African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6576

Full Length Research Paper

Assessment of beekeeping practices in Asgede Tsimbla district, Northern Ethiopia: Absconding, bee forage and bee pests

Gidey Yirga1*, Bethelhem Koru2, Dawit Kidane1 and Alem Mebrahatu3
  1Department of Biology, Mekelle University P. O. Box 3072, Mekelle, Ethiopia. 2Department of natural Resources Economics and management, Mekelle University P. O. Box 231, Mekelle, Ethiopia. 3Department of physics, Mekelle University P. O. Box 231, Mekelle, Ethiopia.
Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 02 November 2011
  •  Published: 31 January 2012

Abstract

Ethiopia has a huge natural resource base for honey production. An assessment was conducted to investigate beekeeping constraints and indigenous bee pest protection methods in Asgede Tsimbla district, northern Ethiopia. Five sub districts were selected on the bases of adoption of modern beehives with the assistance of development agents working in the district. A total of 500 beekeepers were randomly selected for structured interview. Data was supplemented with personal observations, focus group discussion and key informant interviews with beekeepers, extension workers and bee experts of the district.  Absconding was the second major beekeeping constraints: a total of 429 traditional and 297 modern beehives were without honeybee colonies representing an annual maximum loss of about US$ 28,875 and 54,831, respectively. Bee pests and predators including ants (both black and red), birds, spiders, mites, wax moth, beetle, bee mice, honey badger, cat worm and lizards were identified. Indigenous protection methods were practiced to control these pests and predators, such as the application of ash, rope around entrance of hives (hanging the predator’s neck), insect repellents (such as dirty engine oil), use of malathine, mechanical killing of the pests, sanitation etc. Majority (58.4%) of the beekeepers were growing different indigenous bee forage, such as Parkinsonia aculeate, Croton macrostachyus, Acacia polyacantha, Cordia africana, Opuntia ficus indica, Musa acuminata, Syzgium guineense, Agave sissanlana, Albizia malacophylla, Ziziphus spinachristi, Carica Papaya, Citrus sinensis, Carthamus tinctorius and Citrus aurantifolia. Despite all the constraints, there is a great potential to increase the production and quality of honey in the district. Establishing beekeepers cooperative and enhancing bee forage plantation through introducing Multi-Purpose Trees (MPT) should be encouraged.

 
Key words: Bee forage, absconding, bee pests, honey, Asgede Tsimbla.