Farmers who are into apiculture keep ‘ rani makkhi (queen bee) in specially designed wooden boxes so that they may attract thousands of ‘labour bees’ to prepare sweet honey for queen bee.
Many progressive farmers in the region are into this business of bee keeping which ensures additional income. However, it has also attracted thieves. There have been many cases of ‘ honey bee thefts in different villages of Bulandshahr, Amroha and Saharanpur in the past one year.
Unidentified miscreants stole 120 boxes of honey bees from a village near Shikarpur town of Bulandshahar last week. A young farmer Deepak Tyagi of Beeta village lodged a complaint and requested the cops to nab the thieves because growing incidents of queen bee thefts were causing great damage to their business at the time of flowering.
“ It was peak time and we were planning to extract honey from the boxes after 10 days”, said Tyagi, claiming that 110 boxes were stolen from the neighbouring village a day before the theft of his boxes.
Farmers say cops treat incidents of honey bees theft in a very casual way, ignoring its contribution to the rural economy.
“ They don’t take it seriously and try to ignore it, considering it a theft of makkhi”, said Bharat Bhushan Tyagi, a progressive farmer who has been promoting organic farming for over two decades.
One box of honey bees on an average produces 40 to 60 kgs honey. Its wholesale rate in the market is between Rs 140 to 160 per kg. Therefore it can fetch good additional income to the farmer and 120 such boxes can amount to over Rs 1.5 lakh to the farmer in one season.
Deepak Tyagi claimed that the volume of produce was directly related to the quality of queen bee as a healthy queen laid more eggs to produce more labour bees which relentlessly collected pollen from flowers to produce honey for the food of queen bee.
Therefore, miscreants looked for healthy and quality queen bees so that they could earn more money by selling honey and honey bees.
Many farmers, however, appreciated the swift action of Amroha police against honey bee thieves when they arrested five persons in August on charges of stealing 75 boxes from Dabarsi village. “ They were on their way to sell the stolen boxes when we nabbed them”, said RP Sharma, SHO of Adampur police station in Amroha.
Two cases of bee theft were reported in Saharanpur last year where more than 200 boxes were stolen from two villages but police failed to nab the miscreants.