Ethics and Care: Our Primary Values

Nahl Apiculture is a start-up beekeeping company based in Kampala, Uganda. We specialize in top tier honeycomb sourced directly from the beehive. The range of our products with the same immune boosting & medicinal properties boasts beeswax, bee venom, propolis and pollen. In addition, we supply apiary equipment & training to local and international farmers. With ethical harvesting as our priority, we ensure that we approach it in such a way that the relationship between the farmer and the bee is valued. Equally as important is maintaining good quality products for our trusting customers: you! As we enter the third quarter of the year, we are excited to expand our business on the digital platform as a means of connecting with our beloved customers and hopefully future customers too.

Why Choose Nail Apiculture?

It’s simple: we harvest in an ethical and clean way! Our bees are being treated the same we treat our children: with protection and full care. Nahl Apiculture stands out from other apiculture businesses in that we do not remove the frames and suffocate them with smoke. Why? Because it agitates the bees and harms the taste quality of the honey! This brings us to the question: so why do beekeepers use smoke if it is harmful to the bees? Expert beekeeper Paul says that smoke helps calm the bees down by masking other smells and therefore suppressing their defensive alarms.

It essentially comes down to differentiating between good versus bad smoking techniques. Bee ecologist Ron Miksha shares with us tips on how to make sure we aren’t harming the bees.

  • Carefully apply a tiny amount of smoke to the entrance before the hive is opened and along the top bars once or twice during the process
  • Allow for a few minutes of immersion

The fuel used as smoker material is also crucial to a calm response from the bees. If a beekeeper just picks up any leaves or twigs that produce an unpleasant smell and smoke, the bees will definitely get agitated. We use substances such as dried banana tree leaves & cow dung, these give the effects of a thick & cool smoke. We then top it up with some fresh lemon grass that lowers the temperature of the smoke and also has a fragrance that mimics the queen bee’s pheromones. At Nahl Apiculture we like to say; “If the smoke is too much for you, then it’s too much for the bees”. Miksha emphasizes the importance of carefully delivering smoke doses as a means of managing the harvesting process in a safe and effective manner. We do not want to panic or agitate the bees! They deserve tender care at all times.

Apart from smoking, we have discovered a significantly higher composure from the bees using a spray bottle technique. This involves mixing a solution of honey & water into a spray bottle and gently dousing the bees with it. The reaction we see is an immediate response from the bees where they shift their focus from the beekeeper to each other. The honey bees are not known for wasting resources in the hive, hence they take advantage of the syrup mixture by licking it off of each other. This simple yet remarkable approach allows us as beekeepers to inspect the hive, harvest honeycomb & other products, and even capture wild swarms without the commotion caused from smoking.

Why Should You Support Us?

Supporting Nahl Apiculture is a great way for you to participate in helping the beekeeping community get better and advance our ethical and clean harvesting methods! Our number one motivation from the beginning was to stay true to our values as human beings and an eco-friendly company. We aim to continuously provide ethically-harvested products that are crafted with love and care.  You can also do your part by avoiding buying honey that is not 100% genuinely natural or harvested unethically. How can you ensure it’s ethical? Or at least ‘more’ ethical than commercial honey? One way is to buy honey from a small, local farm (like us!) — ideally by visiting the farm yourself. This way, you can see everything firsthand and ask questions about their practices.If visiting the farm isn’t possible, you might try your local farmer’s market. While you won’t be able to see their practices for yourself, you can still ask questions and engage in a thoughtful conversation with the farmer.

If local honey is not an option, you can always jump online and buy honey that is labeled as raw, unfiltered, organic, or biodynamic. Again, while these characteristics are no guarantee of ethical beekeeping, their related farming practices are likely to be more sustainable, which is inherently better for the bees. They are also more likely to follow more balanced beekeeping methods.Overall, ethical honey would come from beekeepers that are more concerned about the health and welfare of the bees than for maximizing their honey output. This is a big ask for anyone trying to make a living as a beekeeper, but these folks do exist.

We also aim to provide an educational experience for our community. For example, our current goal is to teach people how to appreciate bees more and how to deal with them when you spot them out and about! Do not swat it, but rather take a moment to appreciate it. We have to remember bees are not monsters nor are they dangerous or hurtful, and it is our reaction to them that sets their motives. Usually when a bee attacks, it is out of a survival tactic. The best way to deal with a bee colony  when you spot it is not by spraying it as seen on many social media platforms (Youtube and Tiktok), you can simply call your local beekeeper to help. Take the time to learn that the bees do not only make honey. Keep in mind, when grocery shopping that these bees pollinated the fruits and vegetables that you buy.

With current research into pest control, disease resistance and queen rearing; we hold aspirations in providing African honey bee colonies that can be tamed in the same manner as European honey bees, but with a significantly stronger genetic resistance. Due to the negative impact on the environment from the use of the harmful pesticides, the global population of honey bees is dropping rapidly. Nahl Apiculture is looking to provide solutions to the challenges faced by farmers with aggressive African bee colonies in rural parts of the country and greater world. The most common misconception perpetrated online of ‘African Killer Bees’ has broadened the number of wild honey bee colonies being destroyed. Bees are dangerous! There is no doubt about that; however, with the right balance of productive & varroa resistant properties in genetic testing, the correct hive approach from the beekeeper, and the mass education of apiculture in general, we are optimistic about prospects of future honey bee populations, specifically Africanised honey bee populations.

We truly care. With ethical harvesting as a priority, we ensure that the honey remains pure and the bees remain happy. Stay tuned for our upcoming website release where we will go more into the behind-the-scenes of our harvesting process!