Honey and beekeeping have a long history in India. Honey was the first sweet food tasted by the ancient Indian inhabiting rock shelters and forests. He hunted bee hives for this gift of god. India has some of the oldest records of beekeeping in the form of paintings by prehistoric man in the rock shelters. With the development of civilization, honey acquired an unique status in the lives of the ancient Indians. They regarded honey as a magical substance that controlled the fertility of women, cattle, as also their lands and crops. The recent past has witnessed a revival of the industry in the rich forest regions along the sub-Himalayan mountain ranges and the Western Ghats, where it has been practiced in its simplest form.
Resources and Potential
The raw materials for the beekeeping industry are mainly pollen and nectar that come from flowering plants. Both the natural and cultivated vegetation in India constitute an immense potential for development of beekeeping. About 500 flowering plant species, both wild and cultivated, are useful as major or minor sources of nectar and pollen. There are at least four species of true honey bees and three species of the stingless bees. Several sub-species and races of these are known to exist. In recent years the exotic honey bee has been introduced. Together these represent a wide variety of bee fauna that can be utilized for the development of honey industry in the country. There are several types of indigenous and traditional hives including logs, clay pots, wall niches, baskets and boxes of different sizes and shapes. In modern beekeeping, the combs are built on wooden frames that are moveable. This facilitates inspection and management of bee colonies. Three types of moveable frame hive are in common use : the Newton type along with its standardized version ISI Type A, the Jeolikote Villager, and its counterpart ISI Type B, and the Langstroth type. Besides the hives, the beekeepers need equipment and implements like the hive stand, nucleus box and smoker. The industry also needs equipment and machinery for handling and processing of honey, beeswax, for manufacture of comb foundation sheets, and for other operations.
India has a potential to keep about 120 million bee colonies, that can provide self-employment to over 6 million rural and tribal families. In terms of production, these bee colonies can produce over 1.2 million tons of honey and about 15,000 tons of beeswax. Organized collection of forest honey and beeswax using improved methods can result in an additional production of at least 120,000 tons of honey and 10,000 tons of beeswax. This can generate income to about 5 million tribal families.
Production of honey has been the major aim of the industry. Modern beekeeping also includes production of beeswax, bee collected pollen, bee venom, royal jelly, propolis, as also of package bees, queen bees and nucleus colonies. All these are possible only with a proper management of bees, utilizing the local plant resources and adapting to the local climatic conditions. Modern beekeeping makes heavy use of beekeeping equipment and honey processing plant. This results in high efficiency and also ensures the quality of the processed honey.
Seasonal management of bee colonies varies in different parts of the country although the basic management methods are the same. Flow management, dearth management, provision of feeding, and control and cure of bee disorders, bee diseases, pests and enemies, are some of the routine measures to keep bee colonies healthy and strong. There are special management techniques like queen rearing, migration for honey production or for colony multiplication, which the beekeeper takes up after he gains sufficient knowledge and experience in handling bee colonies.
About 10,000 tons of forest honey are produced annually. Apiary honey produced under the KVI sector is estimated to be a little less than 10,000 tons in 1990-91. Over 95 per cent of this was from the A. cerana colonies, the rest being from the European bee colonies. Forest honey, mostly from rock bee hives, is usually collected by tribals in forests and is procured by forest or tribal corporations as a minor forest produce. Quite a large quantity is also collected by groups or individuals on their own. Forest honey is usually thin, contains large quantity of pollen, bee juices and parts, wax and soil particles. The honey collector gets between Rs. 10 and Rs. 25 per kilogram of the forest honey. Forest honeys are mostly multifloral.
Apiary honey is produced in bee hives and is harvested by extraction in honey extractors. Other types of beekeeping equipment like queen excluder, smoker, hive tool, pollen trap, honey processing plant are also used. Beekeepers sell the honey to the co-operative society, if one exists in the area. In many parts of India, the beekeeper gets a much higher price if he sells it directly to the consumer. Apiary honeys are usually multifloral when marketed by state-level marketing organizations, because honeys from different sources are mixed while pooling, storage and processing.
You can start beekeeping in just 225000 /- rupees only and you can start beekeeping in august to September .it is best for start the beekeeping because the cost of total investment recovering in this months.
Unit cost of 80 no. of bee colonies
Non recurring expenditure :-
Return of production
Honey production 80 rupees *40 kg = 3200Rs per Box
3200Rs*80Bee Box= Rs256000
Man Skill Labors cost 5000*12 = 60000
Man Unskilled cost 3500*12 =42000
Migration charge =20000
Feed charge annual = 10000
Total = 132000
New 25 box *700/-each = 17500
Net profit = 149500
Return expenses = Honey production – net profit = 272000 – 149500 = 122500/-
Bee’s increase(25*1800) = 45000/-
Net profit annual =167500/-