Animal Husbandry

Lisotrigona– the Smallest Stingless Bees

Ajith Kumar V R
Ajith Kumar V R
Pic Courtesy - bioone.org,

Lisotrigona chandrai and Lisotrigona revanai are the smallest stingless bees discovered in India in 2017. They are the most difficult varieties to culture in artificial hives. Of these, one was found in Kerala and the other in Maharashtra. Prof. ShashidharViraktamath of Bangalore Agricultural University discovered L.revanai in Maharashtra. Dr.K.Sajan Jose, a zoology teacher at St. Joseph's College, Moolamattom discovered  L.chandrai at Kerala. The findings were published in The BioScan, an international publication.

White honey

L.chandrai is found in cut stone mounds, building foundations and tree trunks in Kannur and Kasaragod districts Kerala. The hives have a very small entrance. There are always two servants on guard. If disturbed, they will leave the queen and fly away. L.chandrai adopted the method of storing pollen on one side of the brood and honey on the other. Their eggs, pollen, and honey are white, so they are called white bees. These micro-colonies collect very little honey per year. Generally,honey bees produce 250-500 ml of honey a year, but L.chandrai produce one teaspoon of honey a year.  Culturing of stingless honey bee is known as meliponi culture. It is one of the oldest farming adopted by human beings. There are bees that give up to 5000 grams of honey per year. White honey  is an excellent nutrient and medicine for various ailments.

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