Efforts of increasing multiplication of bees have gone a notch higher after Kitui County Government embarked on rearing of queen bees.
The project falls under Kitui Value Chain Addition office headed by Dr Temi Mutia
“Kitui honey is ranked number 5 worldwide. The county is also among the most endowed regions with the best honey,” said Mutia.
In the past, the county had trained farmers on how to join cooperative societies with five beekeepers cooperatives being formed.
There are over 10,000 beekeepers with over 150,000 hives in the county.
The queen bee lays 1500-1800 eggs in a day. It commands the hive and lasts up-to four years before it dies. A normal bee lasts only 30-35 days. This is according to experts.
The queen is fed on special diet called royal jelly which gives her the ability to longer lifespan.
During four day training to farmers, they ensured colony division, cloning,starting of queen cells and transforming new queens to new colonies.
Mutemi revealed that starting from this year the government will be producing bees in very large numbers and selling the colonies to the farmers.
He encouraged the farmers to buy hives in large numbers since the government will be putting a fresh colony once they purchase the hives to produce honey immediately.
“We are not only training on modern methods of bee keeping. We are issuing farmers with gumboots, gloves, bee suits, smokers, buckets and any other necessary equipment for safe and faster honey harvesting,” said Mutemi.
One of the members from Kalanga Farmers’ Cooperative Society in Nguni noted that she has no idea of bee multiplication. She added she has over 100 bee hives and only waits for the bee to settle in the hives for honey production.
“This knowledge will help us in boosting the honey production,” she added.
In Kitui south, KamakiBee Keepers Cooperative Society member Katuli Kyungu observed that their cooperative has around 650 members.
He noted the colonization rate is too low calling for more trainings to enlighten farmers on bee multiplication.
Mutemi regretted that due to climate change across the world, 38 percent of farmers’ hives have not been colonized.