His world is full of bees and honeycombs. He rears bees at his apiary in Aarey out of pure passion. Meet Johnson Jacob. He came to Mumbai from Tamil Nadu, to start bee farming in Goregaon.
Inspired by his father, an experienced apiarist, Johnson quit his job in 2002 to pursue bee farming. He has been rearing bees out of a little space in Aarey for the last 17 years. Johnson says, “For me these bees are everything. However much time I spend with them is never enough.”
It’s not about the money, honey!
Honeybees play a major role in our ecosystem. Did you know that one in every three bites of food we eat is derived from plants pollinated by bees? Bees pollinate over 80% of all flowering plants, including human food crops. Bees also provide nourishing habitats for several species of birds and insects. And then, of course – there’s delicious honey!
Johnson insists that bee farming for him is not just to sell honey. “I don’t do this for the honey. I just want to rear bees and take care of them. Working with bees is extremely therapeutic for me. In fact, if there is a surplus of honey, I feed it back to them. I don’t think that any amount of money I spend on their upkeep is going waste. Seeing these bees working in unison is very gratifying,” he admits.
But not without that sting!
To be honest I was extremely scared to visit Johnson’s bee farm in in Goregaon east. I shrieked when he opened one bee box and a few bees flew towards me! Johnson was quick to alert me to not make any rapid movements. Bees can sense fear in people. They only attack if perceive harm coming, I learnt.
Johnson has been stung thousands of times. He attributes his good health to bee stings. Bee sting therapy improves blood circulation, relieves joint pains and keeps insulin levels check.
To bee or not to bee
Johnson has trained many people in bee farming. He says, “When I came to Mumbai, people told me that this is a city and you can’t farm bees here. But I was successful. I now train people to make boxes, maintain them and care for the bees.”
If want to know more about bee farming contact Johnson Jacob. I sure had a field day among the honeycombs. Happy National Honey Bee Day!