Journal of
Agricultural Extension and Rural Development

  • Abbreviation: J. Agric. Ext. Rural Dev
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2170
  • DOI: 10.5897/JAERD
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 488

Full Length Research Paper

Beekeeping management practices and gap analysis of beekeepers at different agro-ecological zones of Tigray region, Northern Ethiopia

Guesh Godifey
  • Guesh Godifey
  • Apiculture and Sericulture Research Case Team, Mekelle Agricultural Research Center, Tigray Agricultural Research Institute, P. O. Box 2582, Mekelle, Tigray, Ethiopia.
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Amssalu Bezabeh
  • Amssalu Bezabeh
  • Holeta Bee Research Center, Ethiopia.
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Hailu Mazengia
  • Hailu Mazengia
  • Department of Animal Production and Technology, Bahrdar University, Ethiopia.
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Yayneshet Tesfay
  • Yayneshet Tesfay
  • ILRI -LIVES Project, Ethiopia.
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  •  Received: 19 July 2018
  •  Accepted: 18 August 2018
  •  Published: 31 December 2018


The study was conducted to assess beekeeping practices, seasonal colony management gaps in eastern, south-east and central zones of Tigray region in northern Ethiopia. About 384 beekeepers were interviewed. The trend of honeybee colonies indicated an increase in the last five years but with variables (72%) in honey production. Majority (77.3%) of beekeepers inspected their apiary and honeybee colonies externally and only 21.7% did such inspection inside the hive. The most common locally available supplement feed included sugar syrup (94.6%), Shiro (peas and beans flour) (89.1%), tihni (barley flour) (87.6%), maize flour (25.5%), honey (14.4%) and fafa (supplementary food for infants) (7.9%). Major colony management gaps observed entailed adding super by guessing (47.9%), reluctance to decreasing super (35.5%), continued use of foundation sheets (40.4%) and queen excluder not removed (37.9%). The frequency of colonization was significantly different (p<0.05) in frame beehives but not in traditional hives. The seasonal colony activities included brood rearing in July to September; reproductive colony swarming, August to September; absconding, March to June; dearth periods, January to May; high availability of honeybee plants, July to December; and honey harvesting period, September to November. Therefore, seasonal colony management practices followed by floral cycle should be practiced by empowering beekeepers with skill in modern beekeeping management in order to improve their seasonal bee management practices, thus increasing honey production.

Key words: Agro-ecology, beekeeping, honeybee colony, management, seasonal, Tigray