R. Jagadeeswara Rao

Bees need ten essential


Special microscope imported from Germany

VISAKHAPATNAM: A project to study the morphometry (study of physical features) and phylogeography (evolutionary pedigree) of honey bees and stingless bees has been taken up by the Department of Environmental Sciences, Andhra University. This network project involving Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology would bring together the States of AP, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir.

According to Solomon Raju, professor and Head of the Department, Environmental Science, after the study, it would be possible to identify areas which have the capacity for production of more honey. For this seven agri-climate zones had been identified in AP. Ten grids or places had also been selected in each zone from where 80 samples from all four species of bees would be collected. These species had been sent to labs in AU, Dharward (Karnataka) and Tamil Nadu for further study. While the rock bee which is ferocious is not manageable by man, others which are stingless are manageable by man for honey production. There is the queen bee and male bee, also called drone bee, which rest in a colony (thenepattu in Telugu). Worker bees or field bees which are not useful for fertility would go out of colony and collect food from different flowers. Prof. Solomon Raju said these field bees are very selective in choosing flowers where pollen is available as food. Colour, fragrance and size will be factors of consideration in this aspect. The nectar which is the liquid at the base of flower has sugar taste and this would finally be converted into honey. Bees need ten essential amino-acids and as these are not available in a single flower, there is need for ensuring flora diversity for getting good honey production. He said that this Rs.3 crore project for which a special microscope had been imported from Germany would have to be completed in three years.