Kalladikode, Palakkad: Farmers in Thachampara, near here, are tasting a success that has made their lives sweet too. They are the first group of beekeepers in Kerala to form a society to rear dwarf (stingless) bees whose honey has several medicinal purposes.
There are around a hundred farmers under the Amritham Dwarf Honey Bee Farmers Society which is guided by the Thachampara Krishi Bhavan. The honey produced is sold through the Atma Eco Shop managed by the Krishi Bhavan. The farmers also willingly give advice and training to aspiring apiculturists.
Dwarf honeybees are seen in crevices of walls and hollows as well as cavities of trees. They are collected from these places and reared in small cages. The bees can also be kept in bamboo pole pieces, boxes and earthen pots. As their name suggests, these bees have no sting and even women and children can safely engage in the beekeeping tasks.
The November–January period is when the hives are kept ready and honey can be extracted by April. At least half a kg of honey could be gathered from a single box. One kg of dwarf bee honey costs around Rs. 2,000.
Honey bees play a major role in pollination of crops and their extinction would spell doom for agriculture. It is in this backdrop that Amritham society has taken up the task of beekeeping. The society has also made arrangements to scientifically oversee the beekeeping activities carried out under it.