We visit a beekeeping farm to get a behind-the-scenes look into the production of monofloral honey
Also read about how you can keep bees in your own urban garden
On an overcast Friday morning, we headed out to Devanahalli to visit Bee Global farms, a centre for beekeeping and training in all things to do with bees and honey. The trip was organised by QNET Busy Bee, the honey manufacturers, to give us a peek into how they make their all natural, monofloral honey. Green and buzzing with activity (no pun intended), the farm was a welcome change from the concrete jungle we left behind. After a drink of honey and lime when we reached, Dr Anita Mohandas took us on a tour of the farm and its various facilities.
While walking along the plants, we noticed little boxes dotting the farm. These boxes house the worker, drone and queen bees which collect pollen from various plants growing in the farm and make the precious honey. The honey is then collected during the flowering season from the honeycombs. Natural and pure honey undergoes no treatment, except the removal of moisture from the liquid, before bottling.
Anita then explained to us what monofloral honey is. As the name suggests, monofloral honey is made from only one variety of flower. This means that all the nectar that the bees are collecting belongs to only one plant species. Monofloral honey can range from chestnut honey to avocado honey. In India, the popular varieties are tulsi and lychee. The ones offered by Busy Bee are jamun, eucalyptus and Indian laurel.
Since the nectar is derived from these plants, the honey has certain nutritional values of the plants too, which you cannot get from simply infusing the honey with artificial flavours. The jamun, for example, has a calming effect, while the Indian laurel (part of the fig family) is an energy booster. This combined with honey’s inherent antifungal, antibiotic and antiseptic properties makes monofloral honey, as Anita says, “truly one of our own superfoods.”
Beekeeping as a hobby
Beekeeping is not just useful to make honey, it is also great for your garden and for the environment in general. Reports of the bee population declining at an alarming rate are troublesome because of their role in the pollination of plants. But one can help the cause, even if one lives in the city. You can keep a box of bees in your terrace garden or your backyard. One box has around 40,000 bees and that can give you about 5 kilograms of honey per flowering season. Having bee-friendly plants in your garden really helps, and in fact, the yield of the produce will be doubled if you have bees. Some common bee-friendly plants are okra, eggplant, sunflower, watermelon and guava.
Rs. 1,640 for a pack of three. Available online