The Society for Technology Development (STD), part of the Department of Science and Technology, government of India has developed a simple technology that can increase honey production. This ‘mud hive technology’, which has been used in Himachal Pradesh, is a combination of wall hive and wooden hive technology, with a habitat like a wall hive. It has inbuilt provision for putting frames inside the mud hive and more favorable conditions, especially temperature for bees throughout the year as compared to wooden hives.
The technology has brought about better colony growth & less swarming as compared to earlier used wooden boxes because of the favorable conditions they created.
Farmers have improved pollination by adopting mud hive beekeeping technology which has enhanced apple production resulting in an increase in the income of apple growers 1.25 times. Society for farmers Development, Talhar, District Mandi under TIME-LEARN program of SEED Division, DST in technical collaboration with Dr. Y.S.Parmar UHF, Regional Horticultural Research Station (RHRS) Bajaura, introduced this technology for indigenous bees (Apis cerena) in Jawalapur village, Balichoki Block of Distt. Mandi H.P. A total of 45 farmers were involved, and 80 mud hives fabricated by trained farmers were put in their apple orchards, covering a total of 20 hectares in 6 villages.
Introduction of indigenous bees, which can survive better in the apple growing areas, to replace the Italian bees through this technology has helped increase the average productivity of apple orchards by around 25 percent. In existing mud hives, provisions for easy cleaning inside mud hive were introduced by putting aluminum sheets at the base of mud hive. This sheet is sealed with cow dung paste and can be removed for cleaning without opening the mud hive. The rooftop of mud hive was also made up of stone slate, which gives better protection and maintains favorable temperature inside mud hive. The technology has also helped in the extraction of honey in hygienic manner using honey extractors as in wooden boxes and introduced better management practices, such as feeding, inspection, union, and division of colonies as compared to traditional wall hives.
STD has set up a common facility center (CFC) has been established in the village, and farmers have been trained in processing and packing honey. The honey fetches Rs. 500-600/kg at the farm gates.