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BEEKEEPING & AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTIVITY

ROLE OF BEEKEEPING WITH


INDIGENOUS BEE-APIS CERANA
IN CROP PRODUCTION











This study has been supported by EdelGive Foundation. Started formally in 2008, EdelGive
Foundation provides strategic direction to the philanthropic activities of Edelweiss and its employees.
EdelGive's mission is to leverage the resources and skills of the for-profit world to empower social
entrepreneurs and organizations focusing on the areas of education, livelihoods and women
empowerment. Read more at www.edelgive.org





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Contents
Preface

Foreword

Acknowledgment

Chapter 1

Title and Abstract
The Apis group
Background of the project Need
for the current study
Background of the study area
Aim and Objectives
Materials and Methods
Time line of the study

Chapter 2

Observations: Activity of bees in Bee Boxes
1. Bee Activity in Bee boxes
2. Pollen load and nectar load collection
3. Out-going trips of Apis cerana during various months
4. Arrival of bees with Pollen load during the months studied 5.
Arrival of bees with Nectar load during the months studied
6. Foraging behavior at various study locations

Chapter 3

Observations: Insect visits and composition on floral Quadrats
1. Pollinator Activity and Foraging
2. Composition of insects on floral Quadrat
3. Number of Apis cerana visits on floral quadrats
4. Favorable plants for Apis cerana

Chapter 4

Observations: Crop productivity
1. Productivity increase in areas with bee box
2. Number of bee visits and Productivity:

Chapter 5

Key findings and discussion
Important outcomes of the study
Limitations of the study
Future prospects
Bibliography
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Preface
Under The Mango Tree works with small and marginal farmers in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya
Pradesh through its Bees for Poverty Reduction (BPR) programme to increase incomes and agricultural productivity
through beekeeping with the indigenous bee Apis cerana indica.

The genesis of this strategy was the need to diversify livelihoods, create much needed income among tribals and
marginalized sections of society.


What makes the model different is the key focus areas:

Training at village level over a 12 month period of hand holding and support to incorporate
local flora, seasonal management crucial for successful beekeeping
Creating local cadre of Master Trainers to facilitate scaling up
Creating long term, sustainable market linkages for the honey and beeswax produced by the
farmer

The Bees for Poverty Reduction strategy began as a pilot in partnership with BAIF DHRUVA and BAIF MITTRA in South
Gujarat and Maharashtra in 2009. Bees were not new to tribals in these areas who were familiar with honey hunting.
What was new was that bees could be domesticated: live in a box, yield honey and more importantly, contribute
to agricultural yields of wadis and local crops.

In the course of our trainings, we learnt that many farmers were seeing a bee box for the first time; many refused to
believe that bees would actually live in the boxes. As farmers began keeping bee boxes, they slowly but surely began
making the leap of faith. Today there is the firm belief that beekeeping will flourish in these areas.

Anecdotal evidence about the impact of beekeeping on cucumbers, other locally grown vegetables and fruits began
to be reported in 2010. In order to quantify this impact, a rapid impact assessment survey was undertaken in
Dharampur taluk of Dist Valsad (Gujarat) between September 2010 and April 2011 with the support of EdelGive
Foundation, Mumbai.


Some other reasons that pointed to the need for the study were:

Existing research in India on agricultural productivity and beekeeping was concentrated in
northern India (Bihar, Western UP) and largely related to the hybrid bee used by commercial
beekeepers (Apis mellifera)
Focus on small/margial farmers and crops important to them such as niger, pulses, oilseeds,
other fruits and vegetables was a key missing factor.


This study was the first step towards exploring answers to the following questions:

Does beekeeping using the indigenous A.cerana play any role in crop
production of crops in the study area?
What is the impact of beekeeping with A.cerana on seed/fruit production?



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The study incorporated common crops that were cultivated and harvested during the study phase and
was carried out with the help of local field officers between September 2010 to April 2011 at 7 locations in 3
villages of Valsad (4 localities with beeboxes and 3 without bee boxes). 14 local field investigators were trained to
collect data on various parameters like pollinator visits in flowering quadrates, activity of bees in bee boxes and
weekly harvest / productivity of the quadrates.

This study has thrown up extremely interesting results. As Prof M.C.Suryanarayana (the well known scientist
and expert on pollination) points out in the Foreword, the study is perhaps the first in the country to assess, in
field conditions, the value of pollination in crop production.

The findings show that 15 plants showed a considerable increase in productivity as compared to farms with no bee
boxes. The productivity of Niger, an essential crop for farmers' incomes, increased by 60%. Important cash crops in
the region such as cashew and mango also showed productivity increases of upto 157% and 68% due to
beekeeping. Other crops that showed significant productivity increases were pigeon pea, flat beans, chick pea,
tomato, banana and papaya. This indicates the potential for small farmers to increase their incomes through
beekeeping.

More importantly, this study points to the need to undertake a larger study which will yield findings that can be
published in academic and other fora.

EdelGive Foundation has been a very farsighted donor in recognizing the need for a study of this kind. We would like to
thank Vidya Shah, Aditi Thorat, Ekta Chheda, Tessy Mathew for their unstinted support and encouragement.

Prof.M.C.Suryanarayana (former Director, CBRTI, Pune) has written the Foreword and been a mentor to us, ever since
we started our work with Apis cerana in the BPR programme. He has freely given us the benefit of his vast
experience and immense scholarship in the area. We have made frequent demands on his time and in spite of all his
other commitments, he has always been there for us, answering our numerous queries with patience. We owe
a debt of gratitude to him.

Dr.R.C.Mishra (former Executive Director, National Bee Board and former Project Coordinator, National Project on
Bees and Pollination, ICAR) has also given us the benefit of his vast library, taking the trouble to photocopy and send us
relevant articles on the subject. He also spent a great of his time and energy in going through the study and giving his
comments. Our sincere thanks to him.

Hemant Tripathi, the researcher of the study, took up the study and completed it with zeal and
commitment. He has always put in extra efforts beyond the call of duty, be it in training local researchers or
documenting various aspects of the study. This study would not have seen the light of day if not for his efforts.

Colleagues at DHRUVA, especially Shri.J.H.Mori, Chief Programme Coordinator, Shri Babubhai Patel. Beekeeping
Anchor and Shri Manilal Vaghera, Field Staff, Pindwal cluster have worked shoulder to shoulder with us in
establishing beekeeping in the area. They have given their unstinted support in this study also and taken a personal
interest in its completion.


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Sujana Krishnamoorthy, Programme Leader, UTMT Society lead this study. The team: Bhumika Tulalwar,
Programme Officer and Sachin Dhavle, Programme Associate fine tuned various aspects of the study and brought a lot
of their passion and commitment for the programme into ensuring that this study was completed on time and
efficiently.

Kejal Doshi has designed the cover and the pages of the study. Thank you Kejal for your patience and effort.

The findings of this study point to the need for a larger study across various geographies to conclusively prove the
benefits that low cost beekeeping can have for the small/marginal farmer. Such a study would be a very useful tool
in policy formulation and give beekeeping with Apis cerana the importance it deserves in India.
Vijaya Pastala


President





































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Foreword
The honey bee species Apis cerana is a source of honey and other bee products that add to the income,
nutrition and medicine of the tribal, poor and marginalized farmers and their families in Asia. In addition to
providing honey, beeswax, etc., the bees play an important role in pollination of crops and like wild bees, they
pollinate native plant species and thus help in maintaining local biodiversity.

