New bee product boasts sweet aroma

National 2 minutes, 14 seconds

TUTONG

A villager from Kg Sg Kelugos in Tutong District plans to introduce handmade aromatherapy candles using honey from stingless bees this year.

It will be the third honey-based product under the Tasbee Meliponiculture Farm label.

Mitasby Hj Mamit, a member of the Kg Sg Kelugos Village Consultative Council (MPK), began developing the aromatherapy candle a month ago, as he wanted to extend the stingless bee honey product range.

From his property, Mitasby developed a traditional practice of producing honey from stingless bees in 2009, followed by creating stingless bee honey-based soap in 2013.

He said to make the aromatherapy candles, he uses honey secreted from Tetrigona binghami, a species of stingless bee. The beekeeper breeds about 18 different species on his property, so his home is surrounded by 80 wooden boxes for stingless bees.

“It only needs about five minutes to make the aromatherapy candle,” he said, adding that an amount of the honey will be mixed with paraffin wax and a candle wick is then added in the middle.

When asked how he learned to make the candle, he said the technique was shared by his contacts at an academy of meliponiculture in Malaysia. The people at the academy have been helping him create various honey products since he started producing the stingless bee honey.

He said he is still gathering information from experts on producing quality candles before they are introduced to customers. At the moment, he is planning to sell each candle for $3.

Tasbee Meliponiculture Farm in Kg Sg Kelugos is one of the tourism sites under the Tutong Destination Programme to attract both local and foreign tourists to visit Mukim Keriam.

To support the country’s beekeepers in producing stingless bee honey, he hopes that if a relevant agency plans to clear a forest for development such as for farming, the beekeepers will be informed so the stingless bees can be secured. Usually, stingless bees nest in any resinous trees in forests.

He said there are about 500 beekeepers who produce stingless bee honey in the country.

Amongst the challenges for the beekeepers, he said, is bad weather and food supply for the bees. During the wet season, the stingless bees won’t be producing honey at their best because their food sources, mainly flowers or plants, aren’t blooming.

In a bid to improve the knowledge in breeding stingless bees and producing stingless bee honey, Mitasby will be leading a group of 30 beekeepers from Brunei to visit Malaysia, where meetings on learning more about stingless bees will be held in March.

During the event, they expect to share best practices and get to know about different stingless bee species that aren’t available in Brunei.

The Brunei Times