Novel and innovative techniques in Meliponiculture in Kerala. The current status of knowledge


Scientific Study, 2016

40 Pages


Excerpt

Table of contents

Table of figures

Table of tables

List of abbreviations

Abstract

1. Introduction

2. Review of literature

3. Materials and Methods
3.1 Study area
3.2 Study design and data collection
3.3 Statistical analysis

4. Results and discussion
4.1 Anthropogenic habitats
4.2 Domesticated habitats
4.3 Types of nests used in Meliponiculture
4.4 Methods of stingless bee colony capturing
4.5 Hives that can be dismantled
4.6 Hives that “cannot be dismantled”
4.7 Trap nest preference
4.8 Trapping the colony using plastic bottle
4.9 Method of colony division
4.10 Use of conventional nests
4.11 Specially designed PVC pipe nest
4.12 Earthen bowl
4.13 Coconut shell
4.14 Honey extraction
4.15 Pest and disease management
4.16 Honey storage and use
4.17 Innovations in Meliponiculture

5. Conclusions

References

Novel and innovative techniques in Meliponiculture in Kerala: current status of knowledge

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Firstly we thank God Almighty whose blessing were always with us and helped us to complete this research work successfully.

The first author is extremely grateful to Dr. Sajeshkumar N.K (Head of the Department, Biotechnology) for the valuable suggestions, support and encouragements.

The first author would wish to thank beloved Manager Rev. Fr. Dr. George Njarakunnel, respected Principal Dr. V.J. Joseph, Bursar Shaji Augustine, Vice Principal Fr. Joseph Allencheril, and the Management for providing all the necessary facilities in carrying out the study.

We lovingly and gratefully indebted to our teachers, parents, siblings and friends who were there always for helping us in this project.

Table of figures

Figure 2. Different types of bee nests a) hives placed on the stand; b) PVC pipe nest; c) earthen pot nest; d) nest in coconut shell; e) bamboo pole nest; f) earthen bowl nest exposed; g) log nest; h) nest in garden pot; i) two tier earthen bowl nest. 14

Figure 3. Colony capturing techniques a) mud pots using clay as sealant with granite support; b) collection and transfer of stingless bees using pet bottles; c) eduction using funnel and plastic tube; d) mud pots using clay as sealant with brick support. 15

Figure 4. Honey extraction methods a) exposing coconut shell for honey extraction; b) extraction from coconut shell; c) detached honey pots in stainless steel plate with extraction knife; d) honey pots placed on muslin cloth stretched over stainless steel utensil; e) honey pots exposed to sunlight for filtration; f) wooden box exposed for honey extraction. 16

Figure 5. Different types of bee nests a) absconded nest; b) new nest; c) resin coated nest. 21

Figure 6. Colony capturing techniques a) mud pots using clay as sealant with granite support ; b) plastic tube fitted at the entrance to prevent tunnel creation; c) eduction from wooden pillar using plastic tube and earthen pot; d) and e) eduction using funnel and plastic tube; f) collection and transfer of stingless bees using pet bottle. 22

Figure 7. Detachable PVC pipe nest with separate honey chamber a) bottom brood chamber exposed; b) brood chamber with entrance tube; c) brood chamber closed with wooden piece having a hole at the centre; d) feeding bottle fitted on the entrance tube; e) PVC nest with top honey chamber. 23

Figure 8. Enemies of stingless bee a) crab spider capturing bees while foraging; b) red ants attacking bees; c) assassin fly attacking stingless bees; d) stingless bees trapped on spider web; e) lizard attacking stingless bees; f) waps nesting on bee hive. 24

Figure 9. Stingless bee worker foraging on a) Ixora parviflora, b) Tagetus sp., c) Artocarpus heterophyllus, d) Celosia sp., e) Urena lobata, f) Euphorbia heterophylla, g) Anthricum andrianum, h) Lilium candidum. 25

Figure 10. Different types of bee nests a) bee hive with partition board; b) bee veil; c) earthen bowl splitter box; d) and f) bee hive with detachable bottom and lid; e) wooden splitter box. 28

Figure 11. Different types of observation hives a) wooden box nest with transparent sheet; b) observation hive with glass top; c) observation hive with plastic sheet; d) exposed glass observation hive; e) glass hive with wooden cover; f) observation hive with LED lights exposed; g) LED lighted observation hive with wooden cover. 29

Table of tables

Table 1. Vegetable crops as a source of nectar and pollen for Trigona iridipennis Smith in Kerala

Table 2. Fruit crops as a source of nectar and pollen for Trigona iridipennis Smith in Kerala

Table 3. Condiments and spices as a source of nectar and pollen for Trigona iridipennis Smith in Kerala

Table 4. Field crops as a source of nectar and pollen for Trigona iridipennis Smith in Kerala

Table 5. Trees as a source of nectar and pollen for Trigona iridipennis Smith in Kerala.

