UKPCS Science Life Sciences_Economic Zoology: APICULTURE #26

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APICULTURE

What is apiculture?
Collection of honey from the forests has been in existence for a long time. Honey bees convert nectar of flowers into honey and store them in the combs of the hive and the growing market potential for honey and its products has resulted in bee keeping emerging as a viable enterprise. Honey and wax are the two economically important products of bee keeping. Bee keeping is an agro based enterprise for additional income generation.

Species of honey bees

Bee (Apis dorsata): They are good honey gathers with an average yield of 50-80 kg per colony.
Little bee (Apis florea):
They are poor honey yielders and yield about 200-900 g of honey per colony.
Indian bee (Apis cerana indica):
They yield an average honey yield of 6-8 kg per colony per year.
European bee [Italian bee] (Apis mellifera):
The average production per colony is 25-40 kg.
Stingless bee (Trigona iridipennis):
They have poorly developed stings and are available in Kerala. They are efficient pollinators. They yield 300-400 g of honey per year.

Bee products:

Honey
Honey is a popular bee product and is enjoyed by many.
Honey has been used for wound healing since biblical times. The widespread use of cheap antibiotics led to a decline in the use of honey, but the rise of antibiotic resistant pathogens such as MRSA has led to increasing use.

Pollen
There is much anecdotal evidence that the consumption of local pollen has a beneficial effect on hayfever sufferers. Definite medical evidence is lacking, and more research is needed.
Beeswax
Beeswax has long been used as a basis of many cosmetics and pharmacological preparations, mainly because it is stable and inert. It thus has few pharmacological properties of its own.

Propolis
Propolis is a resinous mixture that honey bees collect from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources. Propolis, which consists of a range of plant resins collected by the bees and used to seal holes in the hive, has been used for a variety of purposes

Bee venom
Bee venom consists of many components, the most important being the protein mellitin, which has a powerful anti-inflammatory action. Bee venom therapy is claimed to have effects on arthritis, bursitis, tendinitis and multiple sclerosis, but there have been few controlled studies.



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