This study was conducted to investigate honeybee colonies absconding and its financial implication among beekeepers in Tabora and Katavi regions, Western Tanzania. Four districts were selected on the basis of adoption of improved beehives. A total of 198 beekeepers were randomly selected for household interviews. Questionnaire-based data were supplemented with data from focus group discussions and interviews with key informants who included experienced beekeepers, extension workers and bee experts. Drought, presence of bee pests, diseases and predators, and shortage of bee forage were identified as major factors making honeybee colonies to abscond from their hives in the study area. The act of honeybee colonies absconding among beekeepers within the sample caused an average annual income loss of TZS 2 894 555.89 (US$ 1822.5) and TZS 1 797 105.02 (US$ 1131.5) among beekeepers using traditional and improved beehives, respectively. Based on these findings, the study recommends: developing best practices for pests, diseases and predators control; improving main road infrastructure; enhancing bee forage through establishment of water bodies close to apiaries; proper harvesting of bee products; and formation of beekeepers' cooperatives to facilitate collective marketing, access to relevant information and credit services.
Keywords: Drought, bee forage, absconding, bee pests, bee predators, financial loss.