The National Conservation Commission (NCC) will be seeking to embark on the rearing of queen bees over the next six months.
This was disclosed by General Manager of the NCC, Keith Neblett, during the annual Arbor Day celebrations at its headquarters yesterday.
Mr. Neblett said officials at the NCC recognised that there was a shortfall in the work of rearing queen bees, and the entity was therefore looking to embark on that area and capitalise on a potentially new market.
???There is no other person doing the work. When we initially started the bee programme, we thought it was for the education of the students, but we recognised that there is a shortfall ??? in terms of queen rearing, which is critical and certainly we are going to embark on that,??? he stated, noting the NCC was also working closely with a number of private honeybee producers on the island.
The General Manager further explained that the aspect of queen rearing would see a significant increase in the number of beehives on the island.??
However, Mr. Neblett stated that the Commission was seeking to monitor the number of African Bees in Barbados through the Fast African Bee Identification System (FABIS), for which it was receiving assistance from the United States Agency for International Development.
???This [FABIS] is a programme being done in the United States where they are having a lot of Africanised bees. You can???t get rid of them, but what we can do with the queen rearing is you can try to phase them out because they are very aggressive???,??? he explained, noting that while those bees produced a lot of honey, public safety was important.
He added that the introduction of the queen rearing programme would assist Barbados, especially as the country had the assurance from the United States Department of Agriculture that they would facilitate ongoing training with FABIS.
Since its launch, the apiary at the NCC has grown in popularity, with school children showing a particular interest. ???We hope to reduce the level of fear and negative stigma that has been associated with bees, since this is critical to the development of the apiculture industry, and to our tree planting programmes,??? Mr. Neblett stated.