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Chapter 1: Honeybees and Apiculture - Introduction. 1.1. .... Figure 6.2: Beekeepers surveyed, number of bee boxes and a...

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Sahyadri Conservation Series 19

Beekeeping: Sustainable Livelihood Option in Uttara Kannada, Central Western Ghats Ramachandra T.V.

Subash Chandran M.D. Balachandran C.

Joshi N.V.

Western Ghats Task Force, Government of Karnataka Karnataka Biodiversity Board, Government of Karnataka The Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India The Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India

ENVIS Technical Report: 49 August 2012 Environmental Information System [ENVIS] Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore - 560012, INDIA Web: http://ces.iisc.ernet.in/energy/ http://ces.iisc.ernet.in/biodiversity Email: [email protected], [email protected]

Sahyadri Conservation Series 19 2012

Beekeeping: Sustainable Livelihood Option in Uttara Kannada, Central Western Ghats Contents Summary………………………………………………………………………………………....6 Chapter 1: Honeybees and Apiculture - Introduction 1.1. Insects for human welfare and environment …………………………………….…....9 1.2. Global beekeeping scenario………………………………….…………….………...11 1.3. Beekeeping in India …………………………………………………………...…....13 1.4. Beekeeping in Karnataka……………………………………………………….…...14 1.5. Honey: physiochemical nature and uses……………………………………….……15 1.6. Other products from bees……………………………………………………….…...18 1.7. Pollination services…………………………………………………………….……20 1.8. Crisis in pollination…………………………………………………………….……22 1.9. Renting bees for pollination services………………………………………….…….23 1.10. Need for promoting bee keeping in Uttara Kannada ………………………….…....25 Chapter 2: Honeybees: Biology and Diversity 2.1. Organized society……………………………………………………………………27 2.1.1. Worker 2.1.2. Drone 2.1.3. Queen 2.2.

External morphology……………………………………………………….…….....29

2.3.

Developmental stages (life cycle)………………………………………………......31

2.4. Diversity of honeybees in Uttara Kannada …………………………………………33 2.4.1. Apis cerana………………………………………………………………..34 2.4.2. Apis florea………………………………………………………………...35 2.4.3. Apis dorsata……………………………………………………………….36 2.4.4. Trigona sp…………………………………………………………………38 2.5. Identification key to Uttara Kannada bees…………………………………………..39 Chapter 3: Pests, Predators and Diseases: Prevention and Control 1

Sahyadri Conservation Series 19 2012 3.1. Introduction……………………………………………………………………..........40 3.2. Viral diseases………………………………………………………………………...40 3.3. Fungal diseases………………………………………………………………………41 3.4. Bacterial diseases………………………………………………………………...…..42 3.5. Mites…………………………………………………………………………………43 3.6. Predators 3.6.1. Insects……………………………………………………………………..45 3.6.2. Birds…………………………………………………………………….....47 Chapter 4: Beekeeping Equipments 4.1 Beehive/box………………………………………………………………………….49 4.2 Smoker…………………………………………………………………………….....50 4.3 Extractor………………………………………………………………………...........51 Chapter 5: Beekeeper Co-operative Societies of Uttara Kannada 5.1. Introduction…………………………………………………………………………..52 5.2. Materials and methods……………………………………………………………….53 5.3. Results and discussion…………………………………………………………….…56 5.4. Prescriptions for future ………………………………………………….…………..61 Chapter 6: Beekeeping: Village Scenarios in Uttara Kannada 6.1. Introduction…………………………………………………………………………..63 6.2. Materials and methods………………………………………………………….........64 6.3. Results and discussion……………………………………………………………….65 6.4. Recommendations…………………………………………………………………...70 Chapter 7: Floral Enrichment for Honey Production……………………………………….79 Chapter 8: Honeybee Foraging Plants and Planting Recommendations..………………….96 Conclusion and Recommendations…………………………………………………………..119 References……………………………………………………………………………………..123 Annexure- I………………………………………………………………………………….....133 Annexure- II…………………………………………………………………………………...137

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Sahyadri Conservation Series 19 2012 List of Tables Table 1.1: Chemical characteristics of honey from Uttara Kannada district Table 1.2: Estimates showing the value of honeybee pollination to crop production per year Table 1.3: Impact of honeybee (Apis cerana) pollination on fruit productivity Table 5.1: Memberships in the beekeepers co-operative societies during 2001 to 2011. Table 5.2: Quantity of soapnut honey procured by four beekeepers co-operative societies during 2001 – 2011. Table 5.3: Quantity of honey (other than soapnut) procured by beekeepers co-operative societies during 2001 – 2011 Table 6.1: Details of honey production during 2011 gathered from bee keepers in six taluks Table 7.1: List of important pollen (P)/nectar (N) plant sources for honey bees Table 7.2: Nesting plants of honeybees.

