Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How to handle honeybees?

Thank you for visiting this blog. We hope you are in cheerful mode to digest what we have to offer in this post.

For some strange reason we, normally, are afraid of the bees. We are worried that they will swarm and sting us. We are worried about the pain and some even go to the extent that the bees are able to kill us. Probably this is true but so far I have not encountered such fatal accident in the area where I live, at least.

This blog is not about all these horrified stories. We aim to educate you guys that bees are harmful and can be handled easily with proper tools and technique.

An expert came to our apiary last year and gave us crashed course about beekeeping and how to handle the bees. Lesster runs a beekeeping training centre in Uganda. He hailed from Singapore and has been living in Uganday since 2001 training people there about beekeeping. You can checkout his website We are also featured in one of his postings.

Lesster did not wear any protective clothing while handling the bees! Look at this photo.

Lesster handling Apis Ceranas with bare hands and exposed face.

What’s the secret?

I can tell you that Lesster did not use any magic concoction! He has the technique and tool on how to go about doing this.

Rule number 1: move slowly when you are near the bees or a hive. The bees will ignore you if you move slowly around or near them. A sudden or wild movement will trigger them to “investigate” you. These investigators are the “guard bees”. They will determine whether to attck or to ignore you, the intruder.

Rule number 2: use smoke to pacify them. Smoke indicates there is a fire around the area. It is in their DNA that upon getting signal of fire, they will suck the honey and get ready to fly off. They collected their prized assets in case they have to fly off somewhere else and have to build new hives.

Once they have sucked enough honey, they will be full and they will calm down. They will not fly away since the hive is not really on fire. Combined with slow movement and them being calm down, we can now start opening the beehive and look at them closely. We can not only start our inspection but also we can harvest the honey.

Beekeeping equipment: Smoker


Lesster was showing us how to start the smoker correctly. We used dry leaves and rotten woods found abundantly in the apiary.

Lesster was looking at another colony of bees. This was new then, our 6th colony. The visit was in September 2010.

We hope you guys got the picture already. Bees are not harmful. We can handle them easily with proper technique and tools.

I am still a newbie. I would rather have my protective clothing on when I handle the bees on the apiary.

Have a great day folks.


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