The Philippine beekeeping industry has always been a struggling arena for decades now for Pinoy beekeepers. With little to no help from the government in terms of funding, trainings and other necessary laws to help spread the benefits of beekeeping in the Philippines, the industry is still on its feet. Realizing the need for information dissemination, this page aims to help all interested parties know that there are still a few people in the field who are constantly working to find a way to help improve and develop good beekeeping practice in the country.
May this article serve as a beekeeping 101 manual for those who want to get in to the beekeeping programs being scheduled in many places and training centers in the Philippines. We also want to reveal the very few people behind Beenet Philippines and the UPLB Bee Program training seminar.
With the help of DA-BAR (Department of Agriculture and Bureau of Agrarian Reform), the UPLB Bee Program was made available to all parties interested in knowing more about local Philippines beekeeping and bee species native to the country like the Apis Dorsata, Apis Cerana and the Philippine stingless bee also known in many names by different provinces and parts of the nation like Trigona Biroi (scientific name), "kiwot", "lukot", "libog", "kiyot", "kalulut" and many other popular and unpopular names.
This training was made available with the help of pioneer professionals in the beekeeping industry in the Philippines in the likes of Alex Fajardo, Dra. Cleofas Cervancia (current 2015 president of Apimondia
Regional Commission in Asia) and some of the members of the UP Faculty for biological sciences. While different students have different purpose for studying this lesson, many were tied up to looking for beekeeper positions for working abroad, usually, New Zealand, Canada or the United States.
The program consists of 2 parts namely a theoretical and informative study about the local Philippine honey bee species and and the imported honey bees called Apis Mellifera and the second part which consists of an actual experience of beekeeping.
This study program is designed to help students have on-site and field experience of taking care of bees, determining the different diseases and pests, actual capturing of wild feral colony and hiving of the Apis Cerana and native stingless bees. The first part will also include some very important studies in how to determine if honey is fake , bee management and practical application in bee product making (wax foundation making / soap making / candle making), bee genetics, hive design and making (langstroth standard hive), different bee food and bee plants and flowers, bibliography of local bees and more Philippine beekeeping practical maintenance methods.
UPLB Bee Program Training Module Summary
Part 1 - Native Bees Used for Pollination and Honey Production
1. Stingless Bees or Tetragonula ( Trigona )
1.1 Nesting Behavior
1.2 Mass Rearing Techniques
1.3 Steps for Mass Rearing
1.4 Inspecting Colonies for Transport
1.5 Utilization for Mango Pollination
1.6 Preparing and Transporting Colonies for Pollination
1.7 Placement and Care of Colonies in the Field
2. Asian Hive Bee - Apis Cerana (ligwan; laywan; or alig)
2.1 Nesting Behavior
2.2 Rearing Techniques
2.3 Steps in Transferring Feral Colonies
2.4 Management of Hived Colonies
2.5 Steps in Honey Harvesting
2.6 Colony Inspection
3. Giant Bees - Apis Brevigula and Apis Dorsata
3.1 Nesting Behavior
3.2 Modified Honey Harvesting and Processing
3.3 Steps in Honey Harvesting
4. Honey and Wax Processing
Part 2 - Select Bibliography on Bees and Beekeeping
Although it is sometimes very hard to categorize urban beekeeping or backyard apiary management in the Philippines due to the proximity locations of farms and agricultural lands and urban dwellings in the Philippine communities, still, there were a few backyard beekeepers I know of to exist and were able to maintain both native bees (Apis Cerana) as well as imported bees (Apis Mellifera) in the urban areas.
Initial knowledge coming in to beekeeping fresh from finishing basic beekeeper's course from UP Los Banos, I came to know a few backyard beekeepers located in Paranaque, Las Pinas, Marikina and myself in Caloocan. While many were probably afraid that their bees might just starve to death in the urban areas, there were a few interesting locations with which a beekeeper can actually prosper from Philippine beekeeping.
Since the 1990's there were just a few local beekeepers who made it to studying about Philippine beekeeping with the help of the local UPLB Bee Program but sadly, many of those who finished the only comprehensive actual course went abroad.
Today, with the increase of interest in beekeeping not just as a hobby or a possibility of working abroad, a few Pinoys like me have ventured into urban beekeeping in a mixture with a bit of backyard gardening to help the bees get their foraging resource for food . I currently take care of 3 colonies of Apis Mellifera in Caloocan City and 1 Kona queen colony in Cavite as an observation hive. The purpose of both is to know if there is indeed life for the bees and if they can live and get food enough to have them survive the predictable season in the Philippines for flowers which is the major source of food for the bees. Beekeeping in the Philippines can be a very profitable hobby and business if handled right. For those who want's to see figures of how much you can expect to get a share of the business of selling pure honeyin the market, you can always contact the UP Los Banos team of Dra Cleofas Cervancia or take a study of the course. The outline is stated above. In the meantime, I am looking forward to updating this page for more information about Philippine beekeeping in the urban areas.
Compared to many countries where you can keep bees, the Philippines is known for its tropical climate. This has turned the odds to providing backyard beekeepers with the most favorable location for many species of bees around the world both local and native.
Furthermore, there is no winter to look forward to maintaining bee health plus a whole year through availability of honey or nectar as well as pollen.
Compared to rural or highland beekeeping, urban apiaries and small backyard beekeepers enjoy the liberty of not having so many predators that contribute to the fatality of bees. There are no bee-eaters in Manila and other nearby urban areas where beekeepers can keep bees. There is also less possibility of hard-hitting typhoons devastating bee hives during the rainy season in the months of June to October. If you are lucky like me, you can take advantage of a free foraging area in nearby railways and cemetery where flowers grow and are abundantly available throughout the year.
Accessibility to all raw materials, equipments and supplies for Philippine beekeeping is also one of the notable advantages of backyard beekeeping. This also includes transportation and market availability of bee products. Add to that, by experience, it is easy to sell your pure honey to customers as well as venturing in to other types of selling bee byproducts is easy.
The only disadvantage for urban beekeeping is that residents in your area where you keep bees might be afraid that they can get stung by your bees.
Indeed, Philippine beekeeping can be a prosperous business venture for those who think capitalism gains but as of now, for me, I am just looking forward to raising my own treatment-free bees with no artificial feeding involved as much as possible. i've just started my 4 colonies and is looking forward next year to grow them 10 times as much.
One of my most adored beekeeping basics video where I learned a lot are the videos below which I consider as part of a good set of tips and procedures for beekeeping 101 in the Philippines.