Hide article content
Print article content
By Abdalla Mohamed Ali and Jacob Mogga
LIKE ALL AFRICAN HONEY BEES Sudanese bees are highly defensive and sometimes we have to wear layers of protective clothing during routine apiary work. This necessity encouraged us to find ways of making protective clothing out of local materials. In addition to the bee suits and gloves we have also invented a way of protecting our feet and ankles with boots made easily from local materials These boots are worn over our normal shoes or sandals when working with bees.
These boots have proved very successful in protection of our feet during colony manipulation however strong and defensive the colony may be. If properly cared for they last for several months. They have also been introduced by Mr Mogga to a beekeeping project in Malawi, and were found equally suitable. I hope this idea might be helpful for beekeepers who cannot otherwise afford expensive, locally made or imported boots.
- Synthetic woven material. In Sudan this material is used for cane sugar sacks, but it is often used elsewhere to make bags for rice, corn and other grains. Discarded sacks can often be obtained free.
- Thread (preferably nylon).
- A hand needle 7.5 cm long
- Marker pen or coloured chalk.
All of these materials are available locally. The cane sugar bags are also re-used by sewing into school bags for children to carry their books and sometimes they are sewn into shopping bags. These bags are usually of rectangular shape, around 50 cm x 40 cm (Figure I) and are available at low cost in markets. Two such bags would be needed to make a pair of protective boots.
- Using a marker pen, draw the appropriate shape and size of the boot on the two bags (Figure 2). It is important to make this extra large to enable the boot to be worn over normal working shoes or sandals.
- Cut off the extra portion of the original bag (Figure 3).
- Use the needle and thread to sew the pieces together. If available, this sewing can be done by machine.
- A rubber band or thick cotton thread is attached at the folded upper part of the boots to fasten them over the overall (Figure 4).
- The material is readily available in the country.
- These boots are very cheap compared with imported ones (Sudanese £30 to Sudanese £300).
- very beekeeper can make his or her own within one hour.
- They are light and easily folded for transport.
- It saves hard currency for the country.
[Bees for Development Journal #22]