Document Type: Regular articles

Authors

1 Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI), P.O. Box 1571, Dodoma, Tanzania.

2 Moshi Co-operative University (MoCU), P.O. Box 474, Sokoine Road, Moshi, Tanzania.

3 Sokoine University of Agriculture, Institute of Continuing Education (ICE), P.O. Box 3044, Chuo Kikuu, Morogoro, Tanzania.

Abstract

A study was conducted to investigate honeybee colonies absconding from beehives 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 interviews. Data collected from beekeepers using a questionnaire were supplemented with data from focus group discussions and interviews with key informants that included experienced beekeepers, extension workers and subject matter specialists. Drought, presence of bee pests, diseases and predators and shortage of bee forage were identified as major factors causing honeybee colonies to abscond from beehives in the study area. The act of honeybee colonies absconding from hives 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 those using improved beehives, respectively. Such losses were accelerated by beekeepers’ failure to uphold good management practices, especially with respect to undertaking regular follow-ups and cleaning of beehives as well as inappropriate harvesting methods. Inappropriate beekeeping practices were found to be the root causes of honeybee colonies to abscond from hives. As remedies to such losses, beekeepers should be advised to use improved hives and uphold good beekeeping practices. The role of extension service is vital in creating this awareness among beekeepers in the study area. Lessons from this study are also vital to inform policy and practices in the beekeeping sector in Tanzania and beyond.

Keywords

Main Subjects

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