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MEDIA CONTENT EXCHANGE >> Media Content Exchange >> Information Department, Brunei Darussalam >> Media Content Exchange 2017

23 June 2017

It belongs to the family of bees, but smaller and not stingless. With the size of 3-8 mm and very nimble movement, it is different from the honey bees. Typically, when talking about honey, it is similar to the honey bee rather than stingless bee.
Honey comes from the nectar of flowers. The honey is light in color with delicious sweet & sour fruit taste. Stingless bee honey has higher nutritional value which is good for health, fitness and beauty. Naturally its honey were suitable to cure illnesses through traditional treatment methods such as diabetes mellifluous, stroke, hepatitis, cancer, hypertension, kidney stones, gout, cough, etc. In terms of nutritional values and benefit, it is better than the normal honey.
Realising its efficacy, many local operators emerged in rearing stingless bees as a hobby and its own needs. When word came out that stingless bee honey has medicinal value and health benefits, the number of orders for the Madu Kelulut have increased.
Brunei Today headed to Kampung Sinaut, Daerah Tutong, to meet Tasbee Meliponiculture Farm. It is Run by Awang Mitasbi bin Haji Metamit one of the successful local stingless bee honey entrepreneur.
In the early days he often watched stingless sucking flowers that decorates his yard. During the fruits season, insects will infest flower fruit which is also an additional food source for them. This raises a keen interest to learn about the life of these stingless bees.
Before he started rearing, he was determined to learn the ways and techniques of breeding and basic necessities in this enterprise. According to him, we should have sufficient knowledge before venturing into the field, especially something new such as rearing stingless.
In addition to self-study, he also gets the information from the Academy Kelulut Malaysia and local breeders there.
Successful honey companies in Malaysia indeed, have extensive knowledge in this field. Sharing of knowledge has helped him in making preparations
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Awang Mitasbi began rearing stingless from his home in 2009. Starting with several stingless log (nest) derived from plantations and forests nearby. Every day he sees temperament and development of this insect which makes it more fun and interesting to develop.
Stingless bee usually can be found nesting in the forests and fallen woods. To retrieve it, the tree will be cut down and cut according to the position of the nest. These should be made carefully to ensure the position of honey and egg sacs are intact. Precise cutting can help farmers get faster results.
After getting the logged on, you have to cut the log for topping and then put the hives on it.
The next step is the installation of the hives box that are made of wood. The size of the box depends on the suitability and size of the nest. Usually the size of the hives is between 300mm to 600mm and height of the box is between 50mm up to 200mm. Normally, transparent plastic boxes are placed on top of hives. This allows farmers to review the progress of these insects, whether there is already a pot of honey, any enemies and so on.
Stingless bee breeders will have problems when the colonies do not want to ride in the hives. As a guide, usually the colonies will rise into the hives once the installation is complete. After three days, we can see clearly some pots of honey that has been built by the colonies.
Once the installing of hives on log kelulut box is finished, the process of kelulut rearing will start.
Kelulut usually takes between two to four weeks to produce a pot containing honey, depending on the craft colony and an adequate food source. The honey can be harvested within a month by using a portable pump.
Besides honey, the other two substances produced is bee bread, which is a mixture of pollen and honey, saliva and fluids from the stomach of bees and propolis, a mixture of rubber plants and a special fluid which is said to have high medicinal value. In addition, stingless bees are also used to increase the yield of agricultural fruit based products as stingless bees are the main pollinating agents to plants.
Heterotrigona Itama and Geniotrigona Thoracica are two species that are preferred by the breeders. Demand of both species is very high because it is easy to maintain and produce a lot of honey and bee breed.
As of today, he has around 80 logs of Kelulut.
Food source
Source of food plays a very important role to stingless bees. Like other living things, stingless bees will leave the hive when food sources are insufficient. Studies have found that, stingless bees are able to fly only 5km radius for food. Resinous trees and flowers are favored by stingless bees. It will build honey pot more quickly if there is sufficient source of nutrition.
Open burning should be avoided. Thick smokes can cause the colonies to flee. Breeding of poultry and the like is not recommended because the colonies will decrease as a result of being eaten by poultry.
The challenge
Talking about the challenges, he explained that this insect is free of the disease and thus easy to breed and develop.
The important thing is to ensure the continuous monitoring of kelulut logs are not exposed to animals such as frogs, lizards, ants and monkeys.
The dry season will also disrupt production. Stingless bees are not fond of extreme hot temperatures. The temperature in the nest area should not exceed 30 degrees Celsius. When exposed to higher temperatures for a long period of time, it will most likely leave the nest.
Rain will also inhibit the activities in the stinglesss hive. Propolis that is exposed to water will be damaged and kelulut will have to work hard to fix it. Water entering the nest will cause mold and bacteria.
To further strengthened his company, he joined the Kampung Sinaut Consultative Council One Village One Product (1K1P)) and Tourism Tutong.
In terms of price, stingless bees honey is more expensive than the honey bee and is less common in the market. Given the efficacy of stingless bee honey that is very well known, it is absolutely an overwhelming market where customers have to wait for it.
In addition to stingless honey, he is trying to diversify its products based on kelulut propolis soap. This soap is good for health, especially for the treatment of skin disease and the like.
The market price per 100ml is BND 15.
Visitors who have visited the park will definitely feel amazed by its beauty. Surrounded by various types of flowers with the kelulut log arranged beautifullyis definitely a sight for sore eyes and create a peaceful atmosphere.
Now his company is among the most favored destination of visits at various levels of society. He is generous and willing to share his knowledge and experience with entrepreneurs and anyone interested in rearing stingless bee.
He hopes more local entrepreneurs will emerge as the market is overwhelming. He is confident that the company can be profitable if well planned and implemented seriously.
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