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Cherutheen Or Melipona Honey Or Small Stingless Bee Honey - The Honey , Honey Bees and Honey Comb

Honey is a naturally obtained viscous fluid produced by honey bees. It is widely used as a safe sweetener in cookery all over the world. Despite of this, we can't ignore its therapeutic value which we utilize in Ayurveda from ancient time.

The ordinary honey available in the market, which is produced by rearing large honey bees (apiculture).  This honey bees made their comb on large tree trunks, on the ceilings of houses, etc. The honey produced by them has a nice golden colour and are sweet in nature. In spite of the therapeutic importance of honey, it is one of the main ingredients of so many desserts and other savoury items.

Today, my post is about small honey bees or stingless honey bees which we called cherutheneecha in Malayalam. Unlike the ordinary honey bees, this variety of honey bees are smaller in size and produce their nest inside the tree trunks, holes in the walls, etc. Unlike the apis honey bees, the melipona bees can collect honey from a deeper space of flowers and also from small flowers like mango, touch me not plant, etc. This makes them more nutritious, vitamin and mineral rich compared the ordinary honey.

This type of honey bees were very commonly seen in my home in Kerala. I remember, its presence on a Syzygium jambos  tree (panineer chamba) near my house during childhood. Later, when we cut that tree, my father saved that branch where the honeycomb present and used to collect honey there after. After a few years, we lost that tree once in the rain, but the honeybees didn't leave our premises. It was there just like nothing happened to them. They created their new comb near our varantha  (corridor). Surprisingly, we found a new one close to our fence.  Luckily, this honeycomb was outside the fence and my father transferred the queen bee along with their eggs in a clay pot, closed the pot tightly leaving a small hole in the bottom and hung it somewhere. The bees started to make comb in this pot. Unfortunately, we lost the other one which was near our varantha during the last flood. Our houses were flooded for almost three days and these honey comb was submerged and were killed.  Today, in this post, I am sharing a small video of this honeycomb, honey and their medicinal importance.

How we collected the queen bees

To be honest, I am not a professional in apiculture or meliponiculture and I don't have a thorough knowledge about it. But here I am trying to explain the way through which we cultured the bees at home. As I already told, one beehive was near our fence, luckily, the bees made its hive outside the brick, and was very easy for us to transfer them. The queen bee will be present within the hive where the eggs are present and this portion will appear in dark yellow colour. We collected this yellow coloured portion of the hive (the portion with eggs) and placed in a small clay pot and then closed its mouth with a loose cap followed by one or two cotton clothes. Normally, the worker bees will identify the queen bee and will store honey, where the queen bee is present, so gradually, the bees started to create new comb.

When we opened the clay pot last month, this is what happened. A beautiful bee hive with lots of eggs and honey combs underneath. Please see the picture, The upper dark circles are the half build comb, the horizontally placed yellow coloured portion the brood comb where the egg is present and the queen, workers and drones arise, the lower dark portion is the valuable one, with sweet slightly sour honey. We can harvest it with a small clean and dry spoon along with its wax without disturbing the upper yellow coloured portion. Then squeezed tightly so as to get all the honey from it.

Uses of cherutheen (stingless honey) 

Honey produced by the melipona honey bee is known for its nutritional value. As I already told, these bees collect honey from small flower and from the deep space within the flower, so it is enriched with a lot of vitamins and minerals. It is widely used as a valuable medicine throughout the world from ancient time. Some of its qualities are listed below.

  1. Honey is known for its antimicrobial nature, it is can be given to newborn babies to boost the immune system. 
  2. The antimicrobial property is also utilized to cure burn, irritation and scar on the skin surfaces.
  3. Also advised for patients with peptic ulcer and bacterial gut infections. The antimicrobial property of this honey helps in preventing the bacteria helicobactor pylori, which is responsible for pectic ulcer.
  4. If melipona honey mixed with hot water is consumed in empty stomach, will give a relaxing effect and will also prevent obesity and pot-belly. 
  5. Melipona honey with ground cinnamon can be effectively used against sore throat, cough and cold.
  6. We cannot ignore its anti - aging properties. If a small amount of honey utilized regularly, will slow down aging.
  7. It is a natural sweetener and can be recommended for diabetic patients to cut down their sugar intake.
The melapona honey bees, produce only up to 400 gm to 1 kg honey in an year. This makes it more expensive than the ordinary honey. Meliponiculture is wildly done throughout the world and more than 500 species of melapona honey bees are known. It is also available online, but make sure that you are buying honey from a trusted site. This honey has a balanced sweet and sour taste and can be stored for a long time if properly sealed.

(Note : All the points given above is only for informational purpose and not to be substituted for professional medical advice. The website does not guarantee any specific results as a result of the procedures mentioned here and the results may vary from person to person.)

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