Volunteer Stories

Stephen Peterson: Beekeeping

Stephen assessed bee colony conditions.
  • Story Snapshot

  • Country: Egypt
Peterson

Stephen Petersen showing an ancient Egyptian depiction of Beekeeping at the Tomb of Pabas near the Valley of the Kings.

Stephen Peterson - beekeeping volunteer story

Stephen’s assignment concluded with a seminar on beekeeping

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Stephen with beekeepers at the Nile Delta.

Stephen Peterson
Master Beekeeper
Location: Alaska, U.S.
Career Summary: Stephen, a master Beekeeper from Fairbanks, Alaska, recently completed a successful two-week volunteer assignment in Egypt.
Area(s) of Expertise: Beekeeping
Language(s) Spoken: English

ASSIGNMENT OVERVIEW
Name of project: Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Program
Leading Implementer: Land O’Lakes International Development
Volunteer Assignment and Impact: Petersen offered guidance to several apiaries on the importance of optimum spacing of bee colonies for better pollination and increased honey yields. Petersen also spoke at the Seventh Annual Arab Beekeepers Union Conference. Petersen’s presentation on good beekeeping practices generated much attention from the 300 attendees from over 12 countries!

While in Egypt, Petersen discovered that one of the apiaries he visited during his assignment works with the indigenous Egyptian bee Apis mellifera lamarckii, a bee that is rarely used today. He calls them, “a national treasure.” Several days after visiting the apiary he had the opportunity to see an ancient Egyptian depiction of beekeeping these bees at the Tomb of Pabasa. “You may have to be a bee-geek to appreciate my feelings upon seeing this classic scene just days after seeing it in action in Fayoum…” he said.

Petersen is confident that beekeepers’ honey quality and yields will improve as the apiaries apply the advice he offered. Petersen is planning a follow-up assignment where he will offer seminars on best practices in bee colony management, nutrition, reproduction and harvesting at apiary schools in Upper Egypt.

Stephen gave a presentation on a previous assignment that was recorded and you can watch above.