This is an article summary about Kelulut Stingless Bees by Vulcan Post. They have interviewed Bayu Kelulut in Kedah and R H Bee Farms in Sarawak. It aims to bring out the growing industry and for people to know more about stingless bees farming.
As of the year 2020, kelulut beekeeping has made RM33.6 million in Malaysia. If it’s properly developed, it has the potential to reach RM3.03 billion in sales every year.
Kelulut stingless bee has existed in Malaysia for thousands of years, only been commercialised in the year 2005.
Why Kelulut Honey?
Kelulut honey has growth potential, and it is a growing industry in Malaysia.
Both farmers and governments are working on developing the product. For instance, kelulut honey does not comply with the International Honey Commission (IHC/CODEX) standards and the Malaysia Food Act 1983 because they are measured based on regular traditional honey.
Hence, the Malaysian Standard of Kelulut Honey (MS2683:2017) was established with the help of SIRIM, MARDI, and the Department of Standard of Malaysia to overcome this issue.
Kelulut honey has a unique taste of tangy, sweet, sour and earthy.
Consuming kelulut honey consistently can be very beneficial to one’s health. The honey is high in anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting substances. It helps treat wounds, infections, reduce oxidative stress in the body, and prevent chronic diseases and conditions.
The Differences between Stingless Bees & Stinging Bees
The table below shows the differences between stingless bees and stinging bees.
|Stingless Bees||Stinging Bees|
|Distribution||Tropical & Sub-tropical countries||All over the globe|
|Life Span||Approx. 60days (drone/worker) |
Three years (queen)
|Approx. 120 days (drone/ worker)|
Five years (queen)
Underground & wall cavities
|Hive Anatomy||Horizontally constructed||Vertically constructed|
|Produces||Honey, propolis, pollen||Honey, pollen, honeycomb, royal jelly|
Kelulut is only found in tropical and subtropical countries. They are smaller in size for both the body and colony when compared to the stinging bees.
Since they are smaller and less intimidating, they are an easier target for predators like frogs, lizards, spiders, etc. Do take extra care in protecting the beehives from these predators.
The electric fencing system is also good for fencing-off intruders like monkeys and bears who love honey.
The stingless bees normally build their hive horizontally in hollow trunks, underground and wall cavities. Which can make harvesting a little trickier.
The Advantages & Disadvantages of Kelulut
It does not sting, only bites occasionally
High tolerance to pests and diseases
Higher quality & health benefits honey
Only forage up to 800m
Unable to forage during heavy rain due to smaller physique
Low yield of honey production at 300g to 1kg/ month/ colony
Shorter life span
Every living organism has its defence mechanism when threatened. Thus, the stingless bee may not sting, but it does bite. However, the bites do not result in a lump or an itch.
Genetically stingless bees are more tolerant of pests and diseases. Also, their honey has higher quality and health benefits, as mentioned before. Hence, there is a premium market for their honey.
Kelulut can only forage up to 800m due to their smaller physique and colony size. They are also unable to forage during heavy rain. Therefore, resulting in a lower yield of honey production as compared to stinging bees.