Roaring rains, flourishing fields and boisterous bees
Report written by international intern Madi Schiller Chan
Currently in Sagalla, the dry, red dusty soil has transformed into glorious soft, slippery crimson mud. The rains have been falling down in roaring amounts. After one year of drought, the people of Mwakoma and Mwambiti and the researchers at Tsavo could not be more ecstatic.
Honeybees reuniting with flowers, families with flourishing crops, farmers with old friends; there is an insatiable uplifting energy presently surrounding many of our supporting farms.
In the last three weeks of bee-hive monitoring, every week we are observing multiple new occupancies at several different farms. On Saturday the 21st of April, one of our key farmers, Nashon, informed the community in a meeting he only had one occupied hive, four days later we were excitedly informed his bee-hive occupancies had risen by three! Nashon is definitely not alone as many of our other farmers are experiencing unprecedent bee-hive occupancies.
Walking through the farms, hearing the vigorous vibrations of honeybees collecting pollen from the vast, new fields of flowers has been such a fulfilling experience.
However, as such with new abundances comes its various challenges. As always, active beehives are always at risk to a plentiful of predators and pests. Seen at Kalas’ shamba, another of our major farms, one of his notably active hives had been devastated by wax moths, a pest we’re still struggling to combat.
We are also still very wary of potential honey badger attacks, as the hope of honey-harvesting is greatly rising. Thus, we are frequently collecting camera-trap data from hives with honey-badger deterrents installed from the previous Master’s student, Abi Johnson. Fortunately, over the last month there have been no honey-badger attacks observed, only a few curious genets, mongoose and aardwolves wondering about.
As farmers have worked exhaustingly hard on their farms, this bewildering abundance of bees ideally allows them to be adequately prepared for elephant crop-raiding. If the farmers are also able to harvest some honey hopefully soon, this will only further enhance the already motivated and optimistic energy of the community and the team here at Sagalla.