List of figures Figure 2.1: External morphology of a worker bee. Figure 2.2: Duration of developmental stages of honeybees Figure 2.3: Life cycle pattern of Apis cerana indica Figure 5.1: The map of Uttara Kannada with the study areas Figure 5.2: Membership in the beekeepers co-operative societies during 2001 to 2011. Figure 5.3: Trends in honey procurement by beekeepers co-operative societies during 2001 2011. Figure 6.1: Field study localities in Uttara Kannada district Figure 6.2: Beekeepers surveyed, number of bee boxes and average honey production /box/year in the coastal taluks (Ankola, Kumta and Honavar) of Uttara Kannada Figure 6.3: Beekeepers surveyed, number of bee boxes and average production /box/year in the malnadu taluks (Yellapur, Sirsi and Siddapur) of Uttara Kannada

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Sahyadri Conservation Series 19 2012 List of plates Plate 1.1: Stingless bee (Trigona iridipennis) reared in wooden boxes and logs by Bhargav Hegde Plate 1.2: Trigona iridipennis rearing in small wooden boxes and in aluminum vessel Plate 2.1: Worker bees of Apis cerana indica. Plate 2.2: A drone bee of Apis cerana indica. Plate 2.3: A queen bee of Apis cerana indica Plate 2.4: Black and yellow varieties of Apis cerana indica Plate 2.5: Apis florea Plate 2.6: Apis dorsata foraging on Vitex negundo and Justicia simplex Plate 2.7: Apis dorsata comb collected from forest for wax extraction Plate 2.8: Apis dorsata hives on Tetrameles nudiflora Plate 2.9: Trigona iridepennis. Plate 3.1: American foulbrood: the telltale rope of dead larva Plate 3.2: Varroa mite infestation on larvae and honeybee colony. Plate 3.3: Yellow banded wasp (Vespa cincta) predating on honeybees Plate 3.4: Wax moth damages on bee hive Plate 3.5: Some honeybee predating birds Plate 4.1: A typical bee-hive/bee box Plate 4.2: Smoker Plate 4.3: Honey extractor Plate 5.1: Data collection at beekeepers co-operative society at Ankola Plate 5.2: Shridhar Hegde of beekeepers co-operative society at Honavar explaining bee keeping equipments Plate 6.1: Kinds of honey produced by a bee-keeper in Sirsi taluk Plate 6.2: K.B. Gunaga, beekeeper of Alageri, Ankola taluk explaining foraging bees in beehive Plate 7.1: Nesting sites of honey bees

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Sahyadri Conservation Series 19 2012 Acknowledgements We acknowledge gratefully the cooperation and help extended for the study by the officers of Beekeepers Cooperative Societies Messrs N.S. Raikar (Ankola), Shridhar Hegde (Honavar), T. Gunaga (Kumta) and Smt. Sumangala Hegde (Siddapur). We thank LAMP Cooperative Society, Yellapur, Kadamba Marketing Souhardha Sahakar Ltd., Sirsi and Prakruti Samsthe, Sirsi for the cooperation given. Thanks are due to the several bee-keepers of the district and Mr. Santharam Siddi, Member, Western Ghat Task Force, Government of Karnataka, for his guidance. We are grateful to our colleagues Messrs G.R. Rao and M. Boominathan for assisting with photographs and Shrikanth Naik and Vishnu D M for assistance in the field.

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Sahyadri Conservation Series 19 2012 Beekeeping: Sustainable Livelihood Option in Uttara Kannada, Central Western Ghats Summary Beekeeping is a forest and agro-based industry, which is beyond the ordinary realms of industry, in the sense that the humans derive benefits from interaction between two living things like plants and bees without affecting adversely both. On the contrary plants, including many crops, prosper with the abundance of bees (as pollinating agents) and the bees, sheltered both by nature and humans provide mainly honey and other by-products like beeswax, bee-pollen, propolis and royal jelly. Bee-keeping, systematically adopted as a supplement to farming, can bring prosperity to the villages of Uttara Kannada, a district endowed with species rich forests and cultivation of a high diversity crops. Unlike intensive farming or fishing that can corrode the natural resource base, abundance of honey bees in a natural environment benefits both crops and wild plants.

