Research on to modernise bee keeping in Seychelles


The researchers during one of their presentations on honey bees

This came out recently following the visit of two researchers – Maéva Techer and Simiand Christophe -- from the CIRAD-3P research centre in Reunion.

During their more than a week visit here, the two researchers on honey bees collected samples – two bees per colony – to have an idea of their genetic diversity and identify the different breeds as part of a first genetic study of honey bees in the Indian Ocean region.

The honey bee Apis mellifera is the most commonly domesticated species which is native to Europe, Asia and Africa. There are also many other sub-species that have adapted to the environment – its geography and climatic area – and the study is expected to identify them.

Bee samples for the study have already been collected in Reunion, Mauritius and after Seychelles the researchers will be heading to Rodrigues Island.

Talking to Nation before they left the country, the two researchers said their visit here has been very fruitful.

“Contacts with local beekeepers on Mahé, Praslin and La Digue were well organised by officers from the Seychelles Agricultural Agency (SAA) and this was very much appreciated,” said Ms Techer.

The two researchers also had the chance to inspect wild bee colonies thanks to the help of a park ranger.

Ms Techer said analysis of the different samples will be carried out at the research centre in Reunion and a report is expected to be ready in about seven to 10 months.

Following the laboratory study of all the samples collected from the different islands the researchers are expected to write a scientific article on the bees of the region and submit a report of the findings to Seychelles on its bees.

“Such information will be important as it will help the authorities to explore better measures to further develop and expand bee keeping and also seek ways to better preserve the local honey bee colonies,” said Ms Techer.

She noted that during the visits, the beekeepers have voiced several challenges they are encountering and these include the need to know how to expand their bee colonies, how to procure more sophisticated equipment, the need for more advanced training in bee keeping, and more land to set up their apiaries so as to increase local production of honey.

Before they left the country the two researchers met high ranking officials from the SAA and made a presentation on the honey bee Apis mellifera which is the most common to all the islands of the region.