Beekeeping is a business opportunity with social, economic, and ecological benefits that requires minimal time, labor, and resources There are four species of honeybee that thrive best in the Philippines:
- Apis mellifera also called European honeybees
- Apis cemna also locally called laywan
- Apis dorsats commonly called pukyutan
- Apis molliponinea or stingless bees
The sunflower is the source of nectar, which is essential in beekeeping particularly in producing quality and premium honey. Some of the forest tree species, which are good sources of pollen and nectars for the bees are nana, caffrandra, eucalyptus, oak tree, molavo, kamachili, kakawate, duhat, rain tree, african tulip, jacaranda, ipil-ipil, and other forest trees.
Cereal crops like com and plants such as banana, mango, coconut, coffee, cacao, citrus, peanut, mongo, tomato, and eggplant are favorites of honeybees.
Estimated Investment Cost (in Php based on 2009 prices)
A. For Honey Bee Production
- 2 Bee Colony @ P5,000 per colony – 10,000.00
- 1 Bee Smoker – 1,500.00
- 1 Bee Veil – 500.00
- 1 Hive Tool – 300.00
- 1 Complete Standard Hive – 1,600.00
- 1 Wax Foundation – 70.00
- 1 Miticide – 150.00
- 5 days Basic Beekeeping Training (live-in) – 4,500.00
- Total – P18,620.00
B. For Honey Production
- 1 Honey Extractor – 30,000.00
- 24 Bottles @P23/carton – 230.00
- 100 Plastic Sealer – 30.00
- 100 Label – 150.00
- Total – 30,410.00
A. Selecting an apiary (a place where bees are raised for their honey) and obtaining bee colonies
- Look for an apiary, taking into consideration the following requirements:
- must be near an access road to facilitate transportation of the products;
- must be free from polluted water and high pesticidal sprays;
- must have enough windbreaks (trees and shrubs) for protection during the typhoon season because bees tend to swarm in high wind;
- must have an abundant number of pollen and nectar producing plants within 3-8 km radius.
- Buy bee colonies from existing beekeepers.
- Ensure that the nucleus colony is composed of the laying queen, several adult workers, and worker brood in all stages of development.
- Construct a good quality beehive – a box that houses the bees and consists of frames, top cover, hive body, division board, and bottom board.
B. Managing the colonies
- Feed the bees when there is scarcity of nectar and pollen.
- Prepare for honey flow. Add empty frames with wax foundation sheets to existing frames in the colony when there is no space left for the queen to lay eggs. The number of frames to be added is determined by the laying capacity of the queen a colony ready for honey flow must have 9 to 10 frames with bees to maximize availability of nectar.
- Place the empty frames side by side with the emerging brood. Do not treat the bee colonies with miticides one month prior to honey flow. The treatment of mites, foulbrood, and other pests and diseases must be done two months before honey flow. Undertake biological treatment with tobacco and alagaw in cases of mite infestation.
C. Harvesting and packaging honey
- Open the hive. Blow smoke towards the bees to avoid stinging and swarming.
- Select ripened honey frames or sealed honey frames from the colony.
- Take, shake, and brush the filled frame off the bees.
- Uncap the sealed honey with a sharp knife, fork, or uncapping spoon.
- Put the uncapped honey frames in the centrifugal honey extractor. Extract the honey by rotating the handle of the extractor. Using a pail, collect the honey coming out of the faucet at the side of the extractor.
- Strain using a sterilized mesh or moist cloth.
- Sterilize the bottles by boiling for 30 minutes.
- Transfer the honey in the sterilized bottles, seat with a plastic sealer, and label for marketing.
- Beekeeping helps improve ecological balance by promoting plant regeneration and species diversity through pollination.
- Do not start a beekeeping project with incomplete beekeeping equipment and with less than two colonies.
- Do not starve and overcrowd the cohny as this will induce swarming.
Estimated Costing and Pricing (for two colonies, in Php based on 2009 prices)
A. Production Cost
- Direct Cost (bees, hives, wax, materials, tools) – 6,135.00
- Indirect Cost (labor, water, electricity, 10% contingency) – 6,120.00
- Total – P12, 255.00
B. Sales Revenue
- Honey (40 kg for 2 colonies at P300/kg colonies) – 12,000.00
- Value of additional colony- 10,000.00
- Total – P22,000.00
C. Estimated Income
- Sales Revenue – 22,000.00
- Less: Production Cost- 12,255.00
- Estimated income in a month – P9,745.00
Dos and Don’ts In Inspecting and Feeding Bees
- Use a bee veil to avoid stings.
- Do not stand in front of the hive.
- Remove the cover gently and puff smoke towards the entrance of hive.
- Remove frames and inspect both sides. Examine the rest of the frames and return to their original position.
- Do not feed the colony when it is raining. Bees are aggressive during this time.
- Do not use lotion or perfume during inspection. This might induce the bees to sting.
- Do not spill sugar syrup in the apiary. This will induce robbing.
- Business name registration (www.bnrs.dti.gov.ph)
- Mayor’s/Business Permit (check your local municipality/city)
- BIR TIN (www.bir.gov.ph)
- Philippine Council for Industry and Energy Research – DOST (www.pcierd.dost.gov.ph)
- Other Financing Institutions
Bees and Equipment Supplies
Dr. Cleofas Cervancia
Institute of Biological Sciences, UPLB Collge, Laguna
Tel: (049) 536-2893
Mr. Ramon “Tobee” Tamayo
49 First Road, Quezon Hill, Baguio City
Tel: (074) 442-6732
source: dti.gov.ph, photo from justfood.coop