Sacred Honey Bee Evening video clip, CLICK ON THE PHOTO TO VIEW

Sacred Honey Bee Evening video clip, CLICK ON THE PHOTO TO VIEW
Click on this photo for a video of "Evening in Honor of the Sacred Honey Bee". Photo by Daniel Bahmani

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

BEE the Change: Beekeeping workshops in Bali!

BEE the change!
by Robin Dua

Start the Balinese new year with a buzz and do something positive for the island's farmers, market gardeners and fruitgrowers by taking part in Yayasan Tri Hita Karana Bali's first ever beekeeping workshop.

On March 24-25 - straight after Nyepi - you can learn how to get started in beekeeping from one of Indonesia's best beekeepers - Bali's own I Gede Panca.

With a lifelong involvement in beekeeping, Pak Panca is not only an expert but a passionate advocate for the island's wild bee population. He was the inaugural winner of Indonesia's best beekeeping title in 1998.

The bilingual weekend workshop, designed fornovice beekeepers who want to start a colony of their own, will be held in THK Bali's new learning centre at the yayasan's headquarters in Pengosekan justoutside Ubud.

Using permaculture principles, the yayasan educates, advocates and acts for more environmentally and economically sustainable practices in all fields of human activity in Bali.

It's chosen "BEE the change" as the theme for the workshop in a playful spin on the famous Gandhi quote "Be the change you want to see in the world."

Yayasan founder Chakra Widia says that beekeeping is a way to make a positive contribution to preserving the island's unique ecosystem, as well as helping those who grow vegetables, fruit or flowers here.

"Bees are one of nature's most productive pollinators and can have a dramatic beneficial effect on yields in terms ofseed yield and fruit yield in many crops," he says.

"And best of all you get the honey! In fact, we'd say beekeeping is a honey of a hobby."

"Nevertheless, beekeeping is not something you do on a whim. It's a responsibility and to undertake it, you need to have a basic understanding of bees, especially the wild bees we have here in Bali."

During the workshop, participants will learn about Bali's native bees, as well as an aggressive new kid on the block that may ultimately upset the island's bee biodiversity.

Participants will also learn about flowers and their influence on the taste of honey, with plenty of honey-tasting to sweeten the session.

Then it will be down to business. A modest bee box best suited to house the island's native bees will be constructed and can be taken home afterward or donated to THK Bali for use on its new permaculturedemonstration farm in Pengosekan.

While much of the workshop will take place in the yayasan's learning centre - constructed from bamboo in a light and airy design - there will be a field trip to explore a bee colony that has inhabited a neighbour's family temple, quite a common occurence in Bali.

Pak Panca will show participants how to locate the queen in the colony and move the bees from the temple into a bee box.

Where to place bee boxes to attract bees, moving the bees to new food sources, and identifying and dealing with predators are other features of the course.

And of course there's the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow - the honey. Pak Panca will demonstrate how to harvest honey and how much to take from a colony so thatenough food remains to sustain the bees and their lavae.

He'll alsodemonstrate his beesting "treatment" to reduce the risk of blood clots.

Assisting Pak Panca will be THK's medicinal herb expert, Pak Tri, who will lead a workshop session on the medicinal qualities of honey and the importance of pollination for medicinal herbs.

Those attending can order bees, honey, or extra boxes from Pak Panca, as well as medicinal herbs from Pak Tri.

There will be an overview of the world's vanishing bee population and Bali's situation in that context.

Pak Chakra hopes that the workshop will be aspringboard for helping to expand the knowledge base of bees and beekeeping in Bali and provide a network of sentinels to warn of any changes in the island's bee population.

"We hope we can foster the establishment of an umbrella organisation of Bali beekeepers to work in cooperation with local beekeepers to ensure that our island's native bee colonies continue to flourish," he says.

Visiting beekeeper Steve Black from the Isle of Man, between England and Ireland, says ongoing support for novice beekeepers is vital and endorsed the formation of a group that meets regularly to continue the learning process.

"Nobody can hope to learn all that there is to know about beekeeping in a weekend workshop," he says. "When situations arise with your bees, it's important to be able to network with other more experienced beekeepers for advice."

Pak Panca has founded three local beekeepingorganisations in Payangan, Tegallalang and Petak and they meet together twice a year.

The cost of the workshop for expats and tourists is Rp500,000 or Rp250,000 per day and, as is traditionally the case with THK Bali workshops, these fees will subsidise the participation of locals. Locals wanting to take part should contact Pak Chakra on 081 338 794 571.

Participants should bring their own lunch or, for Rp15,000 each day, they can have lunch provided. They should also bring a hat, sunscreen and, if they are allergic to beestings, they should bring an EpiPen.

Already there are bookings from as far away as Lombok. Places are limited and bookings close on Monday March 19 to give THK time to prepare the materials required for the workshop.

You can book by emailing or by calling 087 861 463 406. Payment in advance would be appreciated.

Tri Hita Karana Bali Foundation
+6287 861 463 406

Twitter: @KeepBaliGreen

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for your support of our Bali beekeeping workshop. Happy to send you some fotos if you contact us via the above email.