Former OFW makes a living while promoting diversity through beekeeping – Manila Bulletin

Hardin sa Parang is a one hectare apiary located on woodland in Barangay San Juan, in the town of Antipolo.

It is owned by Lonadel Jade Bolongaita, 35, a former OFW who also works as a freelance makeup artist.

Before becoming a full-time beekeeper, she raised chickens and pigs on the same site where her apiary is now located.

The main reason for this change, according to Bolongaita, is the difficulty of obtaining animal feeds such as darak and soy pulp from their suppliers.

Bolongaita has been involved in herding since 2015, and after tending to a few types of livestock, she has finally found what is right for her: stingless bees.

She learned beekeeping through various trainings, seminars and conferences at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB).

“My staff and I are constantly training and honing our skills in caring for our bees by interacting with other beekeepers, watching videos, reading books and studying material online. “

A photo of the Hardin sa Parang team at a client’s farm in Laguna where they provided technical assistance for around 50 beehives.

Bolongaita focuses on promoting bees native to the Philippines, especially stingless bees (Trigona Biroi) which are often referred to as lukot or kiwot.

“I wanted to kind of raise awareness about ecological preservation and have a positive impact on Mother Nature through beekeeping.”

Bolongaita adds that they strongly support and advocate organic methods of growing food as well as the use of crop pollinators such as stingless bees to ensure the conservation of our diverse flora and fauna.

Compared to other farm animals, stingless bees require very little maintenance, the beekeeper said. There is no regular feeding or chemical intake required for bees to thrive, only frequent monitoring to keep out intruders and predators like spiders, lizards, toads and ants.

Raise stingless bees

The beekeeping farm houses around 300 to 600 colonies of stingless bees.

Unlike the western honey bee or Apis MelliferaTaking care of stingless bees does not involve renewing or replacing a queen since each colony has several virgin queens ready to take over if the laying queen begins to fail.

Hardin sa Parang propagates the colonies by dividing their hives after the honey harvest or during the honey season which coincides with summer.

Stingless beekeeping, if managed well, can be a lucrative business. Bolongaita farm earns up to 160,000 pesos per month during the high season and around 10,000 pesos per month during the low season.

This is a former pig pen that Bolongaita has turned into a sheltered nursery for colonies of baby bees.

Beehives, honey, pollen, propolis, as well as beekeeping supplies and equipment are its main sources of income.

Hardin sa Parang also offers stingless bee cultivation consultations where they help clients set up an apiary and produce their own honey, pollen and propolis.

Bolongaita said the force of splitting and opening the hives at any time should be avoided. Instead, observe, inspect the hives periodically, and then let the bees do the work for you. Also, be sure not to overcrowd the bees to prevent them from swarming, an act where the bees congregate to leave an established colony and move to another location.

Bolongaita provides a home for the bees and, in turn, the bees provide him with a source of income. These two elements contribute to a healthy and diverse ecosystem.

Photos courtesy of Lonadel Jade Bolongaita.

For more information visit Hardin sa Parang.

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