List of abbreviations

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Abstract

Stingless bees are highly social insects which populated the tropical earth 65 million years ago longer than honey bees. They are limited to tropics and subtropics lacking venom apparatus and cannot sting. A little is reported so far about the domestication of the Trigona iridipennis Smith as well as the aspects of Meliponiculture in Kerala. Based on these back ground, the objectives of this study were to 1) to characterize the various Meliponiculture techniques and management practices 2) the new techniques evolved for Meliponiculture practices and management as well as value addition of stingless bee products. Hundred and twenty farmers across Kerala engaged in Meliponiculture were interviewed and their Meliponiculture practices were observed and recorded. A questionnaire was prepared and distributed among the farmers to learn their depth of knowledge in stingless bee keeping techniques and to study the current status of Meliponiculture. In earthen bowl and coconut shell methods it is very advantageous to collect honey without causing any disturbance to the brood chamber that is at the bottom. In PVC pipe and coconut shell the colony often desert in summer due to high temperature. Even though the bamboo nodes are good, they are found to degenerate after few years through the attack of wood borers. Stingless bee rearing is an important activity as it helps pollination and provides honey for various purposes. The bottle neck for Meliponiculture includes availability of colonies to start with, better techniques for colony capture, colony multiplication, honey extraction, processing and marketing. This study highlights the various drawbacks and flaws of traditional Meliponiculture in Kerala, which could be rectified using improved scientific management practices and tools. If correctly informed disseminated these techniques could be utilized by tribal, woman, old aged people and even children to fetch an extra income and also to serve the high demand of stingless bee honey and help to maintain the rich biodiversity of Kerala

Keywords: Trigona iridipennis Smith; Anthropogenic habitats; Meliponiculture; Eduction techniques

1. Introduction

The art and science of keeping stingless bees for honey, pollen, resin, ecological services is called Meliponicultre. This has been practiced even during Mayan culture and in different parts of Latin America (Kent, 1984; Sommeijer et al., 2003; Ayala et al., 2013). In Costa Rica, Meliponiculture is practiced in two ways: 1) maintain colonies in tree trunks, from which honey is extracted through a lateral opening and 2) keeping the colonies in small wooden boxes, bamboo poles or in hollow gourds (Van Veen et al., 2000). In Brazil, for most people it is a fast growing secondary economic activity (Cortopassi-Laurino et al., 2006). Melipona bocandei, the largest stingless bee in Angola produces 10-15 kg honey per year (Armor, 2005). The stingless bee keepers usually keep their colonies in log hives, generally hanging from the eves of their houses. Special places for meliponiary are built away from the houses (Cortopassi-Laurino et al., 2006). Stingless bees are effective pollinators, and keeping them for pollination services is now beginning to take root in southern Asia (India) and South-East Asia (Malaysia and Philippines) (Heard, 1994; Heard, 1999; Cortopassi-Laurino et al., 2006). In Kerala, stingless bee rearing is a traditional activity in rural households without going into the science or economics. Compared to Apiculture this is not vigorously promoted. But in the changing eco-economic scenario, Meliponiculture has great potential in pollination and supplementary income generation.

2. Review of literature

Stingless bees originated in the earth 65 million years ago longer than honey bees and are limited to tropics and subtropics. They belong to five different genera; Melipona, Trigona, Meliponula, Dectylurina and Lestrimelitta which plays a vital role in plant pollination ( with an estimation that 30% of the human food is derived from bee pollinated crops ( et al., 2006). Stingless beekeeping is known as meliponiculture undertaken by traditional communities ( Unlike most bee species that live solitary lives, the stingless bees (Apidae, Meliponini) and the true honey bees (Apidae, Apini) are highly social (‘eusocial’) and have complex and long lasting colonies (Michener, 1974). The stingless bee found in Kerala is Trigona iridipennis Smith also called ‘dammer bees’ locally known as ‘Cherutheneecha’ in Malayalam (Singh, 2013).

Trigona iridipennis Smith are kept in India for centuries for the high medicinal value of honey as well as propolis and bee wax (Rasmussen, 2013; Cortopassi-Laurino et al., 2006; Virkar et al., 2014; Kumar et al., 2012; Andualem, 2013; Choudhari et al., 2013; Choudhari et al., 2012; Rasmussen, 2013; Virkar et al., 2014). The honey fetches high price due to its less productivity as well as high demand from pharmaceutical sector (Kumar et al., 2012). Impact of anthropogenic influences on honey bees were already reported by Basavarajappa (2010). Trigona iridipennis Smith are seen in all places across Kerala, in natural conditions were human beings and other predators do not have easy acess. Recent studies also showed the various nesting behaviour of Trigona iridipennis Smith in natural habitat as well as its adaptability various antroropoegnic habitats (Virkar et al., 2014; Singh, 2013; Nair and Nair, 2001; Kumar et al., 2012; Jose and Thomas, 2012; Jose and Thomas, 2013).

A little is reported so far about the domestication of the Trigona iridipennis Smith as well as the aspects of Meliponiculture in Kerala. Based on these back ground, the objectives of this study were to 1) to characterize the various Meliponiculture techniques and management practices 2) the new techniques evolved for Meliponiculture practices and management as well as value addition of stingless bee products.