In its efforts to create sustainable livelihoods through management of available resources, Under The Mango
Tree (UTMT) added beekeeping to the basket of activities in a few villages of southwest Gujarat with predominantly
tribal population. The organization took a wise decision to utilize the indigenous honey bee for this enterprise. In
order to educate and create awareness of the importance of beekeeping among the farmers, it was necessary to
understand and create the necessary knowledge base on the impact of keeping bees on the production of local
crops.

A range of studies in different parts of the world have shown that pollination makes a very significant
contribution to the agricultural production of a broad range of crops, in particular fruits, vegetables, fibre crops
and nuts. However, in India with its vast variety of climates and flora and fauna, our understanding of the role of
insect pollinators in crop production is negligible. In several cultivated regions of India decreasing pollinator
populations is a cause for concern and measures to offset this trend include keeping honey bees.

UTMT took up a pioneering study to assess the benefit of keeping bees on pollination and fruit / seed set in the field.
Though quite preliminary in nature the study did show increase in production of several crops ranging from about
25 per cent to above 225 per cent. If the farmers are convinced of this benefit, they would not hesitate in taking up
beekeeping.

There are no standardized methods for assessing pollinator diversity and role of pollination in crop production.
The UTMT study is perhaps the first in the country to assess, in the field conditions, the value of pollination in crop
production. The procedure followed and the results obtained in the study provide valuable guidelines for further
studies in different agricultural regions of the country.

In any field of enterprise, particularly in exploring the unknown, the first step taken is always the best and
constitutes the foundation for progress. UTMT deserves praise in initiating exploratory work in both apiculture
development and crop production in non-traditional areas of the country.


October 6, 2011
Chennai 600023 M.C. Suryanarayana











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Acknowledgement

The present report is the outcome of work spanning 8 months which included 4 months of intense field work. The
report highlights the findings of a short term assessment of role of bee keeping with Apis cerana indica in the
farm systems of marginal farmers in Dharampur taluka of Valsad district in the state of Gujarat. The work may seem
to be a small term study but in reality it could be a stepping stone for larger benefits in terms of awareness,
knowledge, documentation, orientation and implications as far as pollination and crop productivity are concerned.
I first would like to thank the field investigators of the region who showed not only interest and inclination for
such a study but also immense patience in collection of primary data. Had this not been done the project would
have been an exercise in futility. I would like to mention here that such a study can only be done if there is an
immense conviction and sensitivity. I hereby acknowledge and sincerely express gratitude to the funding
agency EdelGive Foundation for being convinced and sensitive towards the need for research and documentation
in the area of pollination. Had it not been for their trust in the idea, this study would not have been possible. I am
also thankful to Under The Mango Tree (UTMT) for facilitating the whole project. I personally would like to thank
Ms.Vijaya Pastala, Ms.Sujana Krishnamoorthy and Ms.Bhumika Tulalwar for their immense backing and guidance
throughout the project. I am also thankful to Sachin Dhavle and Sujata Pawar of UTMT for regular assistance and
support.

Dr. M.C. Suryanarayana, well known expert in this field, has generously given his time and inputs to this study right
from the formulation stage. He has been extremely patient as well as prompt with our queries. We have been
benefited immensely from his knowledge and vast experience and are deeply indebted to him for the same.
Dr.R.C.Mishra also took the time to review the study and gave us several useful inputs including relevant articles
from his extensive library on this subject. I am also thankful to Mr. Atar S. Kaintura, UTMT's Technical Expert for
his guidance towards methodology selection and overall inputs. The usual disclaimers of course apply.

Last but surely, not the least; I would like to thank my friends and family who helped me work towards my interest and
passion.


Hemant Tripathi


















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Chapter 1 : Title and Abstract

Role of indigenous beekeeping with Apis cerana indica F. in crop production in farm systems of
Dharampur taluka

Crop pollination is an essential ecosystem service, which is efficiently provided by different pollinators. Amongst
various pollinators available, Dyer and Seeley (1991b) reported that Apis cerana shows a disproportionately
high mass-specific metabolic rate, their foragers make many more trips per day in the same habitat than do foragers
of the other species. Apis cerana can therefore be considered as one of most efficient pollinators. In India, crop
pollination has been negatively affected due to reduction in density and population of efficient pollinators.
With the help of beekeeping with indigenous honey bee, Apis cerana, its density and availability as a pollinator
have increased in some areas. The current study investigated correlations between practice of beekeeping with
the indigenous bee, its influence on pollinator composition and role in crop production increment. Several
plants which are commonly cultivated or used by marginal farmers in the study locality were examined.
Important crops like Niger, Chickpea, Pigeon pea, Mango and Cashew were studied. No bias between self-
compatible and self- incompatible crop species was made and events of increase in production in such crops
were critically examined. As the study was being carried in open condition, the chances were kept open for crops to
get pollinated by managed honey bees, other native honeybees, and wild non-honey bee insects. Stress was laid on
the amount of production differences in areas with bee boxes and areas without bee boxes. To determine the
effect of indigenous beekeeping at different localities, observations were made for flower-visiting insects,
fruit set and also entry and exit rates with pollen and nectar loads of bees from bee boxes. Results from the
sampled flower visitors indicated that the abundances of other native honey bees like A. florea and A. dorsata,
stingless bees like Trigona, and wild non-honey bee insects were significantly influenced by the density and
visitation rate of Apis cerana indica. It was noted that Apis cerana indica density and visits were significantly high
in areas where bee boxes have been installed. Additionally, two influential factors i.e., high number of Apis
cerana indica in bee box areas and its dominance in flower visitor composition on floral Quadrats showed
significant positive correlations with the fruit set and crop production. There was noticeable increase in
production obtained from crops observed in areas practicing beekeeping. This increment in crop production
may not be attributed only to pollination service, but also to the ability of A. cerana indica to dominate the visitor
composition and reduce the flower mortality which could have been caused in its absence. It was observed that
impact of beekeeping with A. cerana indica is positive. The results suggest that increasing number of A. cerana
indica through beekeeping at different scales would help to ensure higher crop yields. Adequate number
of A. cerana indica is observed to be vital for significant crop production














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The Apis group
Honey bees are a subdivision of bees which is mainly distinguished by the manufacture and storage of
honey and the construction of persistent, colonial nests out of wax. Honey bees are the members of the tribe Apini, in
the genus Apis. India is a tropical country bestowed with highly diversified ecosystems. Varied ecological
conditions with diversified flora have provided favorable habitat for various honeybee species in India. The giant
honey bee (Apis dorsata F.), the oriental hive bee (A. cerana F.), dwarf bee (A. florae F.), and several species of stingless
bees (Trigona and Melipona), are widely distributed in India. These species pollinate various plants (Bright et al.,
1998), and produce hive products such as honey, wax, pollen, etc. which are useful to mankind (Shukla and Upadhyay,
2007).

