honey has to be harvested from them. Top bar hives offer a far more accessible way of beekeeping but are more expensive to make.
At Bees Abroad we work with the local communities to choose hives that are appropriate based on a range of factors including group preference, affordability, ease of local manufacture and available materials. In our apiary photos you will often see a wonderful mix of different styles of hive. To the uneducated eye that old log covered in corrugated iron looks incongruous but to the Beekeepers For Life it's a hive and a valuable source of income.