Bee farming is a profitable venture. For many years, apiculture has been practiced as a part of agriculture in India. This is because keeping a beehive does not need a lot of money or effort. It doesn’t even need to be on fertile ground. It also has several advantages for farmers, since many plants and crops rely on bees for pollination.
Honey is a highly consumable food, medicine, and industrial product. As a result, there is a growing demand for pure, high-quality honey. Honey production is on the rise in India. You can practice bee farming totally for commercial purposes or as part of a crop rotation to boost crop productivity and earn additional money from honey. Let’s find out how this woman made 2 lakh per month from beekeeping.
Advantages of Beekeeping
Beekeeping needs fewer resources in terms of time, money, and equipment. Just by using a little area of non-agricultural land bee wax and honey can be obtained. Honey bees don’t compete with any other agricultural operation for resources. Beekeeping has a good impact on the environment. Bees help pollinate many flowering plants, increasing the output of crops like sunflowers and numerous fruits.
Honey is a tasty and nutrient-dense meal. Many wild bee colonies are destroyed by the conventional practices of honey harvesting. This can be avoided by keeping bees in boxes at home and making honey. You can start this business on your own or in groups. Honey and wax have a large commercial potential.
How this woman made 2 lakh per month from Beekeeping
The success story of Ms. Spoorthi
Ms. Spoorthi of Suryapet district, Telangana was an IT employee in Australia. However, after coming back to India she heard about bee farming from a friend and gained interest. She then trained herself in beekeeping with the help of experts and chose to invest in this, quitting her IT job. Although her family members suggested she enter agriculture, she chose bee farming and now she is earning high profits from producing honey.
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Because of the use of chemicals while cultivating various crops, honey bees are getting endangered and because of this, the honey production became less in various states of India which led to an increase in demand. She said that she observed this growing demand and also the increased usage of chemicals in available markets to store honey and chose to enter this business. She started with 5 boxes and it has now reached 300 boxes in just one year. To provide the buyers with natural honey is her main goal, says Ms. Spoorthi.
Selection of honey bee species according to Ms. Spoorthi
There are many bee species available but Ms. Spoorthi chose Apis Millifera bees as this species is simple to manage and at the same time can produce a high yield. The enzymes such as invertase, diastase, glucose, and oxidase, present in these bees when getting in contact with the nectar, can make the honey they produce nutritious and can also have many health benefits. For the farmers who want to start beekeeping, Ms. Spoorthi recommends they use Apis Millefera bees. They can be migrated easily from one place to another, she added.
Choosing the site according to Ms. Spoorthi
The first important step while starting beekeeping is to select the area where you have to place the boxes. You must select a site that has sunlight from morning till evening and should make sure there isn’t any dirty water pond nearby. The selected site must be near various flower plants that provide high nectar so that they are easily accessible to bees.
If the selected site doesn’t have many flower species near them, then the bees should be reared by the migration process, which involves transferring bees to various places, from time to time, that have to access at least two flower species. For 300 boxes you need to have at least 200 acres of land that grows various flowers and other plants. And also you must keep in mind that, you need to choose the plants that are free from insecticides and other chemical substances.
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In this case, you can select a land that is near to any organic farm since the plants are free from pesticides. If bees try to extract nectar from the plants that are cultivated by pesticides, it can result in bee deaths. Even for the organic farmers, the bees help in pollinating their plants which can help them get a high yield. In this way selection of the site plays a major role in beekeeping.
The procedure of Beekeeping according to Ms. Spoorthi
After starting with two boxes, Ms. Spoorthi believed this field is reliable. So after two months, she shifted to 50 boxes. She says you have to migrate these boxes to various places and repeat the cycle. This helps bees to gather the nectar of different flowers. If you choose not to migrate these boxes, then the honey you get from bees can be of less quantity and also differs in quality when compared to the honey produced by the above method.
Ms. Spoorthi says that she took these 50 boxes and migrated them all over Telangana where there is a source of flowers. She particularly chose to place these boxes near floral plants such as sunflowers for them to gain more nectar. She said that after testing the migration process with 50 boxes, she observed better yield and quality of honey the bees can produce. And now she is rearing bees in 300 boxes.
The bees can cover a radius of 2-5 kilometers to collect nectar. Each box contains a queen bee, drone bees, and workers bees. The life span of a queen bee is around 2 years. Worker bees live only for up to 45 days. a queen bee lays nearly 2000 eggs daily so there is a high chance of an increase in population. Once you observe this, introduce more boxes and now you can analyze the expansion rate of a bee farm. You can start with 20 boxes and then increase these to 100 boxes in just one year.
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As the honey produced by Ms. Spoorthi’s farm is organic, the color of honey can change from time to time. The color of honey is dependent on the type of flowers the bees collect nectar from. Not only color but the taste and thickness of honey are also dependent on the flower source from which the bees collect nectar. The honey color and quality is the color and quality of nectar collected by the bees.
You have to place boxes when the flowers are at the bud stage. The color of honey is different when the nectar is collected from the buds and when the nectar is collected from the bloomed flower. The average flowering period of a plant is 45 days. So you have to let the bees free for at least two months near the flowering source. After this, the honey can be collected from the boxes. by proper maintenance in this process, you can obtain high and quality yield says Ms. Spoorthi.
For beekeeping, if you choose a site near a forest area then you should examine if there are any wild bees in that area and if yes you should take proper precautions beforehand. Wild bees can kill our bees to steal the nectar and can also try to get into the boxes which can result in high deaths of bees. The boxes should be examined at least weekly once to check if the bees are facing any issues. If you observe any other insects in the box then they must be taken off from the boxes.
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Also while migrating the boxes from one place to another, you must be very careful cause if you commit any mistakes then it can result in the death of the bees. However, how hard you try there is always a little bit of loss while migrating bees, as some of the bees lose lives. You should make sure that the boxes are nailed and there is no gap for bees to escape. You should maintain your transport at a constant speed while shifting them.
If your driver drives the transport vehicle rashly, there is a high chance of for bees to die. Bees can also get prone to diseases if they collect nectar from the plants that are on insecticides. In this case, medication is also available for diseased bees. But as mentioned above if you use plants that are free from insecticides you can avoid this problem.
Marketing and profit analysis of Ms. Spoorthi’s farm
For one box, you get an average of 2 to 5 kgs of honey. So from 300 boxes, if you take 3 kg of honey per box, Ms. Spoorthi’s farm can produce an average of 900 kgs of honey per batch. The wholesale, she sells this amount of honey for 4 lakh rupees and she invests 2 lakh rupees per batch including labor cost and transportation cost. So her profit from one batch is nearly 2 lakh rupees per month, says Ms. Spoorthi. As there is a high demand there is no marketing problem for this business.
If you can produce quality honey then the buyers come to you themselves as they did in her case, she added. There is a scheme introduced by the central government known as the “sweet revolution” to provide financial aid for bee farmers. From this, you can get nearly 25% to 100% percent subsidy for your bee farm. In this way, Ms. Spoorthi is making nearly 2 lakh rupees profit per month by beekeeping. She suggests that young farmers utilize the subsidies given by the government to obtain high profits.
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You may mot experience high profits during the starting months. Although the profits can speed up in a very short time once you keep working consistently. As a literate farmer, she says that the private jobs which she used to do in the past cannot provide the satisfaction that she gets from beekeeping. Ms. Spoorthi is happy that she started beekeeping both financially and mentally and is now a proud owner of her bee farm earning lakhs.
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