Italian Bee Apis Mellifera

ITALIAN HONEYBEE: APIS MELLIFERA

  • Introduced in India in 1960 from Western countries
  • Gentle in temperament and industrious by nature
  • Less swarming and absconding instinct
  • Very good pollinator of majority crop plants in Northern plain.
  • Poor in defence mechanism against natural enemies
  • Average yield 10-15 kg/ colony/ year on stationary beekeeping and 30 – 35 kg/ colony/ year under migratory beekeeping.

In India most popular Honey bee keeping is depend on Apis Mellifera bees. Due to its low escaping tendency more bee keepers like it. Italian bee is known as Apis Mellifera. In northern part of India is most favourable condition for bee keeping. Mustard crop is one of the most honey producing crop in India. In the hilly areas it is popular for pollination in apple orchard. This is also a good source of income of poor's in the village areas and rural areas in India.

INTRODUCTION


Beekeeping is an art and a mesmerizing science. In India beekeeping is mostly practised as a full-time occupation and an engrossing hobby to produce handsome income and table honey. Honeybees are special gift to mankind because beekeeping can be done for both their pollination services and their cherished products such as honey, beeswax, propolis, bee venom, etc. These products have their widespread use in different small and large scale industries in India. The only bitter part of bee-keeping is the bee sting. Honeybees sting to defend their colony, but this bitterness 36will be only in the initial stage of beekeeping, and after one gets habituated to keep bees, he will only taste the sweetness of honey. Most beekeepers develop a tolerance for bee venom over time and have reduced sensitivity to pain and swelling. So understanding honey bee science is to know and unravel nature’s most industrious as well as most fascinating insects. As of now seven species of Apis have been described; India is an exclusive country which habitats four of these; two domesticated species, viz. Apis cerana (oriental honeybee) and A. mellifera (occidental or European honeybee) and two wild species, viz. Apis dorsata (giant/rock honeybee or dumna) and A. florea (dwarf honeybee).

Among the four species, A. mellifera is an introduced species to India because it is resistant to Thai sac brood virus (TSBV) and also highly suitable for commercial beekeeping. Because of the different climatic zones in India, there is a massive multiplicity of flora which helps in potential beekeeping. People of India have a long connection with beekeeping and honey since ancient times. Ancient Indians gifted some records about beekeeping as paintings or carvings on rocks. Honey and its medicinal uses were mentioned in the old Ayurveda books of India. After independence, the government of India took policy decision to revive various traditional village industries and an All India Khadi and Village Industries Board (KVIB) was formed in 1954. Through harmonized efforts of well-joined organizations like KVIC (Khadi Village Industries Commission) and State KVIBs, Beekeepers’ Cooperatives and Public Institutions, the beekeeping industry came into limelight of village industries in India within two decades. In view of the budding importance of beekeeping, in 1981, an All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) on Honey bee Research and Training was launched by ICAR involving Agricultural Universities (Ramchandra et al. 2012; Sivaram 2012). Later a Central Sector Scheme entitled “Development of beekeeping for improving crop productivity” was launched by the Ministry of Agriculture in 1994–1995 during the eighth 5-year plan. The scheme targets production and distribution of honeybee colonies, organizing trainings and awareness programmes.

A Beekeeping Development Board also worked to organize the beekeeping activities. The scheme was approved for continuation during the ninth 5-year plan. However, the scheme got incorporated under the Macro Management Scheme. Right now approximately there are about 1.5 million bee colonies in India, which produce 55,000 tonnes of honey annually. India is one of the honey-exporting countries. The major markets for Indian honey are Germany, the USA, the UK, Japan, France, Italy and Spain.

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