Bee larvae – Rich man’s food in Ukhrul

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Ukhrul, November 02 2017: Many may balk at this but to the people of Ukhrul (As with probably all the tribals of Manipur and the North East), bee larvae is today a menu on the rich man’s table with each piece costing at least Rs 15-20 .

No wonder the people of Ukhrul today have a very good knowledge of apiculture (bee rearing), rearing different varieties of wasp bees, Api Dorsata, Apis Indica or Apis Melifera all for their larvae .

The larvae of the wild giant wasp bee called “Khuirei” in Tangkhul dialect is in high demand at the local market because of their exceptional taste and is a prized delicacy .

At least nine different wild wasp bees are found in Ukhrul district and are today largely reared for larvae consumption.

Their local names include Lanemnao, Lapuinao, Rerngui, Khuipui, Mazam, Mayir, Khuikhan, Khuichihui and Khuirei.

This is apart from honey producing bee families .

The local people start to collect bee nests from the last week of May and rear them till the first week of November for the larvae .

Wild wasp bee Lanemnao, Lapuinao, Mayir, Mazam and Khuirei build their nest/hive in burrows while the bee nest of Khuipui, Khuikhan, Khuichihui are found at the tree top .

Knowledge of apiculture is not new to the people of Ukhrul and there are many bee farmers in the district today.

They practice traditional method in feeding them, which help them to grow to the optimum level within a short period of time .

In a brief interaction, well known local bee farmer Angam, said that he started collecting bee nests as a hobby and added that a nest (hive) of Khuirei (wild giant wasp bee) can earn Rs 30,000-50,000 in a year .

He also explained the traditional style of the Tangkhuls in hunting bee nests and bee rearing.

Khui-kahor is a Tangkhul term dealing with the art of hunting and collecting bee nest from the jungle.

He said two or three persons go out to the wild forest, feed the bee with meat to strike up familiarity, then tie a white material called “Kongrahar” on the thorax part of the bee.

When the bee leaves, the Kongrahar is clearly visible to the bee hunter and this help them to locate the bee nest.

Source: The Sangai Express

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