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[Apiculture]

INTRODUCTION

Apiculture or beekeeping is defined as the rearing of bees for the purpose of obtaining honey. Professionally, it is taken up under management practices for obtaining not only honey but also for other hive products like bees wax, propolis, pollen, royal jelly and bee venom, which has many industrial uses with high market demand. Honey bee belongs to the family Apidae. There are more than 20,000 species found all over the world. Honey bees are one of the most valuable insects for mankind; they produce honey, enhance production and also sustain plant biodiversity through their pollinating services.In the course of collecting nectar and pollen for their honey, bees are found to be pollinating more than 90% of the worlds flowering plants. Thus, they are one of natures best agriculturist and mankinds best friend. Beekeeping is a rewarding occupation for many people. It requires minimal investment yet generally yields profits from the first year of operation. It is not time consuming like other livelihood activities and can be easily taken up as a side activity by farmers to get an additional income. Nagaland has a long tradition of beekeeping and honey hunting. Because of the states rich floral resources, it provides ample scope for variety of bee species to thrive and thus be a provider of honey to niche markets.

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ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OF HONEYBEE Beekeeping is simply rearing of bees for obtaining honey and other hive products such as bee wax, pollen, propolis, royal jelly and bee venom, which has many industrial uses with high market demands. The different uses of bee products are given as below: a) Honey: It is a product of nectar which is collected by the bees from flower. It is a food with high nutritional and medicinal properties. b) Bees wax: It is a valuable product derived from the honey comb. It has more than 300 industrial uses mainly in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, varnishes, etc. c) Pollen: It is a grain of flowers collected by the bees which contain all 22 amino acids, vitamins, minerals and enzymes. It has high food value. d) Propolis: Propolis/honey glue is a resinous sticky substance used to seal cracks in their dwellings. Bees use it as a disinfectant. They are used against a number of fungi, viruses and bacteria, digestive tract ulcers, dental care, etc. e) Royal jelly: It is a creamy liquid produced and secreted by the bees that is fed to young larvae. It is collected and sold as a dietary supplement, which has many health benefits. It is also used in cosmetic products. f) Bee venom: It is a bitter, colourless liquid released through its sting. Apitherapy, whichutilizes bee venom, is used in the treatment of many ailments including arthritis, rheumatism and diseases of nervous disorders.

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Scope and opportunities of Apiculture in Nagaland The entire state of Nagaland is ideal for bee-keeping due to favorable climate and vast foraging area. People of the state have rich traditional knowledge and practices of beekeeping. There is abundant availability of timber and skilled local carpenters for making bee boxes (hives). Can produce natural and organic honey to meet the ever increasing market demand. Beekeeping is simple and easy. It does not require special expertise and can be taken up as a profession by people of all ages. Beekeeping does not require extra space. It can be reared along field crops, plantations, orchards etc. Beekeeping improves the quality of fruits, vegetables, seeds and increases the yield manifold. Thus, ensuring food security and enhancing farm income. By incorporating scientific knowledge and merging it with traditional knowledge, beekeeping may be a lucrative business, providing employment to rural masses and enhancing income. Beekeeping also creates opportunity for cottage industry such as bee box making, beekeeping tools and equipments, wax/candle making, packing materials, etc.

Types of honey bees Bees are the most fascinating social insects that live in colonies. They have a highly organized system of division of labour.Honeybees depend upon the pollen and nectar from flowering plants for their food. To produce one pound of honey, bees collect nectar from millions of flowers. They are responsible for pollinating a variety of fruits, legumes, vegetables, etc. Honey bees are unique in the sense that they can be reared without being fed by us unlike other domesticated animals and in return they do things that are very beneficial to human beings and the environment. In the bee genus Apis, there are four true honeybee species known all over the world. They are Apis cerana, Apis dorsata, Apis florea and Melipona species. There are four different species available in Nagaland. They are: 1) Apis dorsata 2) Apis indica 3) Apis florea 4) Melipona spp.

