Francis G Smith 2003 265 pages (S505)
This book was first published in 1960. At this time Francis Smith was working as Head of the Beekeeping Division, Forest Department, Tanganyika (present day Tanzania). This book was worthy of re-publication by Northern Bee Books, because during the intervening years nobody has written a more detailed and practical guide for East African beekeeping.
The first part of the book covers basic principles: the biology, behaviour, diseases and enemies of bees, bee forage, beekeeping methods and economics. Written long before beekeepers had heard of Varroa, and with species names of bees, diseases, and forage plants all changing in the past 40 years, this part of the book reveals its age.
Part II, apiary equipment, discusses apiary choice, simple hives and frame hives - top-bar hives had not yet put in an appearance in East Africa.
Part III, bee management, advises keeping cylindrical hives in bee houses, and gives plenty of practical information about working with frame hives. Francis Smith advocates the use of Modified Dadant frame hives. No doubt they worked well for him, supported by a well resourced Government Department. Yet we know that today, this type of frame hive beekeeping has not been adopted in Tanzania.
Part IV discusses the crop: harvesting, and processing of honey and beeswax, and notes on developing the beekeeping industry.
An interesting read with a wealth of ever-valuable beekeeping advice, the book also offers an insight into how much, and how little, life has changed for the rural African beekeeper.