Apis of family Apidae is the main genus of honey bee accounting for bulk of honey production, and the genus Trigona, also from the same family, is a minor producer of honey. Uttara Kannada has three species of Apis viz. A. dorsata dorsata, A. cerana indica, and A. florea and one species Trigona (T. irridipennis). In the recent times these bee populations suffered decline in the Western Ghats due to many factors, the major ones being poor management practices, epidemics such as Thai sacbrood, Nosema, and Foulbrood disease and pests like Varroa mites. Predator insects like wasp, wax-moth and some insectivorous birds like bee eaters, drongoes etc are minor causes affecting bee populations.

Beekeepers co-operative societies, formed under the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) and the National Horticulture Mission (NHM) played crucial role in strengthening beekeeping activities in the district. Five beekeepers co-operative societies were established at Honavar, Kumta, Ankola, Sirsi-Yellapur and Siddapur of Uttara Kannada. In the current study the performance of beekeepers co-operative societies in the taluks of Ankola, Kumta, Honavar and Siddapur of Uttara Kannada was evaluated with regard to promotion of beekeeping and 6

Sahyadri Conservation Series 19 2012 honey procurement. The constraints for the growth of such societies are discussed. Honavar society had the highest number of members (992) in 2011, and Ankola society had the lowest (204). A glance through the growth in membership over the past 11 years of all these societies reveal only stunted growth. Although the potential of bee-keeping in Uttara Kannada, a well forested and horticulturally important district, is tremendous, the potential is hardly ever realized due to the lack of co-ordinated approach.

Sirsi-Yellapur society had gone almost defunct

compared to other societies. In a free market economy, with ever increasing demand for honey from local markets and cities, the bee-keeper’s societies, instead of going redundant, can play important role in systematically nurturing bee-keeping through awareness creation and training programmes, foster the growth of bee forage plants and pave way for creation of employment for thousands of rural people.

Apart from studies on bee keeping made through the aforesaid society’s primary data was collected from randomly selected 83 villages, through interviews with help of a questionnaire. Using the latter was collected the number of boxes the farmers kept, variability in honey production in relation to regions and climate, processing and marketing of honey and on important bee-forage plants. Problems and prospects of bee-keeping were also assessed. The study revealed that 105 bee-keepers whom we interviewed together owned 1453 bee boxes, at an average of 14 boxes each. The total honey production from the district, based on household surveys, amounted to 10,424 kg, during the year 2011, at a district average of 6.68 kg/per bee box. This figure does not include honey procurement by the societies, which is much lower, as most societies are not good performers and are passing through a waning phase. Average honey production/box ranged from 5.73 kg in Honavar, a coastal taluk, to 9.45 kg in Sirsi taluk of malnadu region. Of the other coastal taluks the average production of Kumta was 5.94 kg/box and that of Ankola was 6.72 kg/box. Siddapur and Yellapur in the malnadu had average production per box of 5.96 kg and 6.29 kg respectively. Even though we documented six apparent types of unifloral honey from Sirsi taluk (viz. from plants Strobilanthes, Syzygium, Schleischera, Carallia brachiata, Sapindus, Glyricidia) the consumers in general recognize only two types namely mixed honey and soapnut (Sapindus) honey. The demand for soapnut honey is high, despite its high prices ranging from Rs.700-1000/kg, due to its purported medicinal values, as compared to other honey, including mixed honey, where the prices range from Rs.150-300/kg. 7

Sahyadri Conservation Series 19 2012 The family sizes of bee-keepers in the study area ranged from 2 to 16 members at an average of 5.25 per family. Bee-keeping, evidently, was mostly a male dominated enterprise. Greater participation of female members is necessary to take better care of the economic and nutritional security of rural households. For attracting more people towards bee-keeping, an eco-friendly and high income generating rural enterprise, it is necessary to enrich the surroundings of villages with high nectar producing plants. Vacant lands, public premises, roadsides, estuaries and seashores should be enriched with suitable habitat-specific bee foraging plants. The genera like Syzygium, Terminalia, Strobilanthes, Holigarna, Sapindus, Vateria, Lagerstroemia, Emblica, Dalbergia, Pongamia, Pterocarpus, Xylia, Strychnos, Careya, Vitex, Avicennia etc. are some of the important foraging resources for honeybees in Uttara Kannada.

