FLORAL MAP AND FLORAL CALENDAR FOR BEEKEEPERS
Till now you have learnt about the importance of plant species in beekeeping during different seasons. You may recall that flowers are not available during some period of a year. This period is called dearth period. Here come the importance of Floral Map and Floral calendar.
In scientific beekeeping, three species of bees viz. Indian hive bee, (Apis cerena indica), Italian bees (Apis mellifera) and the stingless bees (Trigona) have been successfully hived, managed and utilized for production of honey, other hive products and managed bee pollination.
Development of floral map and floral calendar of a particular locality /region is a prerequisite for planned stationary and migratory beekeeping with any of the bee species.
Preparation of the floral map and floral calendar can be done by adopting the following steps:
i) Through seasonal survey of the locality to identify nectar and pollen yielding plants and recording the bee activities.
ii) Recording flowering time and duration.
iii) Checking whether the flora is source of surplus honey collection or not.
It is very simple to identify a nectar and pollen yielding plant species in your locality. Simply observe the movement of bee around the flower. If the bees sit on the flower then it should be marked as nectar containing flower. Nectar collecting bees insert their tongue in the nectaries and identify the suitability of the flora for the source of pollen or nectar.
A person intending to start beekeeping must have adequate knowledge about the potentiality of bee flora of the locality within a radius of 1-3 km. Floral map and floral calendar related to beekeeping of different states are available. The beekeeper should collect such information and if not available, he/she should prepare the same for his/her locality.
Apis mellifera bees generally visit flowers within 1-3 km radius. The cerana indica covers 1-1.5 km. Thus, for a successful beekeeping, abundant bee flora with extended period of flowering should be available within this range around the apiary. Further, density of bee hives in a unit area depends upon richness of available flora. Over crowding of bee hives will lead to the poor honey yield as well as other complications such as drifting and robbing.
Based on the consistent surveys, the desired information is collected. This information can be depicted in various ways implying status of bee pasturage in relation to beekeeping.