APICULTURE: THE STORY OF HONEYBEES AND THEIR IMPORTANCE IN SUSTAINING LIFE
June 27, 2017

Honeybees are an amazing and highly beneficial insect species that quite literally underpin the sustenance of life as we know it on planet earth. As it turns out, modern agriculture techniques that involve spraying crops with untold tons of toxic chemicals are also killing the world’s soils, which in turn are killing off the bees that feed on the plants that grow in these soils. It is a highly destructive cycle of death that could one day make it virtually impossible to grow enough food to sustain life. “The bees are trying to tell us something very clearly.”

WHAT IS APICULTURE? – Apiculture is the practice of rearing for the procurement of honey produced by them and is also called beekeeping. There are about 20,000 kinds of bees, all belonging to the insect order Hymenoptera, of them, three families of social bees are honey producing. They are bombidae, meliponidae and apidae, among them apidae is the main honey producing family. They are, rock bee, Apisdorsata (good honey gathers with an average yield of 50-80 kg/colony), European bee, Apismellifera (average production/colony is 25-40 kg), Indian bee, Apiscerana indica(average honey yield of 6-8 kg/colony, little bee, Apisflorea (yield about 200-900 g of honey /colony), stingless bee, Trigonairridipennis (produce 400-600 g honey/colony) and bumble bee, Bombusterarius (produce little honey). To know about the latest trends of the industry, visit the industrial events now organized in the country.

Classification:Kingdom-Animalia,Phylum-Arthropoda, Class-Insecta,Order-Hymenopoda (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflis), Family-Apidae (Cuckoo, Carpenter, Digger, Bumble, and Honey bees), Tribe-Apini (Honey Bees), Genus-Apis (44 subspecies/20,000 known species), Species-Indica (Honey Bees)

Commercial importance: Honey has been traditionally used in various diet preparations, medicines, cosmetics, ointments, candles and house-hold bee-wax items, besides ayurvedic drug preparations. The propolis of the bee hive is used in lip balms and tonics, whereas royal jelly is used to strengthen the human body, for improving appetite, preventing aging of skin, leukaemia and for the treatment of other cancers.

Honey Products Honey container Decorative

Honey: Importance of honey has been described in ancient Indian vedas. All is honey, food is honey. It produced by honey bee from nectar of blossoms or from secretions of other parts of plants, which honey bees collect, convert into honey and store in wax comb to ripen. Honey is known to be acidic due to presence of (Formic, acetic, butyric, malic and succinic acids) most predominant is gluconic acid that derives from dextrose.

Bee Wax: Besides honey, bee produces large quantity of wax. It isused in cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries, like preparation of lotions, creams, lipstick, ointment, polish, varnish etc.

Bee pollen: Pollen is the male germ plasma of plants. Pollen is collected by bee from flowers as pollen pellets and stored in comb. It is used in plant breeding programmer, fruit pollination, studying and treating allergic conditions such as hay fever, extracting certain components, feeding human beings and domestic animals alone or with honey or royal jelly.

Royal jelly: It is a milky white secretion is produced from the hypo pharyngeal glands of young worker bees. It is used to treat the disorder of Cardio-vascular system, gastrointestinal tract.Royal jelly normalize metabolism, has a diuretic effect and regulates functioning the endocrine glands and good for arteriosclerosis and coronary deficiency.

Bee venom: (Toxic poison) cause toxicity. Bee venom is a liquid with a bitter taste, and aromatic odour an acid reaction and with specific gravity.  It dries quickly at room temperature. It is used to bring down the blood pressure by reducing the cholesterol level and deposition in blood vessels. Use as a natural bee stings, subcutaneous injections, electrophoresis, ointment, inhalation and tablets.

Propolis: It is a sticky, gummy, resinous material gathered by bees from trees and other vegetation, either from buds or from bark.

How to make Apiary?

Materials required: Chisel, hammer, small axe, empty bee hive, brood frames, banana fibre, queen cage or empty match box, smoker, rope, knife, match box, coconut husk, old rag

Nesting sites: Indian bees build multi combs inside a cavity. Feral colonies are commonly found inside a hollow tree trunk, beneath a termine mound, inside mud plastered stone walls, rat burrows, the well wall and toddy or neera pot.

Steps involved are to locate the nest entrance, enlarge the entrance using a chisel and hammer. Avoid too much vibrations while chiseling, pacify the angry bees with smoke only when many bees begin to sting. Remove the combs totally as far as possible one by one without damage, Search for queen’s presence on both the sides of the removed combs.Trim the edge of the comb and tie it to an empty brood frame using wet banana fibres, hang the

Apiary making Comb honey super Honeybee comb

combtied frames inside the brood box, sweep out the bees in the cavity using your palm. Keep the brood box closer to the entrance, use minimum smoke to drive out the bees from the cavity.If the cavity is too deep attach a rubber hose to the smoker and deliver the smoke well inside the cavity.Guard against ants by keeping the legs of the hive stand in ant pan, if honey is not there in the combs give artificial feeding to the colony with sugar syrup.Remove the queen gate after three days.Take up hive inspection only after three days.

COLONY MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES

The management practices will vary depending on the season.

Before honey flow period

Dearth period: Bees will be facing scarcity of food, Feeding weak colonies with artificial food – sugar syrup, pollen supplement / substitute, Regular cleaning of bottom board – to prevent wax moth damage. If possible, move colonies to nearby places for food

Build up period: Colony starts growing as the food available and providing brood frames with comb foundation sheet – to help the colony to expand the comb area, Renewal of old combs with new combs.

During honey flow period

Timely providing supers/ honey chambers with comb foundation sheets fixed to all the frames, Timely extraction of honey as and when the honey frames in the supers are sealed

After honey flow period

Systematic removal of the empty supers as the bees are moving down and storing them free from wax moth damage, Regular removal of the uncovered combs in the brood chamber as and when the, bee population going reduced.

Artificial feeding

Sugar syrup: It is prepared by mixing equal volume of sugar and water and boiling for few minutes. This can be fed to the bees by different methods.

Pollen supplement: This is prepared by mixing 30 g of pollen, 120g of defatted soybean flour and 200g of sugar. These three are thoroughly mixed with 100ml of hot water.

Pollen substitute: This is prepared by mixing 300 g defatted soybean flour, 100 g yeast, 100 g skimmed milk powder with sugar syrup to get proper consistency in the form of a cake.

 

In today’s scenario, there are various industrial exhibitions, wherein, companies of Apiculture industry exhibits their latest technologies and know-hows for the industry. To remain updated about the best practices, stakeholders should visit such industrial exhibitions and seminars.

Posted in Apiculture
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