Traditional Japanese beekeeping

Apis cerana beekeeping in Japan

Traditional japanese beekeeping

These Japanese bees are a different variety (Apis cerana japonica) to those found in more tropical countries such as the Philippines (Apis cerana indica). There are some differences in size and behaviour but in some respects they are similar.

It is useful to see how this style of beekeeping is based on the natural behaviour of most honeybees to make its’ honeycomb in a hollow tree trunk. The bees add new brood comb to the bottom and fill up empty brood comb at the top with honey. This means that in an ideal environment the bees keep building their comb downwards.

New boxes are added underneath the beehive by the beekeeper, and the full boxes of honey are cut off the top of the beehive. This simple process is called ‘nadiring’ and has been known about for centuries and simulates a natural behaviour of the bees, without trying to force the bees into using ‘honey supers’. (There are also beekeepers using a version of this technique for Apis mellifera.)

Potentially this technique could also work successfully with the Apis cerana (Ligwan) bees here, but some modifications would be needed to adapt the technique to the Ligwan honeybee and the tropical and cultural environment in the Philippines (this information is too detailed for this post).

About Julian

Julian Wright is a British agricultural scientist married to a Philippine teacher, who has a house and some land planted to coconuts and other crops near Dumaguete in the Philippines.
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