Honey bees are, perhaps, one of the few insects that are found almost everywhere in the world. They have been around from 35 million years ago. Whereas, humans have inhabited the planet for only between 1.5 to 2 million years. Honey bees and humans are interconnected in many ways.
If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would have only four years of life left. No more animals, no more man. – Albert Einstein
Without bees, humankind is bound to become extinct, which is why we need to realize that we are partners in saving our planet.
Tit-bit about bees - gathered from beekeepers of Meghalaya:
It seems bees are very happy when there is enough rain because with sufficient rainfall more flowers and trees will grow and bloom. The surrounding environment will also be clean and healthy. According to the beliefs of the beekeepers, rainfall washes away all the diseases. The beekeepers know that, with more flowers, there will be more bees to collect the nectar, and they will be able to collect honey twice or thrice a year.
Bees are the wisest creature that nature has created because they can recognize the beekeepers who are healthy, smart and with good nature, who maintain cleanliness. Or else, the bees will not stay for too long in their beehives. Bees recognize beekeepers who steal others’ honeycombs with bees in them. And, the bees that come with the honeycomb will not stay with the beekeeper because they know that, it is not their real owner.
“The message behind this is for us to maintain a clean and healthy environment. It also tells us that the place where bees live always has a healthy environment.” Zizira explorer
Meet a beekeeper of Meghalaya
During one of the field visits, Zizira explorers met Bah Lection Nongrum, a beekeeper who lives in Umdihar, Lumsohmylleng village, Ri-Bhoi district, Meghalaya. Something in him sparked an interest in the team and they stayed to talk to him and find out more. Bah Lection started beekeeping in the year 2004, with just one beehive. Now, he has a total of 300, with 160 large and 140 smaller ones.
His passion for bee-keeping has also inspired his other four sons to practice this art. The sons are now married and practice beekeeping in their own respective villages - at Umkon, Mawtnum, Jintru and in Umdihar. They use the honey they collect for their own consumption, and also sell in the market.
What inspired him to start beekeeping?
Interestingly, Bah Lection did not learn the art of beekeeping from his father or family, but from his eldest son! His son had a keen interest and passion for beekeeping and learned the art on his own. Bah Lection Nongrum was thrilled to see the passion in his son and got inspired to start too.
He started making beehives with the wood pieces he cut from his own trees. Sometimes he would buy wood pieces from the saw mill and use those. To further improve his skills, he got an opportunity to work, train and learn from a government group from Assam.
Variety of honey he harvests
Bah Lection harvests wild floral honey, as the bees collect pollen and nectar from the wild flowers in the surrounding areas. Annually, he harvests honey twice in a year from the large beehives, once during the month of December and another between April to May. And, once a year, in the month of December, from the smaller beehives.
Bah Lection collects around 300 Kgs of honey per year. Unfortunately, the supply in 2017 season was not as good as it was in the previous years. The reason being, heavy rain and hailstorms, which spoiled all the wild flowers. The bees could not collect much pollen and nectar.
After harvesting, he takes the honey he collected to Iewduh, the wholesale market in Shillong. He sells either loose (ie. by weight) or in packed bottles. His customers know his honey and as soon as news travels that he is selling his honey in the market, people would find him and buy his honey immediately! He also sells his honey at Motphran and Police Bazar, two other popular markets in Shillong. His honey is so dearly loved that people who know him would go directly to his home to buy. This is the kind of honey that Zizira procures and brings to consumers like you through our eStore. Buy Zizira’s Honey and see for yourself.
Bah Lection feeds and support his family from the money he earns from selling his honey and by working as a field labor, ploughing the paddy field, growing ginger and cultivating weeds that are made into broomsticks.
Want to know more? Contact us
Hope you enjoyed reading one more of our stories on a traditional farmer. Team Zizira is always keen to explore the less known territories of Meghalaya, looking for undiscovered produce with which to create natural, healthy products for customers like you. And, we share our stories of explorations.
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