Wood smoke smell helps farmers stock bees

A simple wooden smoke scent or wax can help farmers stock empty hives with bees within seven days.

Hives may be empty at the beginning of bee keeping or after the insects abscond.

Nyangaresi Nyamira, a member of Geturi Vision Women Group, said the smell of fire smoke attracts bee messengers, which go round looking for a new home for the colony.

“Large scale raring of bees may take weeks running into months to fill more than 10 hives. Flashing burning dry grass in hives leaves behind some ‘good’ scent, which attracts these messengers. Bees looking for a new home follow that scent and if they find the hive comfortable, they go for the rest of the colony,” the bee farmer said.

BeehiveEzekiel Ndege.NyangaresiNyamiraBoriobaLaban.JPG

Although epiculture experts recommend that the wax in the honey comb frame is sufficient, Nyamira said melting it with fire makes it more effective in inviting bees.

Similarly, the farmer said, picking threads of dusty smoke from kitchens and rubbing them against the walls of the hives serves the same purpose.

It is important to note that it is the smell of wooden smoke that invites the bees. Smoke itself chases them away, and that is why it is used during bee harvesting. 

The group, which has just started keeping bees, set hives at different places, to increase catchment areas.

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They picked and brought them at night to a timber house that will be hosting the hives.

The group is using Langstroth Beehive, which has movable key lock sticks at the base. The keys allow for entry of a maximum of three bees at a time.

The hives were locked by these key sticks to avoid aggression during movement.

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Although Geturi Vision Women Group targets women, four men are among the 15 members. The Borioba Village group is supported by Wold Vision and Nyamira County, which gave then the hives.

PHOTO: Nyagaresi Nyamira (right) opens a stick key lock into the langstroth beehive at his home in Borioba Village, Nyamira County on August 14, 2016. Looking on is Nyabwaroro bee group Chairman Ezekiel Ndege. The farmers use smoke scent and wax to attract bees. PHOTO BY LABAN ROBERT.