Deekshith D V
Pics: Dayanand Kukkaje
Daijiworld Media Network - Puttur
Puttur, May 11: Apiculture, or bee farming, is a lucrative business if done with hard work, patience and dedication. This has been proved true in the case of Manmohan, an apiculturist, who gave up his job as an electrician to pursue his passion for beekeeping.
Initially, taking advice from experts, he started the business with a single wooden beehive box. But he failed to extract the expected amount of honey despite several attempts. But with patience and years of hard work, Manmohan now owns 300 active wooden beehive boxes and has even ventured into natural beekeeping. And he has 200 wooden hives for sale. Per annum he collects 50 quintals of honey from 300 hives, and sells the collected honey for Rs 165 a kg.
Speaking to daijiworld.com, Manmohan said, "I started this venture 12 years ago. I was interested in this business. First I started from a single wooden box. After many attempts and failures, I succeeded and gradually expanded the business in a bigger scale. In order to succeed in apiculture, you need to understand the behaviour of bees, which requires years of patience and perseverance. In a bee hive, there is a queen bee which is the only breeding female in the hive, there is a large number of female worker bees and a number of male drones. Beekeepers should frequently monitor the bee hives and it is very important to avoid swarming. There is frequent demand for honey but we cannot produce as per the demand.
"Beekeeping is a skillful management. It requires dedication, patience and immense effort and moreover it needs understanding the behaviour of the bees which comes with experience. If the bee colony swarms unexpectedly and the beekeeper fails to manage this, then he is likely to get less honey. A beekeeper should have knowledge about the swarming to breed a new queen," he added.
Manmohan has domesticated the bee colony in a rectangular wood hive within four parallel house-like structures. The wood hive consists of four to six vertical plates of honey comb, eggs, larvae, pupae and pollen. Bees collect the honey and store in the comb in the hive.
Beekeeping also helps maintain ecological balance and facilitates pollination process in plants. To get a good quantity of honey, Manmohan does migratory bee farming. In the process, the wooden beehives boxes are transported to various places to increase the quantity and avoid rain which affects bee farming. During the rainy days in the district, Manmohan carries the beehives to HD Kote and Gondlupete where there is less rainfall.
In Puttur taluk, Manmohan is a leading apiculturist, producing the highest quantity of honey for honey society. G P Shama Bhat, president of S K Beekeepers Society Puttur, told daijiworld, "Every year, we get 30,000 kg of honey from the entire district. There is increasing demand for honey but we cannot meet the demand as there is less production. Karnataka is in the sixth place in bee farming. This is a lucrative business. We are providing wooden bee hives to the farmers and they get Rs 165 per kg of honey. Apis Mellipera is the bee specie that is domesticated."
It can be safely said, apiculture is indeed keeping Manmohan and others like him busy as a bee, and add to that, it's a lucrative business, even though it's not all about the money, but honey.