BEEKEEPING SERIES PART 3: THE MILEA BEE FARM’S WAY OF PROPAGATING NATIVE HONEY BEES
IN THE AUGUST ISSUE of Agriculture Magazine was a discussion of the common honey producing bees in the Philippines; this article focuses on the Milea Bee Farm’s way of propagating native honey bees in the country. Most of us still consider bees to be wild, even when they are hived or kept in boxes. According to Rico Omoyon, owner of the Milea Bee Farm in Balagtasin II, San Jose, Batangas, Italian honey bees ( Apis mellifera), native honey bees ( Apis cerana, locally known as ‘ligwan’ or ‘laywan’), native stingless bees (Tetragonula spp., locally known as ‘lukot’, ‘lukotan’, ‘kiwot’, ‘kiyot’, and ‘lib-ug’) are the propagated species in his farm, which also has several managed colonies of the Asian giant honey bee ( Apis dorsata, locally known as ‘pukyutan’ or ‘putyukan’) in various locations.
Omoyon propagates the Italian honey bees the same way others do it here and abroad, using the Langstroth hive. In the country, Omoyon is devising different but natural methods for propagation using top bar hives, which are made from wooden materials.
He said would-be beekeepers who are searching the Internet for tips will find much information and many videos on how to get started, particularly from beekeepers themselves. They just need to make adjustments due to the Philippines being a tropical country.
“Therefore, what we would like to share in this article are the ways on how we propagate native honey producing bees,” Omoyon said.
Apis cerana remains abundant in the country, and one’s location might already be hosting a colony. “If you wish to have these native bees but would prefer a ‘no touch’ approach in getting your pollinators, you may opt to install a bait hive,” he explained.
Omoyon said the native honey bees have their own swarming season. The colony will usually divide through swarming; this is when one can see ‘clumps’ of bees in the branches of trees. When this occurs, the scout bees will be searching for new suitable nesting areas, and
These native honey bees (locally known as laywan or ligwan) have built a nest in a used Styrofoam ice chest. The outermost combs that are filled with honey can be harvested, but we must leave a portion for the bees’ consumption.