Bee Basket, a Pune-based start-up that is working towards the promotion and conservation of honey bees, is planning to take the sting out of the bee. Amit Godse, founder of Bee Basket, is all set to promote the keeping of Trigona — a special type of honeybee that, he says, is stingless.
An avid apiarist, Godse has been at the forefront of relocating hives in urban areas without exterminating the bees. Over the years, mass extinction of bees — the most important pollinator in nature — has become a major cause of concern for agriculture. Bees carry pollen from male flowers and deposit the same into the female flowers during the course of their feed. Pollination is a crucial step in the life cycle of seed formation. Dip in the population of bees, Godse said has posed a major challenge in fruit formation of crops like onion and for fruits like mango, pomegranate etc.
In the urban areas, bee hives often come up in the ledges of homes or at multi storied buildings. Such hives, often cause more concern than joy for residents, who employ professional bee keepers to take down the hives. More often than not, the relocation of the hives lead to a complete destruction of the bees, as they are either killed or smoked out.
Godse added that the idea of sting-less bee keeping in urban areas came to him to during the course of his work as a hive locator. “Trigona, is the most common indigenous form of bee available in the country. Such bees normally hive at cracks of buildings or other dilapidated structures,” he said. Such bees do not sting. They bite but that too rarely, he added. The best part about these bees, Godse said, was that they require almost no maintenance and do not migrate from their boxes.
In a single box, about 10-15,000 bees can be accommodated, which can be kept for pollination in rooftop gardens, kitchen gardens or on ledges of balcony grills. “Unlike other bees, which requires tending, these bees do not require any maintenance. Once in three or four months the boxes can be opened to check population,” he said. The honey production of these bees, Godse said, was low but the honey they produce is supposed to have extensive medicinal properties.
Bee Basket plans to start commercial operations by mid-February. Initially, the services would be to promote bee keeping as a hobby. Various training programmes are also being organised to raise awareness about the services. Godse also plans to start ‘hire-a-pollinator’ services.