Asiatic honey bee and I “Eddie” Hang Chio, Ph.D. Applied Sciences Professor Dept. of Entomology National Taiwan University 招衡
Asiatic honey bee, Apis cerana They are cousins of Apis mellifera but noticeable smaller
Distribution of Apis cerana Macao It can be found in southern and southeastern Asia, such as China, India, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Papua New Guinea.
Unique Characters of Apis cerana • They form smaller colonies • Absconding behavior • Nest defense • Nest thermoregulation • Thermal defense • Major Pests
They form smaller colonies Apis cerana forms smaller colonies that hardly fill up a single brood chamber.
Absconding behavior Absconding behavior means that these species abandon the current nest and move towards new location where there is abundant nectar and pollen supply available and again build new nest.
Nest defense Apis cerana are more inclined to retreat inside than to attack an intruder passing near their nest. Incense sticks instead of smoker are good enough to calm down the hive and no protective veil or clothes are needed.
Nest thermoregulation Apis cerana colonies maintain their brood temperature in the range of 33–35.5 °C even while ambient temperatures vary between 12 and 36 °C. They use the head-in-tail-out position to draw ambient air into the hive while Apis mellifera use the head-out-tail-in position to draw hot air out.* *Bee Culture: Jan. 2011. Thermoregulation Head-in-tail-out position
Thermal defense When an Apis cerana hive is invaded by the Japanese giant hornet about 500 Japanese honey bees (A. cerana japonica) surround the hornet and vibrate their flight muscles until the temperature is raised to 47 °C (117 °F), heating the hornet to death, but keeping the temperature still under their own lethal limit (48–50 °C). European honey bees (A. mellifera) lack this behavior. http://educatedearth.net/video.php?id=2765
Pests Apis cerana exhibits more careful grooming than A. mellifera, and thus has an effective defense mechanism against Varroa. These local bees have few pests except the toad that can devastate a colony over night.
Second generation bee keeper become Entomologist My father started beekeeping in 1950 and kept bees for over 30 years. Eddie Chio in Macao in 1964
Second generation bee keeper become Entomologist-cont. I spent many weekends helping my father caring the bees when I was in high school. I believe that was why I majored in Entomology at the National Taiwan University (BS and MS) and at the University of Illinois (Ph.D)
Second generation bee keeper become Entomologist-cont. In 1971, I was studying honey bee’s behavior at the Department of Plant Pathology and Entomology, National Taiwan University. A phone call from the President Chiang’s office injected unexpected excitement into my young Entomology career.
Keeping bees for President Chiang Kai-Shekin Taiwan In 1971, Chef Chan from the Shilin Official Residence (士林官邸) contacted the administration of the National Taiwan University for honey bees.
Two dear associates of President Chiang Kai-Shek Chef Chan Captain Kao
President Chiang needs honey bees Administration of the National Taiwan University Chef Chan College of Agriculture Dept. of Plant Pathology and Entomology Division of Entomology Eddie Chio
Keeping bees for President Chiang Kai-Shekin Taiwan-cont. Chef Chan told me that, President Chiang did not trust any honey from the market and decided to harvest his own honey from his own bees. They took 2 hives out of my 4 and told me they would keep bees at the Shilin Presidential residence.
Keeping bees for President Chiang Kai-Shekin Taiwan-cont. Shilin Presidential Residence (AKA Shilin Official Residence) Taiwan
Keeping bees for President Chiang Kai-Shekin Taiwan-cont. I thought that was the end of the story. But later they told me their gardener was not familiar with Apis mellifera. The gardener kept Apis cerana before. They need helps.
Keeping bees for President Chiang Kai-Shekin Taiwan-cont. I ended up caring for President Chiang’s bees at the Shilin Presidential Residence from 1971 to 1972.
Keeping bees for President Chiang Kai-Shekin Taiwan-cont. The Shilin Presidential Residence, stretching 9.28 hectares, was heavily militarized, fortified, and closed to the public until 1996
Keeping bees for President Chiang Kai-Shekin Taiwan-cont. From the entrance to the garden, it was approximately only 200 yards but there were military bunkers and blockhouse. I must be one of the few civilians, if not the first one, allowed inside this Presidential Residence in the early 70s. Blockhouse in front of the residence
Keeping bees for President Chiang Kai-Shekin Taiwan-cont. Inside the barracks, there were army of tradesmen. All bee keeping equipment were made by them.
In 1972, couple hundred pounds of honey were extracted. As you know, honey is very good for constipation, but consuming too much honey at one time could trigger diarrhea. I was worry sick about such side-effect on the old and feeble President. He was 85 at that time.
Lucky break! No report about any one developed diarrhea after eating the honey that I extracted. I left Taiwan in 1972 and President Chiang passed away at age 88 in 1975.
Shilin Official Residence opened for public since 1966. It is now one of the best gardens in Taipei and becomes very popular during the weekends.
Personal notes about Bee Keeping • Bee Keeping opened up many doors for me including my Entomology career and a unique opportunity to care for the royal bees in Taiwan • Bee Keeping connects me well with my father • Bee Keeping is a journey not a destination • Bee Keeping is more art than science
Acknowledge: Thanks for Jerry and Tracy for the arrangement and your attention