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Manufacturing of traditional beehives

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Our 18 traditional beehives, ready to welcome local bees

Our 18 traditional beehives, ready to welcome local bees

When I first visited Rwandan countryside, I already saw traditional beehives placed on some trees around the country, and I was very curious and exited to see our local « manufacturer » at work. So I asked Aly, the Technical Manager of the project to organize a meeting with Michel, the local expert of the bees and traditional beehive to see the manufacturing of a Rwandan traditional beehive.

The manufacturing process follows the steps belows  :

Building the structure

After having positioned a metal disk (the same as those used for the grinder), Michel is inserting eucalyptus sticks around it.

Michel is building the structure of beehive

Michel is building the structure of beehive

Covering

Once these sticks (rods) positioned, Michel takes some reeds and cut them in the longitudinal direction to obtain « ribbons ». Those ribbons are weft between the sticks (wand) up to the top to completely cover the structure.

Michel is covering the structure

Michel is covering the structure

Coating

He is using “cow dung” as coating for the structure to fill the gaps and let everything dry under the sun. On one side of the “hive”, he makes a cover and on the other side, he close the hive with cow dung, taking care to leave two holes for the passages of the bees.

Letting it dry

Once Everything is totally dry, Michel takes dried banana leaves and covers the structure to protect the hive from the rain. Everything is strongly tied up to withstand wind.

Before positioning them on the trees, Michel exposes the hive to the sun, in selected areas, in order for the hive to be impregnated with the “special” heat which makes them more welcoming for the bees …

The beehive ready to be put on the tree

The beehive ready to be put on the tree

Welcoming the bees !

Michel Also has a secret to attract bees. As only a few days were enough to see our first 18 traditional hives get its first tenants.

The beehive placed on the tree

The beehive placed on the tree

As we are in the rainy season, we will have to wait until May to “move” our bees to modern beehives. Once again, I’m curious to see how the other local specialist, which I do not know the name yet, will make it. It seems that this is not child’s play!

Now you know almost everything about the production of traditional beehives. The rest is a matter of technique and skills. Once you have your eucalyptus sticks and your reeds, it will do more than provide you good … “dung”!

A great thanks to Michel, which did a great job with the 18 traditional beehives and took the time to explain us the manufacturing process of traditional beehives !

We will keep you updated about the project. If you wish to participate to this project, please go to our Indiegogo project page.

To nicely finish this wonderful day, back home I was gratified with a nice Rwandan sunset 🙂

Nice sunset in Rwanda

Nice sunset near Kigali, Rwanda

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