3. Materials and Methods

3.1 Study area

Kerala state covers an area of 38,863 km2 with a population density of 859 per km2 and spread across 14 districts. The climate is characterized by tropical wet and dry with average annual rainfall amounts to 2,817 ± 406 mm and mean annual temperature is 26.8°C (averages from 1871-2005; Krishnakumar et al ., 2009). Maximum rainfall occurs from June to September mainly due to South West Monsoon and temperatures are highest in May and November (Figure 1).

3.2 Study design and data collection

Hundred and twenty farmers across Kerala engaged in Meliponiculture were interviewed and their Meliponiculture practices were observed and recorded. A questionnaire was prepared and distributed among the farmers to learn their depth of knowledge in stingless bee keeping techniques and to study the current status of Meliponiculture. The plus and minus points of various stingless bee keeping techniques and management practices were identified by regular meliponairy visits. In addition, twenty five stingless bee colonies were maintained and cross checked with the techniques used by the farmers. Necessary modifications were made by trial and error method with the collective knowledge gathered from the farmers. Further improvements developed and tested in order to compensate it the collective techniques were found to be below optimum.

A meliponiary with 70 stingless bee colonies were specifically selected for the study. Three types of hives (absconded, box with inside resin coating and box without resin coating), ten numbers of each kind, were added to this meliponiary. The boxes were deployed during growth period (Sept-Dec). The boxes were kept under observation throughout the year. The nests occupied with the new swarms were noted and replaced with empty new nests of the representative type in each year.

3.3 Statistical analysis

Descriptive statistics using SPSS 12.0 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA) were conducted to summarize the data.

4. Results and discussion

4.1 Anthropogenic habitats

Trigona iridipennis Smith is seen in forest/wild as well as in natural habitats. The major natural habitats include the living trunks of different tree species especially teak (Tectona grandis Linn), jack fruit (Artocarpus integrifolius), wild jack fruit (Artocarpus hirsutus Lam.), cycas (cycas sphaerica) and mango (Mangifera indica L). Usually Trigona iridipennis Smith occupies in tree trunks of diameter above 30 cm and levels of few centimetres above the ground. They build the nests on trees which have hollow spaces due to decay or rotting of the stem or braches which arise due to insect attack, disease as well as physical damage. In central Travancore majority of the nests in the tree trunks was seen on Maruthu (Terminalia paniculata) and at coastal areas it was poovarasu (Hopea glabra). It may be because both these trees have lot of cavities in their trunk, as farmers cut their branches regularly for mulching. In addition, the nest were also observed on telephone posts where cable box were installed, wooden master control box for power supply, air outlet pipes of latrines etc.

4.2 Domesticated habitats

The major domesticated habitats for Trigona iridipennis Smith across Kerala were wooden boxes (standing as well as hanging), earthen pot and vessel, garden pot, bamboo nodes, log nests, pith removed areca nut stems, earthen pipe, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe, asbestos pipe, and coconut shell. The wooden boxes were made of mostly ‘Maruthu’ (Terminalia paniculata) or any hard wood of comparatively less commercial value. The size and dimensions of the wooden hives were also different. Some boxes have a dimension of 12 x 12 x 34 cm, while the hanging ones were often less dimension (10 x 10 x 36 cm). In some places farmers adopt the compartmentalization of nests, where separate chambers are provided for honey storage as well as brood rearing. Variety of materials were used for hanging the boxes which includes, ropes made out of coconut husk, plastic rope, even insulated electrical wires or steel wire. Usually the ropes were coated with neem oil, grease or used engine oil to repel ants and other walking predators to reach the nest.

The PVC pipes were also used for rearing the bees. The ends of the pipes were closed with end blocks having hole at the centre or coconut shells where the outer surface faces to outside. Holes were usually made on one of the master eye of the coconut shell which is quite easy to pierce and open to get a perfect circular lesion. Earthen pots as well as vessels were employed for keeping Trigona iridipennis Smith. Usually pots of different sizes were used depending on the availability ranging from 3-5 litre capacity. The most common one have a neck size of 16 cm diameter and were usually closed using wooden plank. The ring shaped neck was tied with ropes and hanged at the eves of house or sheds.

[...]

Excerpt out of 40 pages

Details

Title
Novel and innovative techniques in Meliponiculture in Kerala. The current status of knowledge
College
Mar Augusthinose College
Authors
Year
2016
Pages
40
Catalog Number
V351143
ISBN (eBook)
9783668380042
ISBN (Book)
9783668380059
File size
1260 KB
Language
English
Notes
This text was written by a non-native English speaker. Please excuse any errors or inconsistencies.
Tags
stingless bees, Kerala, Meliponiculture
Quote paper
Prem Jose Vazhacharickal (Author)Sajan Jose K (Author), 2016, Novel and innovative techniques in Meliponiculture in Kerala. The current status of knowledge, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/351143

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