Tag Archives: honey

The Beesness of Honey

This is a nice article on honey in rural Kenya.



(click image for full story online)


Of particular interest is the fact that the traditional hive, with some of its disadvantages is widely used because of the high cost (US$ 100) of commercial hives. Also that honey separation is done by a co-operative because of the cost of a separator.

The group of 40 beekeepers produced 8 000 kg of raw honey which had a value of US$ 8 000 or US$ 200/person/year. The co-operative was able to sell separated honey for US$ 8/kg indicating the possibility of value addition.

The potential of honey may be large given the difficulties in Europe and USA where swarms are being wiped out by colony collapse disorder and the possibility of moving toward own processing, organic, ethical and FAIRTRADE honey with much larger incomes.


FAO Beekeeping

The previous post on honey processing was an introductory note from Practical Action.

This somewhat older, but apparently still totally usable, document is from the UN FAO and is much more comprehensive.



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The table of contents, below, indicates the scope of the document.


Table of equivalencies
Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Colony life and social organization

Organization of a bee colony
The queen
The drone
The worker
The annual biological cycle op the bee colony

Chapter 3 Anatomy of the honeybee
Chapter 4 Traditional and modern beehives and beekeeping equipment

Traditional hives
Modern rives
Advantages and disadvantages of frame and top-bar hives
Timber used for making beehives
Equipment required by the beekeeper

Chapter 5 Hive management – Part I

The apiary
Preparing the top-bar hive for installation
Installation of beehives
Capturing a swarm
Some common practices in apiary management
Bee stings

Hive management – Part II

Using the Langstroth frame
How to unite bees
Robbing and its prevention
Feeding bees

Chapter 6 Colony manipulation: honey and beeswax harvesting and extraction

Brood-nest control
Honey harvesting and what to look for
Honey and beeswax extraction
Some facts about honey

Chapter 7 The use of bees for pollination
Chapter 8 Adverse natural factors and pests

Natural conditions
Human activities
Natural enemies and posts
Bee friends

Chapter 9 Some bee diseases

Brood diseases
Adult bee diseases
Measures against spreading bee diseases

Chapter 10 Queen-rearing

Queen cells
Maintaining the cycle

Appendix: Some honeybee forage plants in the tropics and sub-tropics

Honey Processing

It appears that the world demand for honey offers an opportunity for new entrants to the market as problems with bee populations in certain countries develop.

Practical Action, formely ITDG, offer some starting information on honey processing.

Honey Processing - Crop and food processing - Honey & Sugar - Practical Answers.jpg

from: Practical Action

(click image for full story online)


This 5 page article can be downloaded for free and covers the basics of processing focussing on the different honey formats and the essential quality issues. It also provides a list of references and a range of contacts that should be helpful to a person wanting to understand the opportunities in honey production.

The extract below gives an indication of the level of the information.

honey_processing.pdf (page 2 of 5).jpg

I will be posting on the FAO information which is at a much more detailed level, should this introduction spark the interest.