A. cerana is widespread in temperate and tropical Asia. There are many different subspecies and races of A. cerana, due
to wide range of habitats it occupies from temperate mountain regions to tropical islands. In his 1988 monograph,
Ruttner summarized the data on morphometric variation in A. cerana. He recognized four subspecies of A.
cerana as follows: A. c. cerana in northern Asia; A. c. indica in southern Asia, A. c. japonica in Japan; and A. c. Himalaya in
the Himalayan region. Other honey bee species in Asia showing behavior similar to A. cerana are A. koschevnikovi, A.
nigrocincta and A. c. nuluensis. These gentle species of bees have long been managed as useful honey bees in many
parts of Asia and their honey and wax valued.
Background of the project
The present study commissioned by UTMT is a short term assessment of the impact of indigenous
beekeeping on farms of marginal farmers in Dharampur taluka of Valsad district in Gujarat, India.

The project was a four month study which incorporated common crops that were cultivated and harvested
during the study phase. Though, most of these crops are vegetables, the focus was maintained to bring an account of
role of beekeeping with Apis cerana indica (a local subspecies, henceforth mentioned as A. cerana in this
report) as an influencing and enhancing factor towards productivity of economic crops like Niger (Kharsani), Chickpea,
Pigeon pea, Mango and Cashew.

The study was carried with the help of local field officers for primary data collection over the study period from
November 2010 to March 2011. The data collection was done in three villages viz., Dandwal, Tutarkhed and
Sishumal. From these 3 villages, 14 field investigators were selected to collect data on various parameters like
pollinator visits in flowering quadrats, activity of bees in bee boxes and weekly harvest / productivity of the
quadrats.

This short term study can be used as a foundation for a long term exploration of parameters utilized. The study can
feed into a region specific model that may give information based on habitat, altitude, humidity, local floral
set and plantation plan required for efficient beekeeping with focus towards increase in incomes from honey
and crop productivity. It would be useful if the present study could lead into a longer study that will enable critical
documentation of the positive role that indigenous honey bee A. cerana can play in agriculture, its distribution and
population status in the current region and need for conservation in order to enhance agriculture and ecology of the
corresponding region.

The outcomes of this project are expected to expand local understanding, capacity and awareness of the sustainable
use of pollinators for agriculture.


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Need for the current study
It is commonly believed that nearly 70 percent of cultivated crops all over the world are cross-pollinated and
depend on insects like honey bees for pollination. Dwindling population of such useful pollinating insects has
now become a global problem. The importance of bees is often underlined with their role in pollination services
and income generation by production of honey and there has been a common concern that population of
indigenous bees are declining at an alarming rate. In the study site, beekeeping has just been initiated with
indigenous honey bee A. cerana. Beekeeping in the current area was introduced in the year 2009 to create an extra
source of income for marginal farmers from honey and beeswax and to diversify their livelihoods. With population of
A. cerana, an indigenous bee in this region being restored near farms, it becomes critical to quantify roles that
A. cerana colony would play in pollination, production or in the ecological balance.

Honey is the best known bee product from an economic point of view and is the most visible outcome from a
beekeeping project. Honey bees enhance agricultural productivity and help maintain biodiversity by providing
valuable pollination services. The main significance of honeybees and beekeeping therefore, is pollination,
whereas hive products carry a secondary value. Pollination is an ecological process based on the principal of
mutual interactions or interrelationships between the pollinated (plants) and the pollinator. The Convention on
Biological Diversity (CBD) has recognized pollination as a key driver in the maintenance of ecosystem function.
The benefit of honey bees as providers of pollination services for enhancing crop yields and maintaining
biodiversity is thought to be much higher than their role as producers of honey and beeswax. Therefore,
estimation of the economic value of honey bees in agriculture is a much needed study in order to understand
the importance of pollinator management through beekeeping and also to enhance managed pollination.
Utilization of pollinators especially honey bees is considered as one of the cheapest ecofriendly approaches available
to maximize the yield of cross pollinated crops (Free, 1970). Many investigations have consistently confirmed that
yield levels can be increased to an extent of 50 to 60 per cent in fruits and plantation crops, 45 to 50 per cent in
sunflower, Sesame and Niger and 100 to 150 per cent in cucurbit crops through good management of
pollinators (Melnichenko and Khalifman, 1960).

Pollination by honey bees depends on wide variety of factors such as, altitude, temperature, regional floral
diversity, and other geographical and climatic features and therefore, yield levels vary according to places and
regions. Effort is being made with this study to quantify the role of A. cerana beekeeping in crop productivity and
their impact in the yield level. Such a study can help in regulating planned and efficient use of indigenous bees
like A. cerana to improve qualitative and quantitative parameters of crop yields.











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Background of the study area
Dharampur and Kaprada are talukas in the district of Valsad. The current study was carried out in villages
of Dandwal, Tutarkhed and Sishumal of Dharampur taluka. Dharampur is an erstwhile princely state in the Valsad
district of Gujarat. The region has a semi-arid type of climate. It records a maximum temperature of 42
0
C
with a mean annual temperature of 27
0
C. April and May are the hottest months. In winter the temperature drops
to 7
0
C. About 95% of the rainfall comes from the South-West monsoon. Annual rainfall occurs between June and
September. May is the hottest month when the mean daily maximum temperature soars up to 40 degrees
while, December is the coldest month in the district (Patel, 1971). The average annual rainfall is 2465 mm,
concentrated in a few months and the remainder of the year is dry.



























As observed during the preliminary survey, Dharampur is a predominantly tribal area with rich forest cover and
consists of small village clusters spread widely across the region. There are village clusters in the interiors of the
landscape dominated by vast hills, valleys, zigzagging rivers and often dense forest areas. The farmers here are
marginal and practice subsistence farming due to lack of resources, options and traditional lifestyle. The tribes here
depend upon forest resources for various important and day to day needs like shelter, housing material, food,
fuel, fiber, etc. Majority of the cultivators in this region barely manage to survive for a few months of the year on
the crops harvested. The livelihood of the villagers depends mainly upon agriculture and animal husbandry.







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Thus introduction of beekeeping by A. cerana as an additional source of income in this tribal area is a remarkable
and promising step.

Other than being a tribal belt, the region also is a unique ecosystem dominated by forests and is part of one of the
important eco-regions of the Western Ghats. The forests in this region are rich in biodiversity although large
patches of forest areas are also seen to be degrading due to monoculture, tree felling and other human induced
disturbances. Most of the area in this region is made up of a series of flat-topped low hills.

The vegetation of the study area can be categorized into North Western Ghats Moist Deciduous Forests.
The Natural vegetation in Dharampur is influenced by the southwestern monsoon and consists of;

Moist teak-bearing forests,
Moist mixed deciduous forest without teak, and
Secondary moist mixed deciduous forests

According to the classification by Puri et. al., (1983) these forests can also be classified as deciduous teak forest types
which are intermediate between dry and moist categories. They are named as the Tectona- Terminalia-Adina-
Anogeissus categories. Teak (Tectona grandis) is the most dominant species in this region and occurs throughout
the area.

