A team of entrepreneurs from Pune has started a project to document Indian honey bees. Though the threat perception of bees has been documented worldwide, the team said it has not been done for Indian bees which are facing perhaps even greater threats of extinction. The team comprises Amit Godse and Chaitanya Vikas, who are software engineers by training, and Tushar Sarode and Om Prakash Kumra, who have a background in movie-making. They have taken up the documentary project through crowd funding via their enterprise Bee Basket Pvt Ltd. Sarode and Kumra have been entrusted with the technical nitty-gritty of making a documentary, Vikas is working on the theme and Godse is the technical expert of the team. Godse had left his career in 2013 to work in the field of honey bee conservation and has devised a method to relocated honey bees and collect honey from the hives without killing the bees.
Speaking about his desire to make the documentary, Godse said that such detailed work on Indian honey bees has not happened so far. “This is ironical as the Indo-Malaya region is supposed to the place of evolutionary origin of honey bees. While Europe and USA have only a single species of the insect, India has five such species,” he said.
Journals and research worldwide have been reporting about the decline in honey bee population across the world since 2006. In the USA, usage of certain pesticides has been banned for their detrimental effect on the honey bee population. Godse said that while Indian honey bees are facing similar threats, no documentation has been done about these. “Awareness about honey bees in India is generally less and even farmers are not aware of the immense importance they insects play in their crop cycle,” he said.
The team plans to make 12 documentaries of half hour duration each – five documentaries would capture the life of the five different species while two would talk about their importance for farmers and tribal populations, Godse said.
One of the major issues facing the team, Sarode said, was the lack of base data to start their work with. “Keeping aside the travel and transport aspect of the work, the lack of credible source of information to start our work is a major hindrance,” he said.
The team has recently finished around 3-4 days of shooting about the honey bee cultivators in Pune and the urban hives and plans to take up the next stage of shooting. Godse said the team will be covering the length and breadth of the country to document the bees.