Tag Archives: Natural beekeeping

March 2013: Bee Aware

10 Apr

BD tof 1bd tofI was recently invited to a Biodynamic training workshop in Bangalore. The workshop which was held at Lifeboat farm in south east end of the city, was attended by around 30 people from across the country. I presented a lecture on the practical aspect of natural Beekeeping.  It was a joy to present for such a receptive and aware audience. All willing to be part of the solution and have fun in the process. Our friend and ally Briony who bought us back the first Sunhive in India (given by the Natural beekeeping trust) was in attendance and explained it’s advantages to one and all.
camphill.tiffOn the third day Briony and myself were invited to a place called Friends of Camphill, a community where  people with disabilities can learn to live with their limitations. We spoke briefly about bees to a very eager and interested group. It was a memorable experience for them and for us.
Our objective was spread as much awareness about the  challenges bees and the beekeeping community faces today. I think this was goal was more than achieved, the interest we had garnered for beekeeping was evidently clear.

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Back to the valley now, where new beekeepers (about 30) have begun building shelters for their future bees. As you can see, we tried to replicate the same style across shelters using bamboo and straw. This time we made individual shelters.

 

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The roof has been made in this shape to keep the water from stagnating. In our previous shelters the roof was flat and we faced minor issues during monsoons. In this way we  wont have the problem of water stagnating. Newton hives are being built locally and soon will be distributed to them.

burned shelterAt present conditions aren’t particularly conducive for the bees. It is extremely hot and really dry to boot. We are encouraging our beekeepers to assure that the bees have a source of water near by. When I say hot I’m not kidding, recently, one of our shelters started burning but fortunately the bees were well protected in their shelter and were not harmed at all! Thank god for that.

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February 2013: Meet our actual Queen Bees

8 Mar

After two fruitful weeks spent in the field, I am back to update you guys on the pollinator program. On the event of International Women’s Day I’m proud to say we’ve received a great response from the maidens of Araku, both young and old. At the moment we are expanding the program to 4 villages. These 2 last weeks, we focused on community mobilisation, which is crucial for a successful program.

women

M.Gondhuru

New Beneficiaries

Our pollinator program team went to these 4 villages to introduce the program. Interested persons came forward. For example, in Kodaput village, 12 women joined our beekeeper family.  We’ve seen women across ages, mothers, sisters and even grand mothers enthusiastic to join us. I must admit, even I was taken aback at seeing a dozen ladies united in their interest for apiculture.
Encouraging women is a priority in this program and it is such a joy to see so many women coming forward. I can’t seem to say this enough but beekeeping is the perfect activity for these tribeswomen. We do our best to place the hives near their house, ensuring that it does not become too time-consuming an activity whilst ensuring safety as it is in the vicinity of their own village.

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Tene Tigalu project

A science fair was organised by Naandi foundation in some schools of the region. I assisted a group of Nanhi Kalis in preparing their project. And the subject was Tene Tigalu meaning honey bees. The three girls were really eager to learn. They learnt about natural beekeeping. On the day of the science fair they explained to visitors the importance of honeybees as pollinators and why we should respect them. They won third place at the fair.

First natural division

21 Feb 2013Our first established colony is ready for its first natural division. In the last picture you can clearly see the queen cell (Bottom Left).  In a matter of a few days the old queen will swarm with about half of the workers of the colony and leave the new queen to reign supreme in her colony. Swarming is the natural way of reproduction of honey bee colonies.

For the more trained eye, it’s a full frame, this hive was ordered from outside. We are now making it locally using top bars.