Oh honey, know your wild honey
CHENNAI: With a common goal of providing wild honey from the Western Ghats to people living in the cities, three friends - Stephen, Vinoth Arthanari, and Arun Prasath – started a company called Wild Honey Hunters. To educate city dwellers about the importance of preserving wild honey bees, they are organising a workshop at Backyard, Adyar, on September 24. The team has been collecting wild honey from forest tribes living in the Western Ghats. “We procure honey from free-range hives and not from commercial beekeepers. Natural honey should be consumed daily because of its umpteen health benefits. Over the years, we have perfected the art of collecting honey from unreachable places in the wild. We have also documented how the tribal people in the Western Ghats collect honey with a lot of difficulties,” Vinoth starts the conversation.
According to him, the reason for the decline of wild honey is modern agricultural practices like using pesticides and fertilisers. “In the last two decades, almost 50 per cent of our wild honey bees have vanished. Another reason is that many beekeepers in the region use hybrid varieties of bees. We have been doing awareness campaigns in the Western Ghats and educating farmers on the importance of following natural agricultural practices,” he adds.
Vinoth says that they have been collecting honey for generations and found that there is no proper knowledge about the purest form of honey. “There are a lot of myths surrounding honey and through this workshop, we are creating awareness. You will also get hands-on experience with wild honeycombs. Participants will be taught how to identify natural honey from commercial ones and why wild honey bees are needed for the ecosystem,” he concludes.