Honey-bee production practices and hive technology preferences in Jimma and Illubabor Zone of Oromiya Regional State, Ethiopia

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The study was conducted in two purposefully selected zones of Oromiya Regional State, namely Jimma and Illubabor. The objective of the study was to analyse the honey-bee production and to assess hive technology preferences in the study area. A total of 156 beekeepers were randomly and proportionately selected from four districts (Mana and Gomma from Jimma and Bacho and Yayo from Illubabor). Data were collected through formal survey and secondary sources. Accordingly, the average age of the beekeepers was 40.2 ± 8.13 years with an average of 13.5 ± 6.58 years of experience. The majority of the respondents (53.2%) in the study area got their colonies by catching swarms. Three hive types (traditional, transitional, and frame hive) were found in the study area. More than 70% of the respondents harvested once a year from traditional hives, while 25% of respondents harvested up to three times per year from frame hives. Moreover, an average of 22 ± 4.6 and 16 ± 4.1 kg of honey were harvested from frame and transitional hives per year, respectively. Compared to these two hives, a much lower (7 ± 1.6 kg) amount of honey was harvested from traditional hives. Various honey-bee floras were identified in the study area. Plants such as Vernonia amygdalina, Croton macrostachyus, and Schefflera sp. produce white honey. Half of the respondents’ preferred transitional hive followed by frame hive (37.2%). Factors which affect the use of frame hives were lack of equipment (36.5%) followed by wax quality and availability problems (34%). That is why few beekeepers tried to modify the frame hive to solve the problems of wax in vertical frame hive. In order to adopt and sustain modern hive technology, the focus should be on honey-bee equipment as well as wax quality and availability.

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