Beekeepers in Uganda know that the best honey harvests happen between March and June, with the secondary season in August o October. This situation has however changed over recent years.
For Tom Okello of Terera Village Ngeta subcounty in Lira District his worst production in 10 years was in 2016 when production dropped by almost half. Okello blames the prolonged drought for the poor production. Bees make a lot of honey during the dry season because that is when the plants flower and they can collect nectar.
However, the prolonged dry spell in many parts of the country including Lira, has negatively affected production. The dry spell means there is little water in the vegetation and on the ground yet the bees need this water in the production of honey.
Okello says the dry weather affected the water sources and he has had device innovative ways of providing water for his insects. He now puts water containers at different points near his apiaries and he hopes this will help alleviate some of the water shortage for his insects.
In spite of the negative effects of climate change, Okello’s hopes are still high and he is making efforts to improve his apiary and protect his bees. He says cleanness is key in apiculture, and beekeepers must follow the professional guidelines in maintaining clean healthy hives.
He also advises against using chemical means of removing pests because the bees will ingest these chemicals and this will affect the quality of honey they produce. Okello says, while it is harder and more involving, it is better to supervise constantly and manually get rid of the pests before they overrun the hives.