|Honey is used as a medicine and is an essential commodity in Ayurvedic remedies, yet it is not readily available in Varanasi (as it is in the States). Whatever honey is available, there is no way of knowing its purity. Recognizing the need for this much sought after item, we are pleased to put our efforts into availing the honey.
After almost a year learning about beekeeping and honey production with 15 bee colonies, we are getting ready to expand Amrit Sagar’s honey production efforts. Besides fulfilling a need for organic honey and making yet another step towards self sufficiency, this project is also of great interest and fun for children – they enjoy watching the bees and learning about them and their behavior. We plan to invite groups of school children to come for visits, as well as offer beekeeper training programs for students and farmers. This project will turn Amrit Sagar into an attraction for learning instantly. All the produce growing on the land will greatly benefit from the bees as well.
Step 1: Prepare the land for bees We already identified a 1500 square feet area just north of the gaushala (shelter for our 20 cows). We’ll start by fencing the area with bricks and bamboo to create a natural, friendly setting for the bees.
Step 2: Build 35 more bee boxes We’ll augment our 15 boxes with 35 more, to make a total of 50. Each box will house 5-7 frames full of bees depending on the size of the colony. A colony consists of a queen bee, male bees (drones), other female bees, worker bees, nurses bees, etc. All in all, we’ll have 50 wooden boxes and 250 frames with bees.
Step 3: Hire staff We are already working with Umeshji, an experienced beekeeper. Under his supervision, we’ll hire one full-time staff member who will reside at Amrit Sagar, care for the bees, and work other areas of the center as well.
Step 4: Bring in the bees!
Bee expert Umeshji
Bee box with iron stand