Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 15th 2018 Contents BG6 news
Thursday, March 15, 2018
Honey on the decline
eekeeping was the
sector to be regu-
lated in T&T with
the Beekeeping and
Bee Products Act
(Act 28 of 1935, amended by Act 7
of 1949) which also saw the estab-
lishment of a government apiary
Today, unfortunately, the bee-
keeping industry faces severe
challenges as the majority of bee-
keepers produce honey simply as
a hobby or part-time job rather
than a full -time business venture.
There are approximately 350 to
400 registered beekeepers in this
country with a total of about 7,000
to 8,000 bee colonies.
The underdevelopment of the
honey industry can be attributed
to several factors such as climate
change, little reserved forage
lands for beekeepers and no test-
ing facilities, rendering it impossi-
ble for those beekeepers desiring
to enter their products on the ex-
Hence, all honey currently pro-
duced is for domestic consump-
But even more so are the prob-
lems of praedial larceny and the
widespread use of insecticides by
farmers which are wiping out en-
Beekeeper Dania Holder De
Souza lamented that several bee-
keepers had left the industry out
of frustration of either having their
wooden frames (used in apiaries)
constantly stolen or because their
bees were being inadvertently
killed by nearby farmers.
Calling for farmers to be better
educated, Holder De Souza said
each year thousands of bees are
lost due to chemical use.
“The bees are helping the
farmers with pollination. When a
farmer sprays his crops and the
bees go to forage and come back
to the hive, that chemical kills the
“I don’t believe the farmers are
doing this intentionally but defi-
nitely there is need for greater ed-
ucation,” she explained.
Also, there are no facilities for
“We know insecticides kill bees
but how do we test for that? There
is no testing centre in this county
for that,” she added.
Holder De Souza added that the
constant replenishing of materials
and bees render the business dou-
To make ends meet, she has
branched off into producing and
selling byproducts such as bees
She also sews and sells beekeep-
“Between the bees dying and
the theft, it can be very over-
whelming. Beekeepers like myself
are struggling,” she said.
Her business partner Suresh
Paul said 22 of his colonies were
stolen in 2015 and, to date, none
Even making a police report,
Paul said, was discouraging.
“The police told me they had
nobody capable of investing a re-
port of that nature.
“I was told to look for my own
investigation and bring it back to
them...no help at all,” Paul said.
He said the theft resulted in
thousands of dollars lost as each
colony cost $3500.
A member of the T&T Beekeep-
ers’ Association, Paul added that
his situation was not unique as
there were similar complaints by
his fellow beekeepers.
“The logging of trees, especially
in the Manzanilla area, also posed
a danger to the future of beekeep-
ing,” Paul added.
“The rubber trees provide really
good nectar for the bees. The con-
stant cutting down of the trees and
the failure to replenish is dwin-
dling the bee population.
“The bees, in turn, are forced to
go to the crops planted by farm-
ers to feed on the flowers and, in
many cases, they die. Everything
has a domino effect,” Paul said.
“Beekeepers can play a greater
role in enhancing the sector by
creating diverse blends of honey,”
recommended beekeeper Darren
Mahabir of the Happy Hills Estate.
“We cannot rely solely on the
Dania Holder De Souza displays a bee brood.
PICTURES DION ROACH
Bee-harming insecticide, praedial larceny causing a buzz
In addition to honey, there are other
primary bee products which can be
produced by beekeepers and
This is the second most important
hive product next to honey.
Although beeswax is commonly
used in the manufacture of candles,
it has gained popularity in the
skin care and cosmetics industry
in face creams and make-up. A
German study in 2003 found that
moisturisers which contained
beeswax were superior to those
that did not as it resulted in higher
skin improvements among subjects.
Foraging bees bring back pollen to
the hive which is used as food for
Bee pollen is high in protein and
carbohydrates and is sometimes
sold as a nutritional supplement.
Continued on Page 7
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