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Sahyadri Conservation Series 19 2012 Chapter 1: Honey Bees and Apiculture 1.1. Insects for human welfare and environment

Insects as a group, with about 750,000 species described already, overwhelm all the other organisms on the earth constituting more than half of all living species (Primack, 1998; SteffanDewenter and Tscharntke, 2002). Their contributions to terrestrial ecosystems especially are immense as regards their diversity, life forms and in their roles as herbivores, pollinators, parasitoids and predators (Lasalle and Gauld, 1993). Terrestrial ecosystems would collapse but for the key ecosystem services like pollination and nutrient recycling rendered by the insect community (Ritchie and Olff, 1999). Most insects have heavy dependence on plant community for food and shelter, and in turn caused many plants to co-evolve to suit the needs of beneficial insects or to avoid damages from them through production of various defensive phytochemicals or other physical means such as increased hairiness on tender parts, thick cuticle, wax layers etc. Great majority of flowering plants, including agricultural crops are insect pollinated (Kevan, 1999). Among the insect community the honeybees render foremost service as pollinators. Native to the Old World, the honey bees were introduced into the Americas and Australia concurrent with European settlement. Honeybees constitute a group of social insects which are today widespread in the world in habitats that are suitable to them. Although honey continues to be an important product of honeybees, their most valuable service is pollination, the magnitude of which is yet underestimated by humans.

Apiculture (Latin apis = bee) is the study and practice of beekeeping. It is a forest and agrobased industry, which is beyond the ordinary realms of industry, in the sense that the humans derive benefits from interaction between two living things like plants and bees without affecting adversely both. Plants, including many crops, prosper and the bees flourish sheltered by humans, giving honey and different other products like beeswax, propolis and royal jelly are major byproducts of beekeeping. Beeswax is used in carpentry, production of candles and cosmetics. Propolis is a substance made by bees from plant resin. It is used for cosmetics, medicine and food. Royal jelly is a nutrient rich substance from beehive. Bee keeping, though has roots in pre9

Sahyadri Conservation Series 19 2012 history, can play a very important role in uplifting the livelihoods of especially rural people in India while also benefiting the environment.

The quality and origin of the honey is a major factor in price setting. Whereas China supplies the lowest-priced honey, Argentina takes a middle position and honey from Mexico and Australia receives the highest prices. Light honey is more valued than darker ones because of the general preference for clear honey with a mild taste. Single floral honey is more valued than mixed origin honey. Honey infused with various flavours, such as of ginger, vanilla and cinnamon is becoming increasingly popular. The most common determinant of the flavour is the flora in the area where the beehives are kept (EPOPA 2006).

Majority of world production of honey is in the developing countries, barring USA among the developed countries, which are the largest consumers of honey. During the period 2002-2007, China, Turkey, Argentina, USA and Ukraine were the leading honey producers of the world accounting for 41.71% of the world production. Brazil, India, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Mexico, Kenya and Angola are other large producers of honey. Canada, Germany and Spain are large producers of honey from the developed countries, apart from USA. The largest honey exporters were Argentina, China, Mexico, Germany and Hungary, and largest importers were USA, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and France. The EU consumption of honey was around 305,000 tons in 2004- which was more than 20% of the world’s honey production then. Of it 6,500 tons was organic honey. China’s annual production of natural honey increased was 182,000 tons in 1995. It rose significantly to 298,000 tons in 2005, of which 201,090 tons was used domestically, by far the world’s highest honey consumption by any country. China also produced 12,800 tons of beeswax, 1000 tons of pollen and 800 tons of royal jelly and is presently the biggest exporter of honey, beeswax and other bee products. The second and third largest producers Turkey and Argentina produced 82,000 and 80,000 tons, respectively during 2005 (EPOPA 2006; Michener, 2007; Denis et al., 2009).

