PUNE: After strawberries, its bee-keepers who faced the brunt of incessant rainfall in Mahabaleshwar this year.
Due to extended rainfall in the State, almost 90 per cent of the bee colonies connected with the Mahabaleshwar Madhusagar Co-operative Society were damaged.
The honey production which starts in October this year will be delayed and the bee-keepers are uncertain about the production.
“I had 40 bee boxes of bee colonies. Now, there are only five. The continuous rainfall has caused huge damage to the bee colonies.” said Sanjay Gaikwad, President, Mahabaleshwar Madhotpadak Co-operative Society.
“The intense rain caused the growth of fungus in the bee boxes, due to which bees died. They were unable to go out and get food and were unable to survive. Usually, the production starts in October but this year we do not have enough strong colonies for honey production,” said Gaikwad.
As many as 500 active beekeepers have been part of Mahabaleswar Madhotpadak Co-operative Society, also known as Madhusagar. The Society is supported by the Khadi Village Industries Board (KVIB). These beekeepers are mostly based in Mahabaleshwar, Wai and Jawli talukas of Satara district.
Gaikwad added, “This year, the production will start only in December, and it will take a month or two for these colonies to become stronger. We are unsure about the production as it depends on the flowering. Last year, we produced around 30 tonnes, but this year we are unsure about the production.”
“I had 30 bee boxes with colonies, of which only four are remaining. Due to the intense and heavy rain, production will be delayed this time as it will take a couple of months for the colonies to become stronger, which depends on flowering and then only the collection of honey might start,” said Pravin Ringe, Director of Mahabaleswar Madhotpadak Co-operative Society.
Vitthal Rajpure, another bee-keeper from Mahabaleshwar said, “I had 100 to 150 colonies but due to continuous rainfall only 15 colonies are left. Almost 90 per cent of my colonies have been damaged. Every year, we used to migrate to the Konkan area during rain. But we could not do so this time since it was raining there as well. However, the situation concerning the production of honey this year will be clearer in the coming fortnight.”
“The heavy and continuous downpour in Mahabaleshwar has caused huge damage to the bee colonies. Only 10 per cent of bee colonies are left in the bee boxes of these beekeepers. This intense and continuous rain has delayed the production. It will take at least a month for the colonies to become stronger but still the production is uncertain as it depends completely on flowering. Jamun was one of the important source, but there are chances that not every year there is enough flowering of jamun. However, the situation will be clear by the end of the month,” said DR Patil, Director, Directorate of Bee-Keeping, Mahabaleshwar, KVIB.