Beekeeping for honey and other bee products is an age old practice. Besides the popular honeybees, Apis cerana and Apis mellifera, stingless bees belonging to the tribe Meliponini, subfamily Apinae and family Apidae (Michener, 2007) are also reared for honey, having high medicinal value. Stingless bees are exclusive to tropics and their size ranges from 2mm to slightly bigger than the popular honeybee A. mellifera (O'Toole & Raw, 1999). The practice of keeping stingless bees is called meliponiculture, and once it was an integral part of the culture of indigenous people of South and Central America. It held a social and religious significance in the meso-American culture, mainly the ancient Mayans (Sommeijer, 1999). Stingless bee products such as honey, wax and propolis formed a small-scale economy in their livelihood as well (Cortopassi-Laurino et al., 2006). Although least explored, meliponiculture is an age old practice in India also. Kani tribe in Western Ghats is the only reported reference, keeping stingless bees (Kumar et al., 2012). Trigona iridipennis is the widespread stingless bee species in the Indian subcontinent and used for meliponiculture.
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Published by: National Cave Research and Protection Organization, India
<Environmental Science+Zoology+Geology+Cave Science>AMBIENT SCIENCE