By Rebecca Bloomfield
We’re excited to announce that our first ever beehive harvest has resulted in 10kg of honey! The project has been implemented through the Lilongwe Nature Sanctuary community group, who have been trained in beekeeping and basic business management as part of the project. The honey is currently being sold at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre’s gift shop, with plans to extend the market to neighbouring communities as the harvest increases, thus providing the community group with a source of income and food.
The rest of our beekeeping project hives still have larvae in them so we won’t be harvesting their honey just yet. This first harvest has provided plenty of motivation within the group involved as they have waited a long time to see the benefits of this project. At the moment, the group has processed and packaged the honey in bottles which are available at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre.
The ten beehives that were hung in our wilderness area have been colonised by wild bees and are additionally used as an educational tool to teach local communities and school children the importance of conserving bees – highlighting how they contribute to the health of people, as well as their integral role as pollinators in ecosystems. We encourage farmers to avoid the use of bee-harming pesticides and promote alternative removal methods to extermination for any bees nesting in roofs or gardens.
Whilst this sort of conservation work may not seem as glamorous as saving elephants from snares and rescuing baby animals, conserving bees is vital. One-third of our food is dependent on bees through pollination, however populations have been in decline worldwide due to loss of bee-friendly habitats and the use of toxic pesticides. If Malawi’s bee populations reduce, it will have a negative impact on our biodiversity and agriculture, threatening the entire country’s food security. Just as worryingly, if bees were to disappear from our planet completely, it is estimated that it may only take four years for human life to subsequently be wiped out. The good news is that everyone can help prevent this! Allowing native flowers to grow in your garden, planting native plants, and placing small dishes of water with pebbles in will provide bees with the nectar that they eat and a water source that they won’t accidentally drown in.
Our thanks to Born Free’s Global Friends Programme for providing financial support towards the project, without which it would not have been possible, and to the community group for remaining strongly committed towards the project. It is our hope that everyone will benefit from it.
If you need problem bees removed (instead of exterminated) in Lilongwe, call FIM on 088 226 2908 or email firstname.lastname@example.org