Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Volunteers recommend efficient beekeeping techniques to Trafalgar Union co-op, Aliki Amerindian Village and Mainstay Village in Guyana

Farmer to Farmer's volunteers Amy Weeks and James (Jim) H. Kelly Jr. have recently provided technical assistance to beekeepers in Guyana. The volunteers worked closely with beekeepers from the Trafalgar Union women's co-op, the Aliki Amerindian Village and the Mainstay Village giving these small entrepreneurs guidance on hive management, beekeeping equipment and queen rearing, from January 21st to February 04th of this year.

The volunteers expressed that, at the time of the visit, women beekeepers in the Trafalgar Union cooperative were successfully selling their honey produce to Kingdom Apiaries. Nonetheless, the volunteers observed that the co-op technique for extracting honey was uneconomical as beekeepers were cutting out the honey comb and crushing it to harvest the honey, meaning that bees have to completely rebuild the comb to store more honey. Fortunately, following the recommendation from our volunteers and with the help of our Farmer to Farmer office in Guyana, the cooperative has recently acquired a centrifugal extractor, which should expedite the honey extraction process and double the output, while preserving the honeycomb frames. Therefore, the Trafalgar Union’s women beekeepers have quickly adapted this recommendation and are already benefitting from this decision!

Moreover, other equipment issues were also addressed by our volunteers during the visit to this co-op, which will surely have a significant impact on the cooperative’s beekeeping success. For instance, they recommended using full sheets of wax foundation for frame assembling to prevent bees to connect comb between frames, as this could be destructive to the comb when the frames are removed for inspection.

At the Aliki Amerindian Village, Amy and Jim instructed children of different ages about honeybees and safety, how to split a hive correctly to grow the number of hives and the use of hive stands with ant oil traps for ant control. They also suggested training more women on beekeeping to avoid losing the beekeeping knowledge usually hold by men, who many times have to go off the village to look for work.

Finally, the volunteers helped beekeepers at Mainstay village to assemble 20 frames with foundation, and also taught them how to use a honey extractor which was unused. Amy and Jim expressed that the aptitude of the community leader was excellent for beekeeping success and that they expect that Mainstay beekeepers will respond to the challenges presented with a little more of beekeeping training in the future. Thus, hopefully they will get more training volunteers from Farmer to Famer in the short run to accompany this process!

Jim and Amy in the Mangrove Forest Apiary with the Trafalgar/ Union Women’s co-op. 

Two women from the Trafalgar Group feeding sugar water to their bees. This is a necessary practice during the wet season to keep the bees from absconding.

Amy instructing some of the women in the Trafalgar group on how to assemble wax foundation into wooden frames. 

Jim and Amy with the Trafalgar Union Group.

Jim instructing a nephew and sons of some of the women from the Trafalgar group on how to make their own beehive boxes, bottom boards, and tops.

Jim giving a talk on honeybees to the children of Aliki Amerindian Village.

One of the younger boys from Aliki Amerindian Village trying on some bee protective gear.

One of the younger girls from Aliki village.  They were all very proud to be hanging around the visiting beekeepers.

Woman from Mainstay Amerindian Village putting wax foundation into wooden frames for the first time.

Jim and Amy in a question and answer session with Joel and other members of the Mainstay Amerindian Village. 

Jim and some of the men from Mainstay Amerindian village putting wax foundation in frames. 

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