Tag Archives: Apiculture

May 2013: Meet Killo Ananth

17 May

Recently, on a visit to a new village, I came across an interesting man named Killo Ananth. I wish to introduce this remarkable man to you guys.

Ananth Killo

The 58-year old Ananth was an animal hunter till he was around 35.

“Killing animals for a living was easy money but not giving anything back to the forest began  feeling wrong” he told us. This is when he took up farming.

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On his plantation you can find a diverse array of plants: Jack fruits, mango, banana, lemon, sweet orange, guava, neem, pongamia, soap nuts, all kind of vegetables and many others.

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Three years ago, he noticed his cousin’s neighbor practicing beekeeping. At first it was a child-like curiosity which soon turned to genuine interest for beekeeping. He began going about his business by borrowing a hive from his neighbor. A year later, he replicated 2 hives by himself. Last year he made 2 more hives. He now has a total of 5 hives with colonies. Over the past 6 months, his bees produced 36 kilo of honey. He made a special trip to Hyderabad in order to gain some insight and get some formal training on beekeeping. He learned everything from observing his acquaintances. For example how to extract the honey, he will use a vessel and make it spin.

Ananth&hiveHe dreams to have around 20 hives and live from apiculture activity. He tried to convince his neighbors to invest with him but no one was interested. After observing his hives and discussing with him, I noticed that he falls a bit short of knowledge on techniques in beekeeping. So we will give him technical support and the 15 hives he is missing. I do think that when we find people with such motivation and passion, it can only benefit to help them.

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April 2013: A new worker bee joins the hive

10 May

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We welcome our new worker bee, Govardhan, who joined the buzz last month. While he may not know much about beekeeping, he’s a fast learner and is extremely capable when it comes to community mobilization. We’re glad to have him on board.

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We selected 14 new beneficiaries from M.Gonduru village. At current we’ve distributed 3 hives in the village and within a week’s time, they were filled with colonies. Meet 2 of our new beekeepers: Devi and Parvati!

Monitoring of other colonies is also underway:
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RamaRao was part of our pilot, he joined the program in October 2012. His colony is now well established and it should start producing honey in the next 3 months.

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To produce one pounds of honey, honey bees need to travel an average of  55,000 miles/ need to visit 2 million flower. You can understand the value of a drop of honey for them!

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New comb being made by the honey bees. The honey bees are real engineers!It has been proven by mathematicians that making the cells into hexagons is the most efficient shape!

“The comb and the wax from which it is constructed are not entirely produced by the bees but also an inseparate part of their lives”-Jurgen Tautz

Timeline 2012

9 Jan

Introduction

Kotagiri, Tamil Nadu, India

Kotagiri, Tamil Nadu, India

The buzz began in Kotagiri with the able guidance of the Keystone foundation.

Cupid’s arrow struck me in the form of my first bee sting, and there was no looking back from there. I just knew what I wanted to do.

First meeting with Apis cerana introduced by Leo Robert

First meeting with Apis cerana introduced by Leo Robert

It was here that my interest in Indian honey bees came to life. During my time at the foundation I learnt the basic beekeeping practices and guidelines to follow.

My interaction with the Keystone foundation was crucial in developing my understanding of apiculture and best practices to follow whilst implementing the same.

Region of Araku valley

The scenic valley

After reading boatloads of documentation on honey bees we initiated our project in the emerald-green Araku Valley in A.P., with Naandi foundation. The Pollinator Project focuses on the domestication of the indigenous Asiatic honey bees Apis cerana.

The chief goal of the project is to train women farmers in various beekeeping methods and encourage other women to do the same.

July 2012 

10 First beneficiaries

The first 10 beneficiaries

5 villages from the area were selected to be a part of the Apiculture project. Each village has seen two horticulture farmers nominated.
10 farmers have been chosen for the job including 8 women. We distributed the first hive received from the good folks at the Keystone.

An happy beneficiary receiving her first hive

A happy beneficiary receiving her first hive

In addition to this we’re providing the selected apiculturists basic training and an understanding of how to go about beekeeping as efficiently as possible. We hope to see them imbibe the importance of honey bees in agriculture and embrace their role as pollinators.

August 2012

Training with one of our beekeeper

Training with one of our beekeepers

Only one of our new beekeepers was able to capture a colony and house them successfully in his hive. The others absconded, a common response for Indian bees.  The Indian monsoons are the worst season to capture a colony as the majority of the bees have migrated.

October 2012

Newton hive made by our local carpenter

Newton hive made by our local carpenter

A local carpenter has been trained to replicate the newton hive, the hive used by Indian bees.

November 2012

Sunshine returns, and along with it the honey bees make their way back! Hives are buzzing with activity. The beekeepers are in the process of completing their training.

We are teaching them how to extract wax from the old combs and make candles. Wax candles are a great source of light for them. They are cost-effective, natural and easy to make. In certain villages in the area (where electricity lines have not even been installed) even the light luminance of a candle can be of great use.

December 2012

First honey of Araku Region prepared by misses A.c

First honey of Araku Region prepared by misses A.c

The hives are being filled; the total stands at about 7 colonies now.

New beneficiaries are joining the activity of beekeeping. It’s encouraging to see the local women keenly seeking to learn about and practice apiculture.

Also our first hive had the super (honey portion) added to it, and in a matter of a couple weeks, it’s chock-full of honey.Our first harvest is just around the corner!

The Sun Hive

The Sun Hive

Saved the best for the last! The highlight of the month is the arrival of the first sun hive in India. The shape of the hive harmonizes with the movement patterns of the bee colony and enables the bees to design their brood nests according to their own innate criteria.