Tag Archives: Apis mellifera

More than just Honey: The challenges of Indian Agriculture

7 Mar

Flipping through the Indian Express a couple of days ago, I came across an article titled ‘More than just Honey‘, concerning honey bees in Punjab. The headline immediately reminded me of the movie ‘More than Honey.’ A little bit of history to understand the context of this article. The Punjab university was the first to introduce the Apis mellifera species to India in the 70’s. The article focused on the fact that honey bees provide a host of livelihoods options, apart from the obvious economic benefit from honey production. The article stressed that by breeding queens, harvesting royal jelly, recolting propolis it will bring an easy livelihoods to the farmers but could has as well a negative effect.

My concern is with India’s agriculture already heavily industrialized soon we will be in the same situation than the US where honey bees are being over stressed. By not working in symbiosis anymore with the bees, by adding already made bee wax sheet, by over selecting the best queens, and pumping the bees with antibiotics  we are ensuring that the breed is weakening and more vulnerable. If the government continues on, soon the Apis mellifera of India will disappear and will be affected by Colony Collapse Disorder. This aggressive industrialization of Apis mellifera will eventually force the beekeeper to revert back to the practice of working with Apis cerana. Asian bees are more adapted to this climate and require minimal management.

People seems to have forgotten that the main role of honey bees is the pollination of crops which link to food supply. Without them, the farmers will have an inferior yield, a lower market as well as less nutritional value as it has been proven that due to the presence of honey bees yields increase from 30 to 200%. We at ApiAnon see at as an integral function of our little friends, more so than the mass production of honey. We wish to create awareness on this situation and highlight the plight of our little friends.