Rafter beekeeping

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According to Chinh et al. (1995) [1] and cited by Guerin (2019) [2], rafter beekeeping includes a rafter, which is the trunk or branch of a tree, around 2 m in length and 10 to 20 cm in diameter supported by two vertical poles (Figure below). Resembling a branch of a tree, a rafter attracts migrating Apis dorsata to build a nest beneath it (see also chapter Other types of gaining bee products.

Diagram of a rafter and Apis dorsata comb. Source: Chinh et al., 1995

Guerin published a training manual describing sustainable ways of rafter beekeeping in a WWF report of 2019. The manual can be downloaded from the WWF website (link in the references of this page) [2].

The document includes

  • basic requirements for raftering (choice of location, availability of bee forage and locally available materials and bee species)
  • rafter design and construction (wood selection, choice of size, manipulating of the environment near the rafter, time-management)
  • alternative rafter designs (inspired by different countries)
  • harvesting and processing techniques for honey and wax from rafters


  1. Chinh, P.H., Minh, N.H., Thai, P.H., and Tan, N.Q. (1995) Raftering - A traditional technique for honey and wax production from Apis dorsata in Vietnam. Article In Bees for Development Journal.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Guerin, E. (2019). Rafter Beekeeping. Sustainable Management with Apis dorsata Training Manual. WWF Report 2019. Download Url (last access 06.09.2021): https://www.wwf.or.th/en/scp/upcoming_event_/reports_/rafter_beekeeping