Ranking seventh among the honey producing countries India has been exporting honey since 1991-1992. The quantity exported was around 8,000 tons until 1998, increasing substantially to 15,587 tons in 2009. India exports honey to approximately 62 countries, with Belgium, 10

Sahyadri Conservation Series 19 2012 Germany, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and the United States being the major purchasers (Sharma, et al., 2012). The major honey-producing Indian states are Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. The average number of beehives in the world was estimated to be 72.52 million, of which India, China, Turkey, Ethiopia and Iran occupy the top five positions accounting for 40.69% of the hives. Despite having the credit of having largest number of bee hives in the world India ranks only seventh in honey production (Michener, 2007; Denis et al., 2009). A variety of factors may be responsible for this backwardness in Indian honey production in spite of having rich diversity of bees.

1.2. Global beekeeping scenario

Though honey has been used as food from time immemorial, prior to 1500 AD, there was not any notable development in the field, which was more a rustic exercise, hovering around little more than honey hunting, robbing it from established nests in nature. As early as 5000 BC, honey hunting was depicted in a rock painting at Cueva de las Aranas, Spain. The Philistines dabbled in beekeeping as did the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Sumerians, and others. The worker honey bee of Apis mellifera was a symbol in ancient Egypt as early as 3100 BC. Although no written descriptions of bees or beekeeping are known from ancient Egypt, some depictions from excavations suggest that beekeeping methods reached a higher level there than elsewhere during the 2400–1400 BC period. The method used by traditional beekeepers in Upper Egypt today is not much different that depicted in 1450 BC. The same method was also transmitted westward along the North African coast and to Sicily, and some –but not all parts of it, reached Greece and Rome (Crane, 2004)

During 980 – 1037 A.D, Avicenna illustrated that ‘king’ of bees (probably referring to male bees?) were reared in extra large cells. Ibn-al- Awam (1100 A.D) stated that the smallest bees in the hive are females, which have a sting. Larger bees are males, which take no part in the preparation of honey. The ‘kings’ are twice as large as the bees that make honey, and Ibn-alAwam knew that it was advantageous to the beekeeper to have only a small number of these in a hive. Even before the honeybee was introduced to the Americas, other kinds of bees were kept for honey and wax. The Inca and Maya of the New World cultured the stingless bees 11

Sahyadri Conservation Series 19 2012 (Meliponidae). There is a renaissance in this activity in the American tropics, but the term “beekeeping” has always been reserved for those managing the Old World western honey bee (Apis mellifera). From 1500 to 1851 (pre-modern beekeeping), knowledge about honey bees progressed significantly. The queen was discovered to be female in 1586. Drones were first identified to be males in 1609. Pollen was determined to be the male part of plants in 1750. Drones were shown to mate with the queen in 1792. In 1845 it was found that the drones parthenogenesis (origin without fertilization). The book Bees and Apiculture was first printed in Europe in 1459 AD. In Spain, volumes 2 and 5 of Gabriel Alonso de Herrera’s (1513) compilation of writings on agriculture by earlier authors were devoted to writings on bees by ancient Greek and Romans (Crane, 2004)

After 1800 AD, with the increased availability of new scientific equipments and methods, studies on honeybees and their products increased rapidly. The modern beekeeping era began in 1851 when the Reverend L.L. Langstroth, considered as father of beekeepers in USA, realized significance of the “bee space,” leading to the invention of the movable-frame hive. Major Hruschka produced an extractor in 1865. Moses Quinby invented the smoker in 1875 and published his first bee book in 1853. Comb honey production began with W.C. Harbison of California in 1857 (Ghosh, 1998). New bee foods, including high fructose corn syrup and the Beltsville Bee Diet were introduced in the 1970s. Honey became a world commodity in the 1980s.

During 1860, honeybee Apis mellifera ligustica was first introduced into the United States, and Frank Benton imported Cyprian and Tunisic stock in the 1870s. Many more introductions succeeded these first attempts. African honey bees (Apis mellifera scutellata) were brought to Brazil in 1957. Varroa jacobsoni, mite parasitic on Apis mellifera, (now known as Varroa destructor) was accidentally introduced into USA in the 1950’s through its original Asiatic host Apis cerana. This mite had spread to all continents except Australia by the 1990s. The small hive beetle (Aethina tumida) was introduced from South Africa into the United States in 1998 (Capinera, 2008).