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Brief description on rearing of the bee species in Nagaland is given below: 1. Apis dorsata(Rock bee): It is found in all parts of India and big in size to another bee measuring 20mm in length. It is a very good honey gatherer. It builds a single huge comb at the face of a rock, on branches of big trees and sometimes on walls and buildings. They are migratory in nature. In winter they migrate to hills and come back to plains during summer. Each colony of bee is capable of storing 20-40kg honey. 2. Apis indica (Indian bee): This bee is found everywhere in India. It can be domesticated. They are about 15mm in length. They like to live in dark places, therefore establish their comb in closed covered places such as hallowedtree trunks, burrows in the ground, hallowed places in walls, unused boxes etc. On an average 3-4kg honey is found from a comb annually. 3. Apis florea (Little bee): This is smaller than the Indian bee and found everywhere in India. It does not like darkness, therefore, forms its comb in the open place example, in the bushes, corners of roof. It builds a single comb which is very small and only 250gm honey is obtained at a time. The honey produced by them is the sweetest one. 4.Melipona spp: This is the smallest species and differs from the other bees in its external appearance as well as in habits. They do not have sting. Generallythey built their comb in hallow walls or tree trunk. Very little amount of honey is obtained from their combs. BEE COLONY- VARIOUS CASTES AND THEIR ACTIVITIES Caste/colony organization:A bee colony consists of a queen, several drones, thousands of workers and brood which are the eggs, larvae and pupae in different stages of development. The 3 castes of bees are inter-dependent on one another for their existence. A brief description of their organization is mentioned below: Queen: The queen is the mother of the colony and largest in size among the three castes. She has a long tapering abdomen with shorter wings. About a week after emergence from her cell, on a calm sunny day, the queen mates with several drones (10-20) in midair. After mating, her whole life is spent laying eggs. The life span of a Queen is 3-5 years. Her main role in the colony is thus to sustain the population and control the colony through pheromones or queen substance, which gets transmitted to all the other bees while coming in contact with her.

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Drone: The drone is the laziest of the three. In size, they are stouter and larger than worker bees. The function of the drone is to impregnate the new queen in the air. Once they mate, they tend to die. If they do not mate, they may live for 45-60 days.Dueto their short tongue reach, they are totally dependent on the food stored in the hive. Therefore, their presence in the hive seems less important to the beekeeper. Worker bees: Worker bees are undeveloped females which are responsible for the maintenance and the welfare of the colony. They build combs, collect nectar, pollen, water and propolis. They also defend the colony besides nursing of brood and queen. Worker bees live for 5-7 weeks during active season. They can survive upto 24-26 weeks during the lean season.

Queen lay eggs

Egg + Sperm

Egg only no sperm msprm Unfertilized Egg

Fertilized egg

Female bee

Male bee

Hatches to be a larva

Hatches to be a larva

Fed only royal jelly

Fed a little royal jelly and then fed beebread

Fed a little royal jelly and then fed beebread

QUEEN

WORKER

DRONE

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Fig2.1: Life history of bees

Fig2.2: diagram of various caste in a colony

APIARY SITE SELECTION a) Area with abundant flora and natural colonies: An ideal apiary should be set up in areas where there are abundant unifloral or multifloral pollen and nectar bearing plants that bloom year round. For optimum production of honey and increment in bee colonies, it is preferred to set up ones apiary in forested areas instead of nearby human settlements. b) Water: Nurse bees use lots of water to regulate optimum temperature inside the hive during summer artificial water source should be managed if natural sources are scarce or not available.

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c) Accessibility: The apiary should be well connected by road for transportation of boxes or any other materials and finished products, but one should not keep boxes where stationary or mobile objects may cause disturbances in their flight path. Hive arrangement and spacing: The hive arrangement would depend on the availability of space. It is not a good practice to keep hives in rows and in one direction. Hives should be atleast 2m apart with 34m gap between the rows. Placing hives facing in different directions in groups of four is a suitable arrangement if space is a constraint. Density of hives: Overstocking of bee colonies reduces honey production. Under a very good floral condition, apiaries can be set up at about 1km apart. Four hives per hectare area is advisable for effective pollination. Temperature: Wind breaks or artificial structures give protection against cold wind during winter. During monsoon and summer season, artificial shade should be provided to keep the bees safe from the scorching sun. Selection of stock: It is done to start new colony from an existing one by division, transfer of newly mated healthy queen or brood from a strong colony showing traits of steadiness, cleanliness, gentleness and resistance to diseases. Best time for beekeeping: It is best to start beekeeping in the active season i.e. when sufficient flora is available because during good floral conditions, the new beekeepers will face least management problem.

