Arence thanks for agreeing to do this interview with me! Beekeeping is a very interesting topic I’m sure that our readers at Apis Cera would like to know more about.
Apis Cera: Can you tell us where you live and how old you are?
Arence: I am Arence De los Reyes; I live in Cagayan De Oro City, Misamis Oriental. Mindanao It is located on the southern part of the Philippines, Cagayan also known as the City of Golden Friendship. I am 28 years young.
Apis Cera: How and why did you get started with beekeeping?
Arence: We have an Austrian friend who has a bee colony on the backyard. We were curious to look at it. Then I learned the impact of pollination, Perfect! Hence that time, our company started to plant 60 hectares of coffee. We started to put beehives on our house terrace. We wake up and sleep together with the bees.
Apis Cera: How many hives do you have currently and how many did you start off with?
Arence: We have 1500 colonies at the moment. We started with 10 colonies way back year 2008.
Apis Cera: What’s your favorite part of beekeeping?
Arence: It is the queen rearing part. Although, I’m not really practice to do the grafting by myself, but after 2 weeks, when I got the report from colleagues that the mating is 90%, it was such a fulfillment. Also with the harvesting of course! Hence, I love to experiment flavoured honey for own consumption.
Apis Cera: Aren’t you afraid of being stung?
Arence: Honestly, I am but does it matter once you see that the colonies are healthy and doing well? Not anymore! I don’t care if I have a sting in any part of my body except the face.
Apis Cera : Are you witnessing any colony collapse in your area? Does your hives suffer this phenomenon?
Arence: So far, we didn’t have this CCD. The most crucial for us is the varroa infestation.
Apis Cera: What kind of flowers, trees or plants does your environment offer to your lovely bees?
Arence: Philippines is a paradise for bees hence we have high biodiversity on plants and trees. For the seasonal sources, we have cassava, coffee, lanzones, mango, acacia, pineapples others. For almost the whole year round, we have coconuts, cosmos, cadena de amor and other wild plants.
Apis Cera: What’s your personal favorite type of honey?
Arence: Multi-floral Honey is fine and/ or coconut honey. Except for cassava as it is bit bitter.
Apis Cera: Where do you see yourself in one year?
Arence: Philippines is importing 95 percent of honey and by products. So, we want to increase our market share of honey produce locally and be recognize as a company with trusted honey quality in the market.
Apis Cera: Anything else?
Arence: Our company imported equipment from Europe like Honey bottling Machine, Wax melter, Automated Honey extraction, etc as we cannot find it here in the Philippines. We’re building our processing plant, in European standard and we invited Dr. Wim Reybroeck from ILVO (Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research), to teach the honey quality and international regulation this coming Feb 10, 2014. We want to make sure that our honey is at top quality.