News and knowhow for farmers

Greasing beehives helps keep them safe from crawling predators

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Farmers can stop bees from migrating because of invasion of hives by painting stand posts with grease.

Speaking when he visited bee keeping farmers in Nyamira North Sub-county, agricultural officer David Nduko Atuya said the grease controls crawling insect which invade beehive in search of food.

“Sugar-loving ants move up into beehives in search of food. Although destroying the colony of the ants remains the best solution, application of grease on the posts holding the hives also helps. Any crawling ants attempting to move up get stuck,” Atuya said.

Stuck ants eventually suffocate and starve to death while on the posts.

Safari and sugar ants are some of the common crawling enemies that feed on honey, and at times the larvae.

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Since the bees cannot sting the invaders back, they move out of the hive, and in worst scenarios abscond. It is a cheap way of dealing with these intruders, but it has to be applied regularly to be effective.

“Grease cannot be washed away by rain. Besides stopping the safari ants, the oil product keeps termites off, therefore, the posts will not be eaten up,” the Nyamira North Sub-county livestock product officer said.

One of the farmers, Nyambane Mangera’s bees swarmed outside the hive in readiness to move away.

Although there was no evidence of safari ants’ invasion, the officer asked the farmer to inspect the hive later in the evening while in safety attires to ascertain the cause.

Other flying enemies like the wax moth can cause the bees to abscond. The moth’s threadlike excretions cover the larvae cells as it feeds on the combs.

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Mangera was asked to use a catch-box in holding the colony and after getting rid of the parasites, he can return the bees into the hive.

The officer, however, said there is no guarantee that the bees will stay in the hive again because they have been pushed out.

In case they abscond, he can place the hive somewhere else for a new colony before bringing it back to the bee-house.

Mangera is a member of Riambocho Women Group, which has 14 women and three men.

 

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