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Sahyadri Conservation Series 19 2012 1.3. Beekeeping in India

Although information is scattered, the roots of organized beekeeping in India during the preBuddha period can be traced to the Hindu holy books. Ramayana described the existence of ‘Madhuban’ in Kishkinda maintained by King Sugriva. This Madhuban was maintained exclusively for rearing bees for honey. Bees were reared in hollowed logs open at one or both ends, broken gourds or earthen pots in many of our villages; but extraction of honey was by primitive method by squeezing the hive. This crude method does not yield pure honey, as it contains pollen, wax particles and extract of eggs, larvae and adult bees, and gets fermented soon (Ghosh, 1998). The early attempts for bee keeping on scientific lines in India using movable frame hives for Apis cerana were made in 1880 in Bengal and in 1883-84 in Punjab and Kullu Valley. However, these met with only little success. Foundations of modern beekeeping in South India were laid by Rev. Father Newton in 1890, at Shembaganur, near Kodaikanal, Tamilnadu, with the introduction of movable frame “Newton hive”.

After independence the Government of India initiated rural developmental programmes with importance given to beekeeping, as an agro-based economic activity, providing employment and generating income, (Wealth of India, vol. 2, 1988). Swami Shambhavananda in the Coorg district of Karnataka, S.K. Kallapur and S.G. Shende in the Western Peninsula, and R.N. Muttoo in the Central Himalayan foothills pioneered establishment of beekeeping industries and initiated the rural population to adopt this income generating enterprise (Nair, 2003). All India Beekeeper Association was organized in 1938-1939. Beekeeping Research Station was established by the Indian Council of Agricultural research (ICAR) in Punjab in 1945. A second one was established at Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, during 1951. Since 1950, ICAR has been funding various research projects on beekeeping. Thanks to the initiative of All-India Khadi and Village Industries Board in 1953 beekeeping captured the attention of rural masses. The Board paid considerable attention to the development of rural beekeeping programmes and management of beekeeping industry. This time witnessed beekeepers, bee hunters in the wild and part-time workers trying to keep bees in modern hives (Thakar, 1976). The programmes achieved only partial success as bee diseases and other problems that required practical training to cope up with curtailed the growth rates of bee-keeping. The National Commission on Agriculture has recommended the importance 13

Sahyadri Conservation Series 19 2012 of beekeeping industry in every village. Bee research was started in 1954 at Mahabaleshwar which later got reorganized as the Central Bee Research Institute (CBRI), with a broader scope of work, at Pune under the auspices of KVIC. These efforts strengthened the efficiency of native bees through improvement in bee forage, bee management and bee breeding through genetic selection and scientific processing of bee products. In 1980, ICAR started All India Coordinated Project (AICP) on Honey Bees Research and Training which at present has 8 centres throughout the country with administrative centre at Haryana Agricultural University Campus at Hisar in Haryana state (Sivaram, 2012)

1.4. Beekeeping in Karnataka

Beekeeping in Karnataka relied mainly on the Indian bee Apis cerana indica and the introduced bee, Apis mellifera. The introduced species constitutes only a minor portion of beekeeping in the southern part of state. The Western Ghats, clad in forests of varied kinds and other kinds of land uses, especially cultivation of a variety of horticultural crops, provides pollen and nectar sources almost round the year to both wild and domesticated bees, thereby providing rich opportunities for beekeeping. Before 1985 Karnataka dominated in honey production in India, producing 7, 50,000 kg of honey and about 6,000 kg of bees wax. The pollination activities of many crops by bees, obviously, increased the crop yields also. Thereafter the bee beekeeping industry suffered a collapse due to infection by “Thai sac brood” virus which made most people shy away from beekeeping almost until 2000.

The current century saw the Central and State Governments

promoting beekeeping activities, resulting in beekeeping activities picking up especially in rural Karnataka.

Beekeeping industry is gaining increasing popularity in Uttara Kannada and is accepted as complementary activity to agriculture. Apis cerana indica is perhaps the only domesticated bee in this region as the introduced species such as A. mellifera were found to be not suitable, according to Dharmendra Hegde, of Kangod, Sirsi taluk, an ardent bee keeper. Central Western Ghats of the Uttara Kannada provides congenial environment for domestication of bees and organized beekeeping as nectar sources from wild plants are abundant. Some of the local communities of Uttara Kannada such as Siddis, Halakkivokkals, Krivokkaligas, Kunbis and 14

