The breed of Italian bee is available for sale to beekeepers at the Ministry of Agriculture Research Stations in Vanua Levu and Ra.
Batiri Bee Research Station and the Dobuilevu Bee Research Station now has 70 to 85 percent pure strain of the breed available for bee farmers.
The Ministry’s Technical officer Asween Kumar said farmers that are interested in the Italian bee breed can request through their nearest locality livestock officers for the Italian queen bees.
“Farmers can buy the Italian Queen Bees at $15 per queen and the commercial farmers will be entitled to buy five Queen Bees, Semi Commercial farmers three while Subsistence farmers are entitled to buy 2 Queen Bees.”
“We are recommending bee farmers to buy the Italian queen bee to improve the breed of bees for better yield.
“Italian bees produce more honey compared to the cross of Italian and European black bees that most of the farmers in Fiji currently have in their hives,” he said.
Italian bees are yellow in colour with few black bands and some of the characteristics are:
- They are docile when handled gently
- These bees cling to comb when handled and doesn’t fall or fly
- Industrious and good forages
- Maintains large brood area
- They have good defence against Wax Moth
- Less swarming
- Resistant to some diseases
Meanwhile there are 1,548 bee farmers in Fiji with 14,276 hives from which 516 farmers are from the Western Division with 7521 hives while 742 farmers are from the Northern Division with 3961 hives. The rest are from the Central and Eastern Divisions.
The Ministry of Agriculture provides technical advice to the farmers on bee keeping and also provides farmer trainings.
Last year the Ministry conducted 35 training on bee keeping around the country to 1198 participants.