Representative forest species include Tectona grandis, Grewia tiliaefolia, Lagerstroemia lanceolata, Dillenia
pentagyna, Kydia calycina, Bambusa arundinacea, Dalbergia latifolia, Adina cordifolia, Pterocarpus
marsupium, Xylia xylocara, Wrighia tinctoria, and Schleichera oleosa (Champion and Seth 1968). The teak forests
on lateritic soils have typical understory species represented by Cleistanthus collinus, Holarrherna
antidysenterica, Bauhinia racemosa, and Kydia calycina. Important climbers and bushes include Woodfordia
fruticosa,Calycopteris floribunda, Dioscorea spp., Butea superba, Bauhinia vahlii, and Smilax macrophylla (Puri et al.
1989). Such wide variety of plants would present number of options for A. cerana to survive in wild. But, it has also
been observed that many areas in this region have been left with only few numbers of species of plants; mostly
teak and Terminalia elliptica. Due to such intense disturbance of forest areas and monoculturing trend, the
bees in this region may be on a declining side.

Crops cultivated in the study area: Farming practiced in the study region is rain fed and although it rains in plenty, the
water runoff is in huge proportion due to the rocky and hard base of the land. The major crops cultivated during
Kharif by the farmers are Nagli, Varai and paddy. Local farmers are seen to practice land conservation measures
such gully plugs, stone bunds and nala bunds in this area to ensure cropping and increase in yield. Nagli (finger
millet) is a major crop as it can grow on red, black, sandy, loamy and shallow black soils. Varai (small millet) is
another major crop which is cultivated, followed by paddy, black gram and niger. Due to the absence of irrigation
facility, the total cultivated area is extremely dependent on the uncertain monsoons.




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Aims and Objectives

The current study is the first step towards exploring answers for the following questions:
Does beek eeping by using the indigenous A. cerana play any role in production of crops in the
study area?
What is the impact of beekeeping with A. cerana on seed/ fruit production?
Does it ha ve any influence on pollinator composition of the area?
The objectives of the current study are as follows:
Evaluation of pollination and foraging behavior under OPEN CONDTIONS
Monitoring activity of pollinators on selected crop species
Monitoring foraging
patterns
Bee activity pattern; Daily and Seasonal
Pollen and nectar load collection in various study localities
Bee activity patterns in the Bee boxes
Materials and Methods
A preliminary survey was undertaken to devise a methodology for the short term impact assessment.
During the preliminary survey, notes were made on local floral diversity, composition of plants in wadis, familiarity
of local stakeholders with bee diversity and availability of human resources. Observations during the preliminary
survey were critical in selecting a methodology. The method selected was further designed and redesigned after
considering availability as well as limitations of resources.



















A typical cashew wadi


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The short length of the project as it was an "impact assessment study" and utilization of local tribal youth as
investigators were key considerations that shaped the methodology of the study.

Data collection was done under open condition method. Open condition methodology was considered
appropriate for the short term impact assessment as such a method will consider existence of
composition and population of other pollinators in the region. The data collection was done at 7 locations
in 3 villages of Dharampur taluka in Valsad district. Out of these 7 locations, 4 had bee boxes, and the remaining 3
did not have bee-boxes in them. Areas with bee boxes and areas without boxes were selected so that conclusions
could be made based on comparative analysis of observations between areas with and without bee boxes. 14
field investigators were appointed from the three villages participating in the study. The selection of these
field investigators was based on their familiarity with the region, landscape, vegetation and their curiosity,
knowledge, aptitude and grasp in beekeeping and bee diversity.

In the above said 7 locations, 2 investigators were placed at each location to make observations pertaining
to the objectives of the short term study.































Field Investigators of the Study






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The primary field investigation was done on three parameters given below:

1. Pollinator visits on floral Quadrats
2. Crop productivity assessment by number of fruit set and harvest

3. Exit and entry of A. cerana in bee boxes

Prior training to field investigators was given and further objectives of the study were explained on regular
basis. After 2 weeks of initial training and some practice of field data collection and observation, one more training
session was arranged before initiating the regular data collection for the study.





























Quadrats were made of size 1mX1m and were placed randomly over flowering area of crops selected for the study.
Arial quadrats were made on trees like mango and cashew while in crops like papaya one whole plant in itself was
considered as a quadrat representative. Quadrat locations were often selected
randomly but some considerations were made like;

1. Quadrat should cover maximum amount of mature flowers,
2. The amount of over mature or dehisced flowers should be minimum
3. The Quadrat should be at least 10 m away from the bee box




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Each Quadrat placed over flowering area of crops was considered to be floral Quadrat and
observations on number of visits from following visitors were noted:

1. Apis cerana
2. Apis florea
3. Apis dorsata
4. Trigona species
5. Butterflies
6. Other flying insects
7. Non flying insects

The floral Quadrat made was maintained for at least 4 weeks so that, the number of fruits formed in the studied
Quadrat can be observed every week. Crop productivity was assessed on the basis of weekly harvest from the
vegetable crops and fruits present in the floral Quadrat. The harvest from every floral Quadrat was kept separate
and noted. In plants where fruits are not harvested every week, the number of fruits set in the crop was observed.
The total number of fruits formed every week was counted in the case of mango, cashew, papaya and banana; this
would give an idea of fruit set in these crops.

The crops for the study were selected on the basis of their availability and significance in local farming and
beekeeping.

While selecting crops for the study, the crops were intentionally and cautiously not distinguished on the perspectives
given below.

1. Cross pollinated and self-pollinated species
2. Apis cerana pollinated species and those pollinated by other means
3. Forest and non-forest species

Crops to be studied were thus exclusively selected on the following parameters -

1. Significance of crops in farming practices, medicine or other local uses
2. Importance of crops for foraging of Apis cerana
3. Accessibility and availability in the study location, and
4. Familiarity of local field investigators to the crops

The observations were made from 8 am to 5pm during winter and in the morning between 8am to 6pm
during summer. Data collected for whole day was categorized into

1. Morning (8am to 11am),
2. Afternoon (11/12pm to 2/3pm) and
3. Evening (2/3pm to 5/6 pm)
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The overall study was a comparative account between areas with bee boxes and areas without bee boxes.














Activity of A. cerana bees in bee boxes of each study location was studied. Foraging activity in bee boxes was noted by
counting number of bees departing and arriving in bee boxes for the whole day from 8hrs to 18hrs. Number of bees
departing from the bee box and number of bees arriving in the bee box were noted on hourly basis. Bees with
pollen load were categorically noted.
The numbers of bees seen with pollen load were considered as ones coming in after pollen foraging and the number
of bees bringing nectar was interpreted from bees arriving in the bee box without pollen load. In other words,
assumption was made that the bees with pollen load have collected pollen and bees without pollen load have
collected nectar. This data would give an idea on foraging pattern of A. cerana.
To summarize, the whole study was based on random sampling under open conditions. Data was observed on
pollinator visits, productivity and behavior of bees in bee boxes. Pollinator visits and productivity was
observed by constructing 1mX1m Quadrats at various locations for various crops. The 1mX1m sampling Quadrat was
considered as a floral Quadrat and was the observation area for pollinator visits and productivity assessment. Each
crop was studied several times for pollinator visits and productivity. Every week 3 days were spent on
pollinator visit study, 1 day on bee boxes and 1 day on productivity survey. The data collection started in the month
of October and concluded in the 1
st
week of March. In total, data observations were made for 19 weeks.

