Social Bees and the Current Status of Beekeeping in Indonesia

  • Sih Kahono
  • Panuwan Chantawannakul
  • Michael S. Engel


Highly eusocial bees in Indonesia are diverse and encompass three groups: i.e., honey bees (Apini), stingless bees (Meliponini), and bumble bees (Bombini); each of which stores resources such as honey in their nests. The native peoples of Indonesia have used honey for a long time, hunting for honey from both wild honey bees and stingless bees. Although regional beekeeping has been developing from traditional to modern hives and methods, traditional beekeeping remains in practice using local honey bees and stingless bees. While data for national honey production is not recorded properly, scattered evidence demonstrates that honey production by hunting Apis dorsata has taken a large role in national honey production. Production from A. mellifera in Indonesia is tending to decrease owing to changing food sources, pests, and climate change. In the last decade, stingless bees that produce increasing amounts of medicinal honey, propolis, and their derivative products have gradually been developed. Indonesia needs to develop beekeeping by enhancing both existing natural ecosystems and artificial green environments as sources of food, and also promoting native stingless bees.


Social bees Honey bees Stingless bees Bumble bees Honey hunters Traditional and modern beekeeping Traditional knowledge Medicinal honey Propolis Pests Climate change 



The authors are grateful to Mr. Paimin Ponijan, Syaiful Alaydrus, M.Si, Dr. Dewi Prawiradilaga, NGO APMP SAMPAN, and Ir. Jacobus Lamerkabel, M.Si. for sharing information and photographs, and to Dr. Djunijanti Peggie for reading an initial draft of the manuscript. This is a contribution of the Division of Entomology, University of Kansas Natural History Museum.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sih Kahono
    • 1
  • Panuwan Chantawannakul
    • 2
  • Michael S. Engel
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Laboratory of Ecology, Zoological Division (Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense), Research Center for BiologyIndonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI)BogorIndonesia
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand
  3. 3.Division of EntomologyNatural History Museum, University of KansasLawrenceUSA
  4. 4.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  5. 5.Division of Invertebrate ZoologyAmerican Museum of Natural HistoryNew YorkUSA

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