Meliponiculture and physicochemical properties of honey produced by the African stingless bee Plebeina hildebrandti Friese in Kalakamati village, Botswana

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W. Bafo

Abstract

This study was conducted to assess the harvesting practices in Kalakamati village of honey produced by the African stingless bee Plebeina hildebrandti Friese and to determine the physicochemical properties of this honey. To understand stingless bee honey harvesting practices, a semi-structured questionnaire was prepared and 15 individuals who have experience in collecting stingless bee honey were interviewed. The physicochemical properties of four honey samples were analysed following standard procedures. The stingless bee honey had average moisture (28.4%), reducing sugar (61%), apparent sucrose (2.4%), free acidity (36 meq/kg), pH (4.77), total ash (0.42%), hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) (17.82 mg/kg) and water-insoluble solids content of 0.07%. All the parameters comply with the Tanzanian standard for stingless bee honey whereas all but moisture content agrees with the European standard for honey from Apis mellifera. Moisture content of the stingless bee honey in the present study is higher than the 21% EU standard for Apis mellifera honey. In Kalakamati village, honey from stingless bees is collected from the bush and stingless bees are not kept by farmers. According to the respondents, honey from stingless bees is consumed as it is, is used as a substitute for sugar in tea and for its medicinal value to treat cough, stomach ache and flu. The results suggest that honey produced by stingless bees in Kalakamati village is of good quality as it generally meets international quality standards. Honey production from stingless bees could contribute to poverty alleviation and food security in the study area if appropriate interventions are made.

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How to Cite
Bafo, W. (2019). Meliponiculture and physicochemical properties of honey produced by the African stingless bee Plebeina hildebrandti Friese in Kalakamati village, Botswana. Botswana Journal of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, 13(1), 33-42. https://doi.org/10.37106/bojaas.2019.13
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Author Biography

W. Bafo, Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Department of Food Science and Technology, Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Gaborone, Botswana.