Bees in Cambodia
The three native species of honeybee, Apis dorsata, cerana, and florea have proven to be uneconomic to keep in a management style of the european honeybee, Apis Mellifera. However, many conservation measures can be successfully undertaken to strengthen and foster native bees to benefit horticulture and native flora.
The “honey” you see from native bee species at the markets is a mix of water and palm sugar with a little honey added, The Chinese “honey” for $5/kg is purely synthetic stuff made from sugar syrup.
Real unheated raw honey is very difficult to find in Cambodia. It sells out readily at $20/kg. It is regarded more as medicine than food by local people.
Apiculture is a relatively new industry in Cambodia, though it is well established in Vietnam and Thailand.
Vietnamese bee keepers report up to 80 kgs per year per colony, though their management techniques are quite different to those seen elsewhere and result in high moisture and sometimes poor quality honey.
All bees and equipment now extant in Cambodia are imported with very little “in stock”.
We have started manufacturing quality equipment in hardwood both in conventional Langstroth and an improved ventilated tropical design that uses Langstroth dimensions.
Most settled Khmer village areas have sufficient floral diversity to support bees.
Some commercial crops that can produce good honey include sugar palms, coconut plantations, banana and rubber plantations, lychee, longan,coffee, and many other trees can produce good seasonal crops of honey.
If you see honey for sale from local native bees “khmom Prey” it is a good indication that the area is a good producer at least for part of the year.
Bees can fly around 3-5 kilometers to forage and still produce a surplus.
They do need a source of clean water nearby, and of course must be isolated from areas where pesticides are used.
Theft is also a serious consideration, so locate your bee yards near people you trust or they may disappear!
I see honey selling very quickly to brokers at $20/ liter so a full depth langstroth super could have over $400 of honey in it!