Sahyadri Conservation Series 19 2012 Kumri Marattis have special skills in wild honey collection that remained an enigma for most others. Before Indian independence, beekeeping practices were promoted though taluk level beekeepers cooperative societies. The first such society was started in Honavar taluk, of Uttara Kannada, in 1941. Five more such societies were established in the district, between 1945 and 1985. From 2004 -2005, the National Horticulture Mission encouraged beekeeping activities though “Suvarnabhoomi Yojana” programmes and also by giving subsidies for purchase of bee boxes. Many NGOs (Non-Government Organizations) involved in promoting village economy through a series of programmes also tried to popularize beekeeping along with poultry, cattle rearing, and dairying. For instance, Prakruthi Samsthe, of Sirsi taluk, selected about 20 villages and conducted practical training in beekeeping, along-with other such rural economy based activities (personal communication). LAMP Society of Yellapur is involved in educating and training of the Siddi community in wild honey collection and also providing marketing supports. Although beekeeping is picking up as an enterprise in Uttara Kannada, the public awareness on beekeeping, its significance to ecosystems and pollination services, especially for crop plants, are still lagging.

1.5. Honey: physico-chemical nature and uses

In Uttara Kannada four species of bees namely Apis dorsata, A. cerana indica, A. florea and Trigona iridipennis gather nectar from plants and prepare honey in wild. A. cerana indica and Trigona iridipennis are also domesticated by bee keepers and are the sources of ‘box honey’. Both wild and domesticated bees gather nectar from plants and convert it into honey. This process involves combining nectar gathered from plants with specific kinds of secretions from the bees and dehydration of the ultimate product mainly through fanning by their wings so as to set up air currents. To produce 100 g of honey, a foraging bee must suck nectars from nearly a million flowers. The transformation of nectar into honey takes place within the cells of the comb. When the total soluble solids attain about 75% to 80% of the honey the bees cap each comb cell with a thin layer of wax secreted from their abdominal glands. When the hive is filled with honey, the bees are kept away by exposing them to controlled smoke and the combs are scraped off wax seals to collect honey.

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Sahyadri Conservation Series 19 2012 The composition of honey depends on several factors like floral source, composition of nectar(s), climatic conditions, beekeeping practices and method of harvesting and processing. The nectars from different plants vary widely in the type and concentrations of their sugars. The total sugar content in the nectars varies from 20 to 40%. There are three patterns of sugar compositions found in the plant species such as high sucrose nectar, high glucose and fructose nectar and nectar with equal amounts of fructose, glucose and sucrose. For instance, the nectar of alfalfa has high sucrose while that of Brassica sp., has high concentration of glucose. Trifolium sp., contains more fructose than glucose whereas the nectars of legumes have equal proportions of the three sugars (Manjunath, 1999). Beyond sugars, honey contains numerous compounds such as organic acids, proteins, amino acids, minerals, polyphenols, vitamins and aromatics.

The physico-chemical composition of Indian honey has been studied extensively by several workers (Singh and Bath, 1997; Manjunath, 1999; Joshi, et al., 2000; Bogdanov, et al., 2008: Basavarajappa, et al., 2010; Kaur, et al., 2010). Balasubramanyam, (2011) studied important chemical parameters of honey samples of three different bee species from Uttara Kannada (Table: 1.1). Nanda et al. (2003) studied the physico-chemical properties and estimated the mineral content of honey collected from different parts of northern India. Similarly mineral variations of honey from different districts of Western Ghats, in Karnataka were studied by Balasubramanyam and Reddy (2011). Joshi et al. (1998) have made mellito-palynological investigations on Apis and Trigona honey collected in and around Pune.

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Sahyadri Conservation Series 19 2012 Table 1.1: Chemical characteristics of honey1 from Uttara Kannada district. (Source: Balasubramanyam, 2011)

Sn

Parameters

A.dorsata A.cerana

A.florea

F-ratio

1

Moisture (%)

21.45

20.87

18.64

7.10*

2

Total reducing sugar (%) 76.69

73.65

73.22

5.96*

3

Laevulose (%)

40.15

39.75

39.01

3.14**

4

Dextrose (%)

36.54

33.90

34.21

1.72**

5

L/D ratio

1.098

1.17

1.14

0.145+

6

Non reducing sugar (%)

3.85

2.70

3.08

1.05**

7

Ash (%)

1.49

1.22

1.12

0.732**

8

Acidity (%)

0.503

0.418

0.371

0.012+

9

pH

4.85

4.01

3.73

0.621**

(1= Sample size (39), * Significant at p
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