UAS-B to promote beekeeping in Bangalore and other cities

How about doing a bit of beekeeping right on your rooftop or in the kitchen garden? The University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, is trying to promote urban apiculture as one of the components of its Urban Krishi Mela, which is being organised for the first time on October 27 and 28 on its campus.

According to head of the Department of Apiculture at UAS-B N.S. Bhat, Bangalore has the ideal weather condition for beekeeping, especially in areas around the lakes. “The main requirement for beekeeping is availability of floral area (areas having flowering varieties of plants) and ideal weather condition. If pollen and nectar are available, then you can rear bees anywhere unless there are no extreme weather conditions,” he said.

Green patch

“There need not be a garden in your house for beekeeping. It is enough if there is a park or green patch with flowering varieties of plants or coconut palms near your house,” Prof. Bhat said, and added that even the weeds that grow on roadside in the rainy season help.

“Wherever rock bees (a wild variety of bees) are there in the city, it is an indication that the particular place is ideal for beekeeping,” he said.

Prof. Bhat is worried about wild bees being killed through application of chemicals in Bangalore.

“Killing them affects ecology and the process of fruit setting. In fact, honey forms only one-tenth of the usefulness of bees. The most important use is that they help in fruit setting through pollination,” he said.

For urban beekeeping, boxes measuring 1x1 ft could be either hanged from the wall or kept on the rooftop in shade. The terrace of a structure built on a 30x40 ft site can have two to three beekeeping boxes, according to Prof. Bhat.

Honey is more popular in foreign countries such as Germany where it is consumed as food compared to India where it is mostly used for medicinal purposes. This is evident from the fact that Germany accounts for 5 kg per capita consumption of honey against India’s 5 to 10 gm, he said.

Big premises

USA-B Vice-Chancellor K. Narayana Gowda said Bangalore was certainly ideal for beekeeping. “We are also focusing on educational institutions and government and private offices with large premises [to promote beekeeping],” he said.

Head of the Horticulture Department at UAS-B and Urban Krishi Mela organising secretary B.N. Sathyanarayana said that the university was trying to promote the concept of Urban Krishi Mela, including apiary, in urban as well as semi-urban areas.

For details on beekeeping in urban and semi-urban areas, contact the UAS-B’s Department of Apiculture on 080-23636346 or email nshankarbhat@gmail.com.

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