Time line of the study










Over 19 weeks of data collection, 590 observations were made. These constituted 394 observations of pollinator
visits on floral Quadrats, 122 observations of crop productivity and 75 observations of A. cerana activity in bee
boxes.



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Chapter 2 : Observations
Activity of bees in Bee Boxes
1. Bee Activity in Bee boxes
The foraging of bees (A. cerana in the current case) was seen to be regulated by various factors like floral
composition, season, temperature and humidity.
The average foraging pattern (exit from the bee box and entry with and without pollen load) was observed
in detail. Bees marking exit from the bee box were considered as bees going out for foraging and bees making an
entry into the bee box with the pollen load were considered to be bees returning after pollen foraging. The
colony in bee boxes in the study localities were young and newly formed, and good indicators of foraging dynamics
in the colony.




















Figure 1 : Chart showing foraging activity bees (WPL: Without pollen load; PL: With pollen load)

The sporadic exit and entry of bees were observed as early as 0500h. The regular exit and entry was studied
from 0700h to 1800h. The peak activity was seen at 0900h to 1200h and 1600h to 1800h. Comparatively, the
1600h to 1800h slot was seen to be more intense in activity (fig 1).

2. Pollen load and nectar load collection

The number of bees entering the box with the pollen load was observed from 0700h to 1800h and peak was seen
at two slots, i.e., 0900h to 1200h and 1600h to 1800h. Numbers of bees entering with the pollen load in the box
was seen to be gradually increasing from 0700h to 0900h before steadying during first peak between time slot
0900h to 1200h, after which the pollen foraging activity decreased and then increased again at the second time slot
between 1600h to 1800h.






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Figure 2 :




















As far as overall activity is concerned, the second peak time slot 1600h to 1800h was more intense and exclusively for
pollen foraging.

In fact, during time slot between 1500h to 1800h, the number of bees seen entering into the box without pollen load
(WPL) was more than the number of bees entering with pollen load (PL) (Fig 2). It may be assumed that during the
time slot between 1500h to 1800h, the focus shifted to nectar foraging.
























Bees carrying pollen into the box

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To be precise, the number of bees collecting pollen was more during the first half of the day, i.e., till 1200h,
while during the second half of the day the number of bees collecting nectar was more. The
following interesting observation in this regard is as follows:
1 . Number of bees entering with pollen load and with nectar was seen to be ascending from 0700h
to 1200h.
2 . Number of bees with pollen load and with nectar load then descended during 1200h to 1400h.
3. Ascending of bees with pollen load and with nectar load again started from 1400h to 1800h.
4. The number of bees with pollen load was more than the number of bees with nectar from 0700h
to 1200h, i.e., during the first half of the day
5. The number of bees with nectar load was more than that of the bees with the pollen load during
1200h to 1800h, i.e., during the second half of the day
3. Out-going trips of Apis cerana during various months

Temperature was seen to be the determining factor as far as the foraging activity of the honey bees was concerned.
Over the period of 5 months during which observations were made, the pattern of out-going (exit) of bees from
bee boxes showed some interesting features. During Monsoon, the activity of bees was seen to be limited and
this resulted in increased amount of work post Monsoon. The observations made during the month of November
showed that bees would start making their exit quite early in the morning and number of bees making exit
from box between the time slot 0700h to 0800h was comparatively high (Fig. 3). The number of bees
departing from the bee box in this month is considerably high at three time slots, viz., 0700h to 0800h, 0900h to 1200h
and 1600h to 1700h.

November: During this month the bees had 3 peak activity phases or in other perspective 5 hours of intense
activity.

To summarize, the exit of bees from boxes in November was high at 0700h and then reduced before rising up
again maintaining a steady rate between 0900h to 1200h, then dropping down again before peaking up at
1600h to 1700h.


















Figure 3 : Exit of bees from bee boxes during the study

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December: In December the number of bees departing from the bee box at 0700h to 0800h was seen to be highly
reduced. The bees during this month started late in the morning and the foraging activity was seen to be very low at
0700h-0800h, gradually increased and picked up at 0900h - 1000h. The rate of exit was steady during the time slot
0900h to 1200h, after which the number of bees making exit from the box fell, during the time slot 1200h to
1500h. Between 1500h to 1800h the exit activity was intense with a peak at the 1600h to 1700h time slot. The activity
after 1700h was seen to reduce.

January: In the month of January 2011, the temperature further dropped down and the number of bees departing
from the box was observed to be lowest of all months. The rate of exit gradually picked up reaching a steady rate
between 0900h to 1200h. The rate of exit from boxes dropped after 1200h and then again started rising reaching
the intense activity phase between 1600h to 1800h.

February: As the temperature increased in February, the bees started their foraging trips quite early. The number of
bees seen to exit the bee box at 0700h was observed to be more than what was seen in the month of December and
January. The rate of exit from bee boxes was observed to be very gradual, steady and kept low. Between time slots
0900h to 1200h and 1600h to 1800h the exit activity was seen to be high.

March: In the month of March the departing rate from bee box was seen to be scaling high. At 0700h the number of
bees marking exit from the box was seen to be higher than in the months of December, January and February.
As the pollen and nectar resources built up and the temperature increased, the bees tend to exit the boxes early for
foraging. The gradual increase in exit activity was observed from 0700h to 1200h. The peak in exit activity was
observed between 0800h to 1300h and 1600h to 1800h. This underlines the intense activity of bees during this
month.
4. Arrival of bees with Pollen load during the months studied

The number of bees arriving in the box with the pollen load (PL) was observed over five months of the study
period. It was observed that the month of March was comparatively a better phase for pollen collection.
Majority of the pollen collection was done between 0800h to 1200h. There were two slots, viz., 0900h to 1200h
and 1600h to 1800h that showed intense pollen foraging as the number of bees arriving in the box with the pollen
load was seen to be high during these slots (Fig 4).

















Figure 4 : Entry of bees with Pollen Load

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The number of bees entering into the box with the pollen load was seen to be considerably high during the month
of March. November and December were observed as the months of very steady and intense pollen collection.
During the month of November, the number of bees entering the bee boxes with pollen load was higher than
December, January and February. Thus the pollen foraging behavior during the
months studied can be classified into time slot represented in the tabular format below:


Months

November

December

January

February

March


Favorable time slot for pollen foraging

0700 - 0800h and 1400 - 1700h

0900 - 1200h and 1500 - 1800h

1000 - 1200h and 1600 - 1800h

1500 - 1800h

0700 - 1000h and 1400 - 1800h

Month of November with moderate climate conditions allowed bees to start activity quite early. The bees
during this month preferred early morning, late afternoons and evenings for activity, while during December and
January, the temperature in the environment fell and bees preferred to start late. The activity was steady till
afternoon, viz., 1200h, after which the number of bees entering with pollen load was low till about 1500h.

In study locality, the temperature during early mornings was recorded to be as low as 12 C degrees during
December and in January it was 10 C degrees at 0700h. During these two months bees started
their activity late to escape cold conditions and also reduced the intensity of foraging activity during
afternoon as the sun was very severe. The foraging activity resumed its intensity again at 1500h to 1600h. The month
of February had steady and low foraging behavior and most of the time only evenings were preferred for pollen
foraging.

As the average temperature increased by the month of March, the bees started their activity quite early. The
number of bees entering with the pollen load at 0700h to 0800h was seen to be the highest.

