Earning profit from stingless honeybee farming
Kodancherry: Thottumuzhi Kadamkulam native Sibi has been engaging in meliponiculture or stingless honeybee (cheru theneecha) farming for the past 15 years. Compared to normal honey, stingless honey (cheruthen) has more medicinal qualities. It has high demand both within the country and abroad.
The honey bee nests he maintains around his house earns him a good profit. He started honey bee farming with one single beehive, but it has now grown into 140 now. The medicinal power of stingless honey increases its demand. Rs 1500 can be earned from one litre honey.
Many of the beehives were damaged due to various diseases 5 years ago and only three beehives were left. Sibi used these three beehives and developed more honey bee colonies by dividing them. Now he has expanded farming to the house compound too. Mud pot, bamboo culms and old vessels can be used to make the honey bee colonies. Two litre volume capacity is ideal for a nest.
The months of December and January are the best time to divide honey bee colonies. March is the suitable month for harvesting. At least one year is needed to start harvesting honey from new colonies. From 600 milliliter to 1 litre honey can be collected from one beehive.
Sibi has a 3.5-acre plot. He follows an integrated farming method which involves cow and goat farming as well. He sets a model which needs no dependence on farming crops. These types of farmers are not disheartened by the price fall of rubber and coconut.