Stingless bee honey catching on globally

A new research center adds to the global growth of stingless-bee beekeeping for pollination and honey.

From the American Scientist:

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.

“It’s got tremendous potential,” says Sam Droege, a biologist with the United States Geological Survey, who visited the fledgling center in 2009. “You don’t tame a group of animals very often, and here, all of a sudden, is an entirely new group of animals that are now available for agriculture.”

For more, see: The Other Honey

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