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Environmental Sting
[Image: ae4e63ec-27d3-4299-962f-72e68ee729f3.jpeg]

In the 15 years Chitra Bhan Khatri has been keeping bees in west Nepal, he has never had trouble providing food for his insects, until 2021 when unseasonally heavy rain left his honeybees hungry.

Five days of torrential rainfall in Dang district in October sent temperatures plummeting, killing the bright yellow blooms of the mustard plants Khatri grows to provide nectar and pollen for his 300 colonies of European honeybees.

Then, when he took his bees to graze on nectar from chiuri (butter) trees in a nearby forest, he discovered that the rains had knocked all the flowers off their branches, he said.

As he walked through his apiary inspecting his hives with their empty honeycombs, the 44-year-old beekeeper said he used to extract more than 40 kilograms of honey per hive each year. But in 2021, his insects produced less than half of that.

Previously, Khatri had always been able to move his hives to another part of the region to feed, but in 2021 there was almost no pollen or nectar to be found anywhere.

"My 500,000 rupee [$4,220] investment has all gone in vain," he said. "Honey is my sole source of income. I don't know how I can cover my household expenses."

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