In other perspective, during the months of November and March the first half of the day was preferred (0700h to
1200h) for pollen foraging while in the month of December, January and February the second half of the day was
preferred (1200h to 1600h).

5. Arrival of bees with Nectar load during the months studied

The bees arriving without pollen load (WPL) were considered as bees with nectar load. The observation in this
regard is the same as that made for the pollen foragers. So it can be said that the pollen nectar
foraging in the region during this phase was quite similar as far as far intensity of activity is concerned.







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Figure 5 : Entry of bees without pollen load
6. Foraging behavior at various study locations

The foraging behavior of bees is regulated by temperature, topography and availability of floral resources.
The floral resources available at the three sites determine the rate of activity, pollen and nectar foraging by bees
present in the bee boxes. The age of bee hive and the growth rate of the colony also play a critical role in determining
the foraging dynamics of a bee colony.

Of all the bee boxes studied for activity of bees, Dandwal village had the oldest of all bee boxes. The colony in this
box was much stabilized and foraging behavior was regulated accordingly.

The bee box at Tutarkhed village was older than the box at Sishumal, but younger than the one in Dandwal.

It was observed in all bee boxes that the number of bees departing approximately peaked during the time slots
0900h to 1100h and 1500h to 1800h (Fig 6).

The bees in Tutarkhed seem to have collected more pollen with peak hours during 0900h to 1100h. Overall, the
number of bees entering the box with the pollen load was visibly higher than the number of bees entering without
pollen load. This means that the number of bees collecting pollen was more than the number of bees collecting
nectar. In the chart given below, it can be observed that between time slots 0700h to 1200h the number of bees with
pollen is more than number of bees with nectar. The bees with nectar load are more in number only at the time slot
1500h to 1700h. Thus bees are collecting pollen more than nectar in the Tutarkhed region.


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Figure 6 : Bee activity: Tutarkhed

In Sishumal, the rate of exit from the bee box and the rate of entry in to the bee box with pollen load were going
almost parallel. Also, the number of bees entering without pollen load was not very low. This suggests that the
colony present in the bee box had high requirement of pollen and nectar which kept the bees very busy throughout
the day in this location. The number of bees arriving with pollen load on them was seen to be very high during 1000h
to 1100h and 1600h to 1800h (Fig 7).


Bee Activity in Bee Box : Shishumal



















Figure 7 : Bee activity: Sishumal



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In Dandwal, the bee box had one of the oldest and stable bee colonies of all the study localities. The number of
bees exiting was seen to be high during 1600h to 1800h. The number of bees coming back with the pollen load was
low, compared to that in other locations. The number of bees arriving at the box with nectar load was seen to be
higher than the ones arriving with the pollen load (Figure 8). In Dandwal region nectar foraging was intense.























Figure 8 : Bee Activity Dandwal























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Chapter 3 : Observations
Insect visits and Composition on Floral Quadrats
Various crops selected in floral Quadrats in three different study localities were observed for the
composition and number of pollinator visits. Observation was made to investigate if there were
differences in frequency and availability of A. cerana between areas with and without bee boxes.
Composition of other visitors on floral Quadrats was also critically observed.

Common Gujarati name

1. Rai

2. Keli

3. Rehana

4. Valpapadi

5. Karela

6. Gliricidea

7. Chana

8. Tindola

9. Tuar

10. Kaju

11. Ringana

12. Niger (Khursani)

13. Jowar

14. Papadi

15. Amba

16. Papaya

17. Marcha

18. Dodka

19. Tamatar

20. Nirgudi

21. Sargapo

22. Eranda


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Scientific name

Brassica juncea

Musa paradisiaca

Sesbania grandiflora

Dolichos lablab

Momordica charantia

Gliricidia maculata

Cicer arietinum

Coccinia grandis

Cajanus cajan

Anacardium occidentale

Solanum melongena

Guizotia abyssinica

Sorghum bicolour

Phaseolus vulgare

Mangifera indica

Carica papaya

Capsicum annuum

Luffa acutangula

Lycopersicon esculentum

Vitex negundo

Moringa oleifera

Ricinus communis


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English common name

Mustard

Banana

Sesbania

Flat bean

Bitter Gourd

Gliricidea

Chickpea

Ivy gourd

Pigeon Pea

Cashew

Brinjal

Niger

Jowar

French bean

Mango

Papya

Capsicum

Ridge gourd

Tomato

Chaste Tree

Drumstick

Castor
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1. Pollinator Activity and Foraging:

Visits by various insects on selected crops were observed over floral Quadrats.

Apis cerana foraging: As observed on floral Quadrats during the primary data collection, the best timings for A.
cerana to be seen on floral Quadrats were during morning (0800h to 1100h) and evening (1500h to 1800h).

The number of bees spotted on floral Quadrats determined the favorability factor of the plant to which the floral
Quadrat belonged. The more the number of bees spotted the more favorable the plant species was considered.


It was observed that visits to favorable plants were steady through the day. The most favored plant, the Chaste tree
was visited throughout the day equally during morning, afternoon and evening. The visits did not show any
specific inclination towards any time slot for the preferred plants. As the preference level dropped, the less
preferred plants were browsed mostly during morning and evening time slots. It may be also noted that the
afternoon foraging was invariably seen on favored plants. And afternoon foraging kept on decreasing as
'preference' factor of plant species reduced.




















Figure 9 : Foraging behavior and favorable plants (Mo: Morning, Af: Afternoon, Ev: Evening)










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2. Composition of insects on floral Quadrat:

In the wide array of insects visiting the floral Quadrat, the visitors were marked under the following
types:

1. Apis cerana

2. Apis florea

3. Trigona sps.

4. Apis dorsata

5. Butterflies

6. Other flying insects

7. And other non-flying insects
2.1 Visitor composition in area with bee box:

In areas with the bee box the composition of other insects and other possible pollinators was seen to be influenced
by the presence of A. cerana (Fig 10). A. cerana dominated other insect visitors by its numbers in most plant species.
However, in the case of castor, French bean, mango, capsicum, ridge gourd and tomato, the numbers of other
flying insects were more than that of A. cerana. Trigona and A. florea were more on ridge gourd than A. cerana.
























Figure 10 : Composition of insects at various floral Quadrats in areas with bee box


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2.2 Visitor composition in area without bee box:

In areas without bee box it was seen that the number of visits made by A. cerana was less when
compared to the areas which have boxes. The presence and number of A. cerana seems to be limited.

It should be observed here that the low number, frequency and density of A. cerana in floral Quadrats of WB
(without bee box) areas gave space to other flying insects, non-flying insects and butterflies to forage. Many of
these other flying and non-flying insects are known to physically injure the flower while feeding on it.

Thus the floral Quadrat from WB areas show reduced number of A. cerana visits and a noticeable competition
in numbers from other insect visitors (fig 11).




















Figure 11 : Composition of insets at floral Quadrat in areas without box


















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3. Number of Apis cerana visits on floral quadrats:

The number of A. cerana visits in areas with bee box was high on almost every floral Quadrat observed (Fig 12). A.
cerana was noted in all of the plants studied while in areas without box, the A. cerana availability for floral
Quadrat was limited. A. cerana was not seen on most of the plants. Among the plant species visited here were
mainly mustard, jowar, niger and french beans. The A. cerana bees seen in the areas without bee boxes might be
from feral colonies.



















