Bee Culture

Beekeeping (or apiculture) is the maintenance of bee colonies, commonly in man-made hives, by humans. A location where bees are kept is called an apiary or “bee yard”. Most such bees are honey bees in the genus Apis, but other honey-producing bees such as Melipona stingless bees are also kept. The collection of honey from the forests has been in existence for a long time.

Honey bees convert nectar of flowers into honey and store them in the combs of the hive and the growing market potential for honey and its products have resulted in beekeeping emerging as a viable enterprise.
Honey and wax are the two economically important products of beekeeping.
Beekeeping is an agro-based enterprise for additional income generation.

Advantages of bee-keeping:

Beekeeping requires less time, money and infrastructure investments.

Honey and beeswax can be produced from an area of little agricultural value.

The Honey bee does not compete for resources with any other agricultural enterprise.

Beekeeping has positive ecological consequences. Bees play an important role in the pollination of many flowering plants, thus increasing the yield of certain crops such as sunflowers and various fruits.

Honey is a portion of delicious and highly nutritious food. By the traditional method of honey hunting, many wild colonies of bees are destroyed. This can be prevented by raising bees in boxes and producing honey at home.

Beekeeping can be initiated by individuals or groups.

The market potential for honey and wax is high.

The types of bee species available in India:

Rock bee (Apis dorsata)

They are good honey gathers with an average yield of 50-80 kg per colony.

Little bee (Apis florea)

They are poor honey yielders and yield about 200-900 g of honey per colony.

Indian bee (Apis cerana indica)

They yield an average honey yield of 6-8 kg per colony per year.

European bee [Italian bee] (Apis mellifera)

The average production per colony is 25-40 kg.

Stingless bee (Trigona iridipennis)

They have poorly developed stings and are available in Kerala. They are efficient pollinators. They yield 300-400 g of honey per year.

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