The Other Honey: A new research center in Ghana adds to the global growth of stingless-bee beekeeping for pollination and honey
by Elsa Youngsteadt
In rural Ghana, stingless bees are well known as useful animals. Farmers raid natural hives to collect honey, which they use to treat ailments from eye infections to asthma. Many say the bees improve crop yields, and people refer to different species by their indigenous monikers. (The tifuie, for instance, is named after its tendency to get caught in people’s hair.) Despite farmers’ familiarity with these small bees, however, “they had no idea that they could bring them home and culture them and keep them,” says entomologist Peter Kwapong.
Kwapong directs the International Stingless Bee Centre, a new hub for research, outreach and education at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. Over the past six years, the center has developed methods for propagating Ghana’s native stingless bees in artificial hives. And it has trained more than 200 West African farmers and extension workers to do the same. “People are catching on,” Kwapong says. They’re beginning to manage the bees as pollinators and as a sustainable source of honey and other products…
(read more: American Scientist) (image: Intl. Stingless Bee Ctr.)