Figure 12 : Comparative account of Apis cerana visits in areas with (BB) and without bee boxes
(WB)























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4. Favorable plants for Apis cerana:

A. cerana during this short term study was observed for its number of visits on the listed plants. Most of these plants
were seen to be in flowering state during the study period. The numbers of visits made on floral Quadrat of these
species were considered to derive the favorable factor. During this study, it was observed that A. cerana favored
chaste tree (Nirgudi, Vitex negundo ) followed by mustard, banana, flat bean, bitter gourd and others. These
constituted more than 50 percent of the A. cerana visits. In the near future, density and composition of plants can be
considered for a more suggestive and applicable floral chart. The observation during this short term study is just to
arrive at a broader perspective. The density, total flowering period were not considered in this rapid impact
assessment study.



Frenchbean


Capsicum
1%


RidgeGourd
1%
Tomato



Chastetree
2%
Castor
3%
Jowar
3%

Niger
MangoPapaya2%
2%
1% 18%
Apiscerana
Brinjal 3%
3%

Cashew
4%
PigeonPea
4%
IvyGourd
4%

Chickpea
4%






Gliricidea
7%






Banana
8%


Mustard
17%

Bitter Gourd
8%

Flatbeans
8%

Figure 13 : Pie chart of Apis cerana forage plants





















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List of plants preferred by Apis cerana (in the order of priority):

Scientific name

1. Vitex negundo

2. Brassica juncea

3. Musa paradisica

4. Dolichos lablab

5. Momordica charantia


6. Gliricidea maculata

7. Cicer arietinum

8. Coccinia grandis

9. Cajanus cajan

10. Anacardium occidentale

11. Solanum melongena

12. Guizotia abyssinica

13. Sorghum bicolour

14. Ricinus communis

15. Phaseolus vulagris

16. Mangifera indica


17. Carica papya

18. Capsicum annuum

19. Luffa acutangula

20. Lycopersicon esculentum




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English common name

Chaste tree

Mustard

Banana

Flat beans

Bitter Gourd


Gliricidea

Chickpea

Ivy Gourd

Pigeon Pea

Cashew

Brinjal

Niger

Jowar

Castor

French bean

Mango


Papaya


Capsicum

Ridge Gourd


Tomato




25


Gujarati name

Nirgudi

Rai

Keli

Valpapdi

Karela


Undirmar

Chana

Tindola

Tuar

Kaju

Ringana

Niger (Khursani)

Jowar

Eranda

Papdi

Amba


Papaya


Marcha

Dodka


Tamatar


Apis cerana

151

143

68

66

65


63

36

33

31

31

24

24

23

22

19

17


13


12

9


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Chapter 4 : Observations - Crop productivity


1. Productivity increase in areas with bee box:

Comparative observation of productivity of the crops selected for the study was carried out between areas with
bee box and areas without bee box. The harvest or produce obtained from Quadrats maintained for
productivity study were carefully noted down on weekly basis. Average productivity data of 4 weeks was taken to
make interpretations. Seasonal data on productivity was collected in case of crops like Chickpea, Pigeon pea, Niger,
Mustard and Jowar (Fig 14).
















Figure 14 : Percentage increase in productivity

Important fruit crops of this region like Mango and Cashew showed remarkable increase in productivity due to
beekeeping. The positive impact of bee boxes can be seen on the productivity of pulses; although, pulses are known to
have pollination mechanism that does not depend on insects (entomophily) as they are often considered to be self-
pollinating crops. Jowar also being a self-pollinated crop still showed increase in productivity. Niger being one
of the very important crops in the study area showed considerable response to the A. cerana presence as the
productivity of this crop increased by a margin of 60%.
2. Number of bee visits and Productivity:

It was observed that the numbers of bee visits are not directly proportional to the productivity. Mustard was one
of the most visited floral Quadrat, yet it did not have the highest productivity amidst studied plants. Capsicum
was not a very favorable plant as far as A. cerana visits were concerned. The numbers of visits in Capsicum were less
than many favorable species of A. cerana, yet the amount of produce obtained from Capsicum crop in area with
the bee box was seen to be 227 percent more than that in the area without bee box. In Banana, the number of bee
visits corresponded to the amount of production increase, while in the case of Bitter gourd, although the numbers of
bee visits were seen to be high, there was no increase in produce. Further, the produce from Bitter gourd in areas with
bee box was seen to be less than produce from areas without bee box (Fig 15).




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Figure 15 : Comparison between average number of bee visit and percentage increase in
productivity



























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Given below is the list of plants and their percentage increase in productivity when compared with plants from
areas without Bee Boxes. Thus practice of beekeeping seems to considerably influence productivity in a positive
manner.


Crop

1. Capsicum

2. Tomato

3. Cashew

4. Pigeon pea

5. Flat bean

6. Chick pea

7. Mustard

8. Mango

9. Banana

10. Niger

11. Papaya

12. French bean

13. Jowar

14. Brinjal

15. Ridge Gourd

16. Bitter Gourd


Percentage increase in crop

227.05%

160.61%

157.89%

133.33%

128.57%

79.5%

75.00%

68.42%

63.16%

60.00%

60.00%

41.15%

33.33%

31.25%

27.27%

-21.52%












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Chapter 5 : Key findings and discussion
1. Activity time: 0900h to 1200h and 1600h to 1800h were the most intense activity times for A. cerana
in the studied region during the period of study. During these time slots highest number of bees were
seen to depart and to arrive at the bee box

2. Pollen and nectar collection: Foraging for pollen and/or nectar depends on the colony strength,
availability of brood, availability of forage in the area and atmospheric and soil conditions. Although pollen
and nectar foragers can be active simultaneously, the main focus seemed to be on pollen foraging mostly
during the first half of the day while nectar foraging is focused upon during the second half of the day.
This was as expected, because pollen is available for collection during the early morning and morning
periods of the day, and nectar is secreted after the photosynthesis activity starts in the plants, often during
the latter part of the mornings and afternoons.

3. Regulation of forage activity: Temperature plays a critical role in regulation of foraging activity of A.
cerana. During November and March A. cerana could start foraging early in the morning while during the colder
months of December and January the bees would start their activity late in the morning and often restricted
their activity till early evening.

4. Regulation of the need of foraging: The need to forage seemed to be regulated by the age and
stability of the bee colony. The localities of Sishumal and Tutarkhed which had new colonies demanded
more collection of pollen. Nectar was also needed in such colonies. Thus the foraging activity of bees for
such new colonies was intense. In Dandwal, the number of bees arriving with pollen load was less and
nectar foraging was much more. The bees in older boxes had a steady foraging profile while bees in
comparatively younger boxes showed intense activity as they were engaged in brood development.

5. Forage timing on floral Quadrats: Bees depart from the bee boxes on their foraging trips for nectar
and pollen. In the areas with bee box, A. cerana preferably visited floral Quadrats during 0900h to 1100h and
1600h to 1800h time slots.

6. Favorable plants: Plants which were observed to be visited in large numbers by A. cerana were
considered to be their favorites.

