From an IT engineer to Pune’s ‘bee man’, know the journey of Amit Godse
These are the box bees (Apisceranaindica), that we are going to relocate into a box. Their hives are in dark hidden places and in this case, an upturned empty round flower pot. The pot has a narrow opening hence making the dark dinghy corners the most preferred by these bees,” a 32-year-old Amit Godse informed Jayashree Jog, owner of the Bungalow Pranjal.
People call Godse to remove and relocate bees from their gardens, air conditioners and door jambs. A mechanical engineer, working with an IT company as a software developer, Godse was drawn towards bees after he saw a destroyed beehive in his residential society.
It was in 2013 when a bee colony was destroyed by a pest control company at his residential society. “It was sad to see them lying dead on the ground and it disturbed me that we all want honey but we don’t want the bees. This made me think if I can do anything to save them,” he said.
Thus began his bee conservation campaign in the city. He founded a social enterprise called Bee Basket Enterprises Private Limited in 2016 with five like-minded people and now works full time rescuing bees from people’s homes and gardens and relocating them to various parts of the city. There are a total 18 bee boxes in the city. Amit charges Rs.1,000 to Rs.2,000 to help rescue and relocate bees in the city.
Amit was trained at the Central Bee Research and Training Institute and has also visited tribals and farmers who knew traditional methods for handling bees. He has also travelled to various parts of India to learn various techniques for understanding bees.
Amit and his team member Pravin Patil, trained from Kolhapur, work together where Patil very gently uses his hands to distract the bees. To avoid sting to the face, both wear a bee well, a cover for the face, while Pravin also wears a standard industrial gloves. They take care not to destroy any of the bees in the process and sometimes it takes more than two hours to remove a beehive. this is not an easy task as in the case of box bees, seven to nine parallel hives are usually present. “The idea is to allow them to harvest honey as well as allow bees to breed and multiply,” he says.
Using a coconut husk, Patil smokes out the bees to avoid getting stung. This organic smoke helps distract them, giving him time to reach into the hives. “This is a strong colony with 60, 000 bees and this colony also has a good number of drones (male bees),” points out Amit as he shows us pollens and eggs lined in a perfect line in tiny holes in the hive, dripping honey.
Till date Amit has saved and relocated 800 beehives. “These bees thrive better in the city, with high rise buildings, open gardens and house plants offering them the pollens to last. According to my research, I found out that there very less bees surviving in the forests as well as farms where pesticide usage is usually very high. My aim is to save as many bees that I can in India, only then can we really value the hard work that goes into making honey.,” said Amit.
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