Traditional Beehives
(information by Ethiopian Post)


Part 1

Beekeeping is among the oldest agricultural activities practiced by the farming community of Ethiopia. However, it is difficult to establish a time reference as to when and where it first started. Honey hunting was a common practice. Hence, during the honey flow time, farmers do go out to hunt for honey from wild honeybee colonies in the forests, crevices, cliffs, etc. Even today it is commonly exercised in extreme parts of the Northwest, West, South and Southwestern regions of the country. Beekeeping or systematic honey and beeswax collection as elsewhere in the world might have first developed when honey hunters learnt to maintain honeybee colonies in hives

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Traditionally beekeepers keep honeybee colonies in simple hives made of local available materials. There are different kinds of hives based on the kind of raw material used for construction. Bark hives, woven bamboo hive, and grass or straw hives are among the some to be mentioned.

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These hives vray in size from region to region. However, all are cylindrical in shape One cnd of these hives is left open to serve as bee's entrance and for the removal of honey in most of the regions. The larger proportion of the woven bamboo hive is concentrated in the South, South West and the Central highlands. Grass and bark hives are widely used in the Central highlands and North Western parts of the country.

All these hives are placed horizontally or suspended on top branches of trees, suspended under the roof of the living house, placed in two wedges shaped poles, in single or double deck hive Stands, etc.


Part 2

Ghoudo hive (45c)
As its name indicates is made of cow dung. This hive is of two different sizes, small and large, used for keeping honeybee colonies in some parts of the Amhara and Tigray regional National States. The smaller ghoudo serves as a brood rearing compartment and the larger with a diameler similar hive is extended as a honey chamber.

An extension is made at one end of the smaller hive using a support by a wedge shaped pole or placed on the ground on a flat stone.

Baskethive (l Birr) 
Used in the country and varies b size. The longest one ranges from 1.90 - 2.30 meters in lenght. This long basket hive is covered with grass for insulation and protection from rain and strong sun heat. It is narrowed at the center. Such a hive is used widely in the northeastern area of Ethiopia mainry in the former Yifat and Timuga province.

Log hives (55 cent and 2 Birr)
Are used by beekeepers in areas where forest trees are available for preparing the hives. Two types of log hives are used in the country. The first is a hollowed out and is sometimes used in the Arsi and Bale Zones of the Oromyia Regional National States. The other is hollowed out log, but split tenghtwise. The two sections are tied together using creeper or rope when in use.

  

On every stamp is a circle with bees as seen on comb

by Jan de Crom  
taken from "The Postal Bee" 4/2002 and 2/2003 
Contact Group Bee Philately

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