7. Exclusive treatment of favorable plants: Mornings and evenings were generally seen to be a
preferred slot for A. cerana visits on most of the plants, but unique and exclusive treatment of some plants by
A. cerana was also observed. On some plants the bees were seen to make no differentiation of
timing. Floral Quadrat of such plants were frequented at all times and all three slots i.e. morning, afternoon and
evening were progressively used to visit such plants. The number of bees visiting on such plants during
afternoon slot (1200h to 1500h) was considerably more when compared with other plants selected in
the study. In other plants the number of bees visiting during afternoon slot was less and often negligible.

8. Apis cerana population availability: A. cerana availability in areas with bee boxes was significantly
more in number than areas without bee boxes. The presence of good number of A. cerana had
played a critical role in increase in pollination and production of crops in the studied area.



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5

9. Apis cerana influencing insect composition: The presence of A. cerana affected the composition of
insect visitors on floral Quadrats. In areas with bee boxes the visitor composition profile was highly dominated
by A. cerana, followed by butterflies, other flying insects, A. florae and Trigona sp. As the number of A. cerana
visiting the floral Quadrat fell, the composition profile of insect visitors on floral Quadrat got dominated by
non-flying insects, other flying insects and butterflies followed by A. florea and Trigona sp. In areas without
bee boxes, the overall composition of insects was variable and could not be defined as it varied from plant to
plant. In areas with boxes A. cerana dominated the pollinator composition but, in areas without the bee boxes
the composition was sometimes with A. cerana dominating and often not dominating, as A. cerana
population in areas without bee boxes was seen to be low.

10. Impact of Non- Apis cerana dominated pollinator composition: The less availability and often
selective availability of A. cerana allowed other insects to take over. These insects were often not
the specialist pollinator of the corresponding plants that they might visit. This might cause inefficient pollination
service, destruction of flower morphology thereby increasing mortality of reproductive structure and might
also disturb the pollinator balance.

11. Role of Apis cerana as pollinator: The areas with A. cerana bee boxes had a considerable increase in
productivity of crops when compared with areas which did not have bee-boxes. Introduction of bee boxes in an
area ensures guaranteed supply of A. cerana in the region. The productivity increase in areas with bee boxes
shows importance of A. cerana beekeeping to the crops in the region.

12. Number of bee visit and productivity: It was observed that the number of visits made by A. cerana
was not necessarily directly proportional to the amount of produce gained. This might be due to the foraging
behavior of the bees, environmental factors and/or self- or cross-compatibility and other
characteristics of the plant species

13. Influence on non-insect pollinated species: In pulses and legumes often it is believed that the role of
cross-pollination is negligible. It has been observed during this study that such plants also seemed to achieve
increment in production. The reason of increment in production might not be pollination in many cases. The
presence of A. cerana as a dominating bee should be seen from several other perspectives to understand its
varied role in balancing of various factors and features that affect crop
production

14. Role of Apis cerana in productivity increase: Out of 16 plants studied for the productivity, only one
species showed reduced productivity in bee box area. Fifteen plant species showed considerable increase in
productivity in areas with A. cerana bee boxes. The exact role of A. cerana as a pollinator can only be assessed by
in depth study of their foraging and analysis of nectar and pollen. But the increase in productivity can be still
ascertained to the presence A. cerana in good density in areas with boxes. Of the studied plants for productivity
15 plants showed increased productivity with high margin, - the lowest being 27 % and highest being 227 %.
Thus the role of A. cerana in productivity cannot be questioned and can only be studied in detail further to
explore possibilities of deliberate and strategic attempt to restore population of A. cerana in the ecosystem,
landscape and regional level to meet critical objective like increase in crop production, honey production,
improvement livelihood and ecological balance. This short term study presents a hope that with Apis cerana
the crop production can be engineered positively.



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15.Apis cerana a vital component: A. cerana was observed to be a vital component in agricultural
ecosystem as observed during the study phase. Less number of A. cerana was seen to cause
consequences in terms of reduced production. A. cerana was seen to have longer foraging hours,
early initiation of foraging and reduced competition as it dominated the pollinator composition

16. Efficiency of Apis cerana as a pollinator: It was observed that A. cerana had long working schedule
from morning 0700h to evening 1800h and was seen to remain longer at floral Quadrats. This means that it was
more efficient and could possibly pollinate more number of flowers compared to other
flower visitors

17. Promotion of Apis cerana: Promoting availability of A. cerana by beekeeping appears to be essential
for enhancing crop productivity in farming systems of the studied locality.







































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A farmer with his bee box
Important outcomes of the study

Some of the very critical outcomes of the study are as follows:


1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.


Findings on Percentage productivity increase of 15 plants

Generating list of A. cerana preferable plants produced during the study phase

Findings on role of A. cerana as regulator of pollinator composition

Foraging behavior of A. cerana during the study period

Training of 14 local field investigators

Development of this basic research as a platform to plan in depth and critical long term
investigation






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Limitations of the study
Time frame: The time frame of the current study is very less and that is why this impact assessment study
can just be a basis of decision making for a longer study. It cannot be used as a scientific model but can still be used as
leverage for planning of future projects.

Small data set: The data set obtained from the study is not exhaustive. The interpretations made during this study
were often based on small data sets which might carry errors. Repetitive data collection ensures elimination
of errors associated with small data. Often there has been only 1 set, i.e., 4 weeks of study on productivity; this may
not carry importance on a scientific platform.

Local unexposed field officers: The primary data collection was done by field officers who lacked experience in
repetitive data collection. The manual error associated with data collection during initial stages of exposure and
training should not be neglected.
Future prospects
Reference data base: A database of references, studies and research materials on pollination services, distribution
and taxonomy of Apis should be maintained.

Utilization of trained human resources: The 14 field officers trained during this study should be further utilized in this
area so that a rural expertise can be developed and enhanced.

Long term study: A long term study of about 3-5 years should be undertaken in a large area which represents
an ecosystem for example Western Ghats or Northern Western Ghats. The study planned should have a
geographical perspective. Also the study should have approach from both the aspects, i.e., how beekeeping will
increase crop production and how crop selection will increase honey production. Based on interpretations and
observations made during the current impact assessment, the future study
in this area should cover following objectives:

1.


2.



3.

4.

5.

6.

Status of A. cerana and assessment of minimum population need for efficient pollination
services in a region

Flora of the region which would help in understanding the composition of plants that favors
beekeeping to explore scope of increasing production by strategic restoration of plants in
desired composition

Assessment of pollinator diversity and density

Study of foraging activity in relation to colony development

Differences in cost of production under pollinator deficit conditions

Scope of A. cerana as a potential pollinator in terms of number and variety of crops it
pollinates and can be made to pollinate



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http://www.beesfordevelopment.org/portal/index.php

http://www.insecta-inspecta.com/

http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/005/Y4586E/y4586e11.htm




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Apis cerana indica

Beekeepers with their bee boxes


Under The Mango Tree is an organisation that aims to diversify livelihoods
and increase incomes for small and marginal farmers through low cost
beekeeping with the indigenous bee Apis cerana indica. Read more about us
at www.utmt.in
54, Naju Mansion, Wodehouse Road, Colaba, Mumbai 400 005
Phone : 022 6515 7953, E-mail : bpr@underthemangotree.org