Bees for Development Journal Edition 21- December 1991

Page 17





]4 7181 km2 (56 827 square miles)

Population GNP



$150 per capita (one of the financially poorest countries). Agriculture accounts for 65% of GNP.


Main agriculture Jute, maize, millet, oilseeds, potatoes, rice, sugar, wheat.

Honey bees Apis cerana, Apis dorsata, Apis florea, Apis laboriosa. Apis mellifera (recently introduced by man).

Interviews conducted by BETRESP (see below) indicate that the number of honey bee colonies is decreasing: this reflects the environmental degradation which is occurring throughout Nepal.

Beekeeping Traditional beekeeping practices in log and wall hives. The latter are cavities within house walls where bees build their nests: this type of hive offers good protection against pine martens. Various frame hives for Apis cerana have been introduced, and in recent years lowtechnology top-bar hives have been developed and promoted. Comb spacing for Apis cerana is 30 mm.

Honey hunting of Apis dorsata/laboriosa colonies is widely practised.


Cc the Ministry of Agriculture in co-operation with The Netherlands Development Organization. Duration: six years, 1987-1993. BETRESP, SNV/Nepal, PO Box 1966, Kumaripati, Lagankhel. Lumle Agricultural Centre c/o BTCO, PO Box 106, Kathmandu.

Other activities have been funded by Save the Children Fund/USA and ActionAid Nepal. Many NGO's in Nepal are involved with beekeeping promotion. The Exploration of genetic diversity in Himalayan honey bees is a regional project to conserve Apis cerana. Further details in Beekeeping and Development 20, page 6.

Melliferous vegetation


Most of Nepal lies on the southern slopes of the Himalayas extending down from the highest peaks, through hill country to the northern edge of the Ganges Plain. The country can be divided into distinct zones: the Himalayas which are forested up to the tree line, the hilly central area (500-1000m)} and the Terai. As honey bees are native pollinators there is an abundance of melliferous vegetation. Forests are Nepal's major natural resource, but these are disappearing rapidly. In the Himalayas are Rhododendron spp and many other flowering trees. In the cultivated valleys are Brassica sp and other temperate crops and herbaceous plants. At the foot of the Himalayas are sal Shorea robusta woodlands. In the Terai are all the usual tropical bee plants including litchi Litchi chinensis and mango Mangifera indica.

Gordon Temple organises training courses using Apis cerana kept in top-bar hives. Contact J Gordon Temple, Community Progress Nepal, Bansbari, PO Box 3191, Kathmandu.

AAA chapter Mr Krishna K Shrestha, Beekeeping Training &

Extension Support Project, Godawari, Kathmandu.

Beekeeping department Industrial Entomology Centre, GPO Box 436, Kathmandu.

Projects Current: Beekeeping Training and Extension Support Project (BETRESP). Implemented by

A top-bar five

for Apis verdad

Association Nepal Beekeepers’ Association, Jamal Ranipokhari, PO Box 1934, Kathmandu.

A traditional wall hive,

closed at the front with

Equipment manufacturers

a decorated stone

Himalayan Bee Concern, Chobhar Gate, PO Box 126, Kathmandu.

Photographs by Henk van Blitterswijk.

Honey bee predators and diseases Mites: Tropilaelaps clareae, Tropilaelaps koenigerum, Varroa jacobsoni, Varroa underwoodi,

Thai sacbrood virus (in the early 1980s this virus killed an estimated 90% of all Apis cerana colonies in Nepal}. Pine martens Martes flavigula are regarded as the most serious predators of colonies kept in hives. Ants, wasps and hornets also cause problems.

Honey The average yield from one traditional hive containing Apis cerana is about 5 kg per year. Plundering of Apis dorsata/laboriosa colonies yields greater amounts of honey typically 20 kg honey per colony.

Further re ading


Thereis a


rel tively large

literature on the bees and



beekeeping of Nepal: many articles, papers and reports are held in the IBRA library. Two particularly relevant, recent publications are:


R (1991} Beekeeping in integrated mountain development.

Aspect Publications Ltd; Edinburgh UK {al

Oxford and IBH Publishing Co Pvt Ltd, India); 367 pp.


D (1988)

Honey hunters of Nepal. Thames & Hudson; London, UK; 104 pp.