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TOOLS AND EQUIPMENTS The tools and equipments required for beekeeping are: 1. Bee box: It is a movable wooden home for bees with an entrance and parallel movable frames on which bees raise combs. It provides protection to the colony front, adverse environment and various intruders including enemies. The important parts of the hive are bottom/floor board with alighting board, entrance, lower/ brood chamber, frames, dummy board, super/honey chamber, inner cover (crown board) and top cover (root). Floor board: 14 x 91/2 in size with an extension in front which serves as an alighting board. Brood chamber: -93/4 x 81/4 x 63/4 in size with an entrance slit of 31/2 x 3/8 at the base; it is mounted over the floor board. Wooden frames: Seven separate wooden frames 81/4 x 53/4 x6 in size and 7/8 broad: they are hung inside the brood chamber. Super chamber: 93/4 X 81/4 X31/8 in size: it is kept over the brood chamber. Top cover: It is board having same dimensions of brood or super chamber. In the centre there is an opening covered with wire gauge. It is kept on super or brood chamber. 2. Bee veil: A protective gear used during colony inspection to protect the beekeeper from bee stings on the face and neck. 3. Swarm bag: It is used to capture swarm bees from the forest to start a new bee colony. It is usually made of nylon/cotton material and open at one side and cylindrical in shape. 4. Smoker: A metal container with attached bellows to generate smoke.It is used to control aggressive behavior of bees during colony inspection. Materials like dried leaves, cotton cloth, etc can be used to burn the smoker. 5. Brush: It is used to brush off bees from their comb for easy hive operation and also for cleaning the hive. The tip of the brush must be soft enough to protect the bees and not injure them. 6. Queen excluder: It is a perforated sheet of zinc or round wires assembled together and 3.75 mm apart. It is used to prevent the queen from moving up to the super chamber/combs and laying eggs. 7. Uncapping knife: A stainless steel knife used for uncapping the sealed wax capping of ripe honey prior to extraction. The knife may be gently heated in hot water, steam, burning charcoal or electricity to facilitate easier, precise and clean cutting of the wax.

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8. Honey extractor: It is used for extraction of honey from the honey frames. The honey comb is whirled in a cage enclosed in a container and honey is thrown out through centrifugal force. 9. Queen cage: It is used to cage the queen bee temporarily during hive operation. It is used while transferring, uniting and division of bee colonies. 10. Gloves: It is a protective hand glove used while operating a bee colony. 11. Nucleus box: A small box with 4 brood frames used for starting a new colony and for easy transportation of bee colonies. MANAGEMENT OF BEE COLONIES The key to successful beekeeping involves the right and timely management practices. It is very important that one should know the behaviour of bees and operate upon them accordingly. It is always wise to start with a few bee colonies and increase the number as one gains experience. Hive operation: The most ideal time to inspect or operate upon hives is when the day is calm and steady, either in morning or evening before sunset. Apiary management: Timely management is the key to success in beekeeping. All beekeeping activities are well if the management of the apiary is not properly maintained. Bees need to be protected from extreme weather conditions, cared for dearth period and protected from pests, diseases and their natural enemies. Apiary management can be broadly categorized into two; routine management and seasonal management. a) Routine management: This involves the regular care and maintenance of beehives for consistent occupation of bees in the hives by making them comfortable and protecting them from natural enemies. Colony record: A record chart is maintained and entered fortnight of ones visit to each hive. Record keeping should include information or performance of the respective colonies like date of inspection, no of combs with brood and bees, cleanliness, pollen store, disease and pest, etc.

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General inspection: Bee colonies are inspected for their general condition and it is customary to observe brood rearing, swarming tendency, strength of the colony and build up combs, etc. b)Seasonal management: The seasonal management for beekeeping is determined by the 3 main cycles or seasons that honeybees go through i.e. growth period, honey flow period and dearth period. (i)Growth period: This is the period when natural multiplication of bee colonies takes place. The key management during this growth period is firstly looking for signs of swarming and controlling it and secondly, bee colonies can be divided for increasing the number of colonies in ones apiary. ii) Honey flow period: Management during this period includes the following: Keeping bee colonies in floral areas like orchards, vegetable gardens, plantation areas, etc. The colonies should be kept very strong. If it is weak, it should be untied for optimum production. Queen excluder should be placed. Queen gate should be left open during this period. Migration of colonies to different flowering crops to increase honey yield is also done.

iii) Dearth period: A period of time when there is no available forage for bees, due to weather conditions (rain, drought) or time of year. Management during this period includes: Entrance of the hive should be reduced depending on the intensity of the dearth. Bottom board should be cleaned periodically. Migration to forage site is advisable if possible. Colonies should be protected from pests and predators. Artificial may be provided depending on the floral source near the apiary.

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Fig2.3: Floral calendar of honeybee in Nagaland

Harvest and post-harvest management of honey Honey is always harvested from the ripe honey combs of the super chamber. During honey flow period, if atleast 80% of the comb in a frame is fully capped by a thin layer of wax, honey can be harvested. Uncapping and extraction of honey: A thin wax layer covering ripe honey is sliced off from a comb and removed before extraction the help of a stainless steel knife. Avoid deep cuts as this may damage the combs. The uncapped combs are put into the extractor and extracted by gently rotating the hand. Manual processing filtration: Filtration is done through sieves of different sizes to remove foreign matters such as pollen grains, dead bees, dust particles, etc present in the honey. Honey can be filtered by using filter materials like fine mesh nylon, muslin cloth, etc.

