The Beekeeper’s Companion Since 1861
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- November 1, 2023 - (excerpt)

The Nepalese Department of Industrial Entomology Development is establishing a queen bee breeding center near Chitwan, Nepal. Chitwan is located on the Gangetic plain, which is a vast 145,000 sq. mile (375,000 sq. km) rich agricultural plain shared by Nepal and India. There is widespread concern amongst beekeepers in Nepal that the current average yield of about 90 lb. of honey per hive (40 kg) is low by international standards. Beekeepers believe that the low yield is partly the result of inbreeding and lack of genetic diversity, although there is no evidence of this or visible signs of inbreeding in colonies. A two-week training course in instrumental insemination was successfully given to government scientists and university staff, with a follow-up advanced instrumental insemination course planned for early 2024. It is hoped to increase yield per hive to 130 lb. in about five years. The predominant bee in Nepal for pollination and honey collection is Apis mellifera; if the project proves successful, queen breeding may be extended to the managed Apis cerana population, which is also widely used in Nepal. The program includes the establishment of five private queen-rearing centers that will produce 100,000 quality queens annually. The project is funded partly by USAID with implementation assistance provided by Catholic Relief Services.

— Dr. Robert Owen