The tradition of honey production in Nepal dates back a long time. Honey has been regarded as a treasure by 'honey hunters' since the early centuries. In the Hindu culture honey is regarded as one of the five 'Amrit', heavenly foods. Together with cowmilk, yoghurt, ghee and sweet syrup (molasses), honey is offered during worship. Honey also plays a role in the Hindu wedding ceremony in which 'Kasaar', a sweet made out of roasted rice and honey, is offered to the guests.
The medicinal qualities of honey are commonly recognized in Nepal. Ayurvedic medicines are often taken together with honey, and in rural Nepal pure honey is being used as a disinfectant, a cough medicine and a digestive.
In Nepal bees build their nests in different ways. One of the most fascinating kind are the huge combs made by giant bees hanging from mountain cliffs. These combs can measure up to two metres and contain as much as fourty kilo of honey. In many parts of Nepal bees can be found in hollow tree-trunks in the forest. Villagers here keep bees in carved out logs, attached to the walls of the house.
n other parts of the country bees are kept in wallhives, a cavity inside the wall of the house, with a small opening for the bees towards the outside and a window indoors which the beekeepers opens to harvest honey.
Nowadays a growing number of Nepali beekeepers keep their colonies in frame hives. In these modern hives bees build their combs within a wooden frame, which can easily be taken out. This simplifies the work of the beekeeper and usually results in a increase of honey production..
Once the bees have completed their job the beekeeper will take out the honeycombs. With traditional hives, the combs are cut from the hive and the honey is squeezed out of the combs by hand. With frame hives, the frames are taken out and the bees are gently removed.
The beekeepers removes the wax cappings with a khukuri, the traditional Nepali knife, or a special fork. When all the cells are open the beekeepers places the honeycomb in a honey extractor, which is usually operated by hand.
When spinned around, honey flows from the honeycombs The combs remain intact and are placed back into the hive where the bees polish each cell in preparation for a new load.
The honey is now strained and left to stand until all air bubbles and small particles of wax float on top. When the wax is removed the honey isready to be bottled and consumed.
Honey from The Beekeeping Shop is produced by small farmers in different parts of the country, using traditional technology. Quality wise, the honey easily competes with imported honeys since it meets high international standards. The honey has undergone strict quality control at the laboratory of the Beekeeping Shop, with the guidance of the Beekeeping Training & Extension Support Project (BETREPS) in Godawari.
If honey is stored at a cool and dark place it remains fresh for many years. After some time honey will crystallise and become solid. This is a perfectly natural process which happens to the best honeys. Crystallised honey will become fluid again when heated in water of around 40 degree Celsius (don't boil honey, since it will loose part of its nutritious value).
The Beekeeping Shop
Manbhawan, Lalitpur, Patan
P.O. Box 12730 Kathmandu