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Indirect heating of honey: Inorder to destroy the yeast cells to avoid fermentation and to reduce the cohesive form of honey, it is indirectly heated to 60-65C for 15 minutes excessive heating for a long time and repeated heating of honey decomposes fructose resulting into formation of hydroxylmethyl-furfural (HMF). Storage of honey: Honey even if of very high quality if not properly stored will get spoiled. Honey should always be stored in food grade stainless steel containers or in food grade Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) plastic containers or uncoated tinned containers. Honey stored at 0C for 5 weeks and then at 14C has shown no granulation up to 2 years. Packaging of honey: Processed honey should be packed in clean, clear and transport bottle. PVC bottle is more preferable than glass bottle.

Labeling of honey bees: General information is labeled as per the specifications of AGMARK. Declaration of no additives. Vegetative logo to be displayed. Bar coding may be given. Maximum 30% of the bottle should be covered by the package. Certificate of quality.

DISEASES AND PEST OF BEES Diseases of honey bees: Like any other living organism, honeybees are also no exception to infestation of diseases and pests. Generally it is infected with viral diseases like Thai sac brood and pests like varroa mites, tropileaps, wax moth etc, leading to decrease of colonies and acts as a menace causing the colonies to either die or abscond. However this threat can be prevented by keeping the colonies invariably clean and strong.The bees also suffer nosema, acarinesepticaemia and amoeba, fungus and paralysis diseases. Due to these diseases, they are unable to fly, crawl on the ground, climb on grasses and collect in small groups in front of the comb.

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Prevention and control of diseases: Keep colonies strong and check on robbing and absconding. Disinfect bee equipments by soaking in a solution of soap-formalin for 24 hours. Feed Oxytetracycline in powdered sugar to prevent infections. Making colony queenless for 2-3 weeks to allow bees to clean infected brood and requeening later.

Common pests and predators of honey bees: The following are the important predators of honey bees: 1. Wax moth: The caterpillars of these moths make silken tunnels in the comb under the cover of which they feed upon the bee wax. 2. Sphingid moth: It is called as honey robber. It sucks the honey from the comb with the help of proboscis. 3. Black ant: Troublesome they also eat honey from the comb and particularly after the rain. 4. Wasp: They act as predator of bees at the entrance of hive or in the fields. 5. Birds: The green bee-eater and the king crow catch the bees during flight and eat them. Protection measures of honey bees from predators: The entrance door should be so small so that robber bees may not enter. The combs should not be left open to protect them from wax moths. If there is an attack ,wax should be removed and bees should be provided with new comb The bees suffering from paralysis should be destroyed and spraying of sulphur may be done on the comb. The following mixture maybe used in case of bees suffering from acarine: Safrole oil: 1 part

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Nitrobenzene: 2 parts Petrol: 3 parts. Scare the birds in the apiary. Place the hive under a thick canopy of trees. Attend the hives regularly. Infected combs should be destroyed. Regular inspection of the hives.

CONCLUSION Nagaland with a total geographical area of 16,579sq.km has a unique distinction of being one of the botanical hot-spot regions of India. Its total forested area is home to a myriad of plant species and perennial flowering plants that offers a veritable utopia for the bees. Many different species of bees and wasps has established a unique ecological niche for themselves in the temperate and semi-tropical mountainous terrain of Nagaland. Beekeeping offers tremendous potential for employment generation for the unemployed and the landless poor as it can be easily adopted with little investment and simple technology. Nagaland beekeeping and Honey Mission (NBHM) was set up Government of Nagaland in 2007 to implement policies and programmes for promotion and development of beekeeping in the state by encouraging scientific practices and value-addition by creating awareness and imparting training for skill and knowledge. NBHM facilitate infrastructure, common facility centre, build buildings for meeting and honey processing centre, bee trade centre, etc. At present, Nagaland is producing 380 metric tonnes of honey annually and has set a target of 20,000 metric tonnes by 2020. Nagaland has a great has a great scope for beekeeping due to its rich vegetation and forest cover and progress in beekeeping is positive. The concept of honeybees beyond honey make bee keepings future prospect very high in the increasingly demand driven world market. PLACE AND DURATION RAWE PROGRAMME: The theoretical portion of Honeybee keeping was given by Nagaland Beekeeping and Honey Mission (NBHM), Government of Nagaland, from 23-26th April, 2013 at Dimapur following which inspection and monitoring of bee colonies along with the NBHM Team members was done.

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Photo gallery

(a) Apis florea

(b) Apis dorsata

(c) Apis cerana

(d) Melipona species

(e) Bee wax

(f) Tools & equipments

(g) Honey processing plant

(h) Interaction with the Team leader

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