Welcome to Bee Lab Bangalore

Bee Lab Bangalore is an initiative to inform and engage with the public to save and conserve the giant honey bee, Apis dorsatacommonly called the rock bee.

video tapping and temperature measurements at a dorsata colony photo Benjamin Rutschmann

Apis dorsata, the giant Indian honey bee / rock bee is one of the most important pollinators of crop and wild plants in India. However, city dwellers often fear them due to their aggressive behaviour when disturbed. In natural habitats, these bees build their nests on large trees with a wide canopy or on rock overhangs. On the contrary, in cities they tend to use human made structures such as water tanks, roof ledges, and balconies of high raised buildings as nesting sites, which inevitably leads to human-bee conflict. In most cases, people call pest management to kill the colonies. However, this is short sighted as often another colony uses the same site to build its nest a few weeks later. By killing the bees, we ourselves destroy the animals that are so important for our own nutritional security. In the long run we have to learn to live with these honey bees and more importantly take care of them because they are vital for our food production.

Although these bees are extremely important, very little is known about their lives. The purpose of this site is to provide you with information about Apis dorsata  and provide help if you need advice on how to deal with the colonies. We would also want you to engage with us to know more about these bees in Bangalore. How many colonies are there is Bangalore? Where are the nesting sites? Why do they choose these nesting sites and not others? How many colonies get killed each year in Bangalore? Where do they migrate to during the monsoon season?

We encourage you to engage with us by visiting the information that we have put together for interested citizens like you in the following 6 sections.

  • The Blog will provide you with news, information, stories etc about Apis dorsata and other pollinators
  • Urban Bees will collect information about numbers and locations of Apis dorsata nesting sites in Bangalore and numbers of colony removals. Please join our survey if you have colonies nesting at your apartment building or apartment complex. Over the years, this data will help us estimate the changes in population size. Your contributions are extremely valuable.
  • HiveWatch is a smartphone app and citizen science project to monitor temporal dynamics of Apis dorsata nesting behavior. Participants willing to observe the presence and absence of colonies at identified nesting sites are invited to contribute. This contribution will be very much appreciated.
  • Monsoon Migration is a project to identify the monsoonal migratory destinations of Bangalore- based Apis dorsata colonies.
  • Apis dorsata will introduce you to the fascinating and unique biology and ecology of this species.
  • Ask us is an interactive page where you can submit your questions and we will try to answer them to the best of our knowledge

Bee Lab Bangalore is a group of scientists studying the biology and ecology of honey bees and other pollinators.

Dr. Axel Brockmann                                                                                                                           

Associate Professor at the National Centre for Biological Sciences – Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bangalore.

Webpage: Honey Bee Lab

Dr. Smitha Krishnan

Scientist at The Alliance of Bioversity International and International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Bangalore.

Webpage: Bioversity International

Rajath Siddaganga                                                                                                                                                 

Senior Research Fellow at the National Centre for Biological Sciences – Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bangalore.

Webpage: www.rajaths.com

Sebastian Marokko Walter                                                                                                                      

Artist, Biologists and Anthropologist interrogating human perception and visual representation of the world around us. Sebastian and Axel inaugurated Bee Lab Bangalore during Sebastian’s BangaloREsidency in 2017. Sebastian lives in Berlin, Germany.