Discipline: Natural Sciences
Wild honey bees (WHB) are very important in the biodiversity and conservation of the forests. In Bohol, Apis dorsata or “Putyukan” found in heavily forested areas produce huge supply of honey. Residents along forest lines have been harvesting wild honey for economic value. Their number has not been accounted for nor their practices documented. The study aimed to provide information about wild honey gatherers known as mamuhagay in two barangays in Bilar, Bohol. Specifically it determined the socio-economic profile of mamuhagays, manner of harvesting, economic value of wild honey, potentials and issues related to wild honey gathering. The study found out that mamuhagays are rural poor who augment their income by harvesting wild honey. The job requires no capital, only skill and hard labor. It exposes the gatherers to risks and dangers. The lure of immediate income that it could bring at the end of the day has been their incentive. Almost half of them had been harvesting in the last five years while one-fourth had been in the trade for ten years. The income from wild honey comprised almost a fifth of their total annual income. The peak season for honey gathering is March to April. There is high disparity in pricing between wild honey (Php 60 per 375 ml bottle) and processed cultured honey ( Php 250.00 per 200 ml). This could be the basis to the possibility of establishing a wild honey cottage industry. Mamuhagays leave bees wax to rot in the forest floors which could be sold and utilized as honey by-products. Wild honey gathering could be linked to the ecological tourism industry in the province. Organized wild honey gatherers realized the important link of WHB to forest protection because it has become their source of livelihood. Lack of knowledge and information on parameters of WHB population may cause over extraction leading to their extinction.