Stingless bees, sometimes called stingless honey bees or simply meliponines, are a large group of bees (about 500 species), comprising the tribe Meliponini. They belong in the family Apidae, and are closely related to common honey bees, carpenter bees, orchid bees, and bumblebees. Meliponines have stingers, but they are highly reduced and cannot be used for defense.
Being tropical, stingless bees are active all year round, although they are less active in cooler weather, with some species presenting diapause. Unlike other eusocial bees, they do not sting, but will defend by biting if their nest is disturbed. Despite their lack of a sting, stingless bees, being eusocial, may have very large colonies made formidable by the number of defenders.
Hives box containing colonies Heterotrigona itama .
Stingless bees usually nest in hollow trunks, tree branches, underground cavities, or rock crevices. Many beekeepers keep the bees in their original log hive or transfer them to a wooden box, as this makes it easier to control the hive.
The bees store pollen and honey in large, egg-shaped pots made of beeswax (typically) mixed with various types of plant resin; this combination is sometimes referred to as “cerumen.” These pots are often arranged around a central set of horizontal brood combs, wherein the larvae are housed. When the young worker bees emerge from their cells, they tend to initially remain inside the hive, performing different jobs. As workers age, they become guards or foragers. Unlike the larvae of honey bees and many social wasps, meliponine larvae are not actively fed by adults (progressive provisioning). Pollen and nectar are placed in a cell, within which an egg is laid, and the cell is sealed until the adult bee emerges after pupation (mass provisioning). At any one time, hives can contain 300–80,000 workers, depending on species.
In Borneo, these bees can be used for honey production. They kept successfully in boxes in these areas. Special methods are being developed to harvest moderate amounts of honey from stingless bees in these areas without causing harm.
Like the European honey bee (Apis mellifera), stingless bees have enlarged areas on their back legs for carrying pollen back to the hive. After a foraging expedition, these pollen baskets or corbiculae can be seen stuffed full of bright orange or yellow pollen. Stingless bees also collect nectar, which they store in an extension of their gut called a crop. Back at the hive, the bees ripen or dehydrate the nectar droplets by spinning them inside their mouthparts until honey is formed. Ripening concentrates the nectar and increases the sugar content, though it is not nearly as concentrated as the honey from true honey bees; it is much thinner in consistency, and more prone to spoiling.
Stingless bees store their aromatic honey in clusters of small resin pots near the extremities of the nest. For honey production, the bees need to be kept in a box specially designed to make the honey stores accessible without damaging the rest of the nest structure. Unlike a hive of commercial honeybees, which can produce 75 kg of honey a year, a hive of Borneo stingless bees produces 12 kg. Stingless bee honey has a distinctive “bush” taste—a mix of sweet and sour with a hint of fruit. The taste comes from plant resins—which the bees use to build their hives and honey pots—and varies at different times of year depending on the flowers and trees visited.
According to research conducted by the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Mardi) Honey from the stingless bee is low in sugar content but high in antioxidants. The antioxidant content is in fact four to 10 times that of ordinary honey.
Many known health benefits of eating stingless bee honey regularly include enhanced libido and immune system,anti-ageing,treating bronchial catarrh, sore throat, fighting bacteria ,coughs and colds. Stingless bee honey certainly has a lot of nutrients because meliponine is smaller than the normal bee and can suck nectar from flowers to the deepest space. As a result, the honey collected contains many vitamins and minerals, among which is propolis, produced from the bee’s saliva mixed with its food such as pollen, bark, tree shoots and flowers. Stingless bee honey is not a normal big honey. It is natural sweetener and can be used as substitute of sugar in medicinal and food purposes.
Stingless bee honey is considered medicinal because it collects nectar and pollen from small wild growing plants and trees, it is difficult for bigger bees to get inside smaller flowers. Lack of sleep /anxiety – can be treated by drinking a glass of water that has a spoon of stingless bee honey dissolved in it (honey drink). Drinking water with honey has a very calming impact on people.
Honey from Stingless honey bees are advised for the treatment of ulcers and bacterial gut infections. Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria found in the stomach is known to be the cause of peptic ulcer. Antimicrobial property of honey is useful in eradicating these micro organisms and provides relief for ulcer patients.
The use of natural honey as food and medicine by mankind has been in existence from time immemorial. In fact, records have it that raw honey is the most ancient sweetener, and it was noted to have been in use throughout the world several million years ago.
VCE perform greater fungal growth inhibition due to the ability of monolaurin directly affected fungal enzymatic systems. Monolaurin (Lauric acid derivatives conversion) is an active form of substance that can disrupt the fungal cell wall. Compare to VCO, the oil form does not instantly converted to monolaurin due to some extent that the conversion of lauric acid to monolaurin took some tomes to be completely converted. The same manner could be implemented to bacterial and viral strain which VCE could destroy their capsid (journals).
The advantage of VCE is that, they showed lower toxicity level than VCO. This is due to some toxic substances could disperse freely in water based medium (diluting) compare to oily medium which could accumulate and concentrate the toxic substances and finally trap in the oil.
Natural formulation without chemical usage
VCO is pure oily form of edible like other cooking oil except they possess multifunctional medicinal properties (journals). Therefore, we have done some effort to manipulate and design to produce better appearance with good taste and easy consumable. Thus, we have formulated VCE which used only edible ingredients to lesser the hazardous for internal and external usage.
VCE is able to be diluted into water
Our VCE was designed to be miscible and totally dissolved in water and possess the emulsion characteristics. There are many advantages of emulsion-like properties such as drug delivery systems, fast absorption (in water and fat medium), various non-oily products production, easy to be wash, etc.
VCE has change the VCO paradigm of oily consumption to water based usage. This is a new innovation where we can divert the mentality and perception in our society about coconut. The manipulation of this manner has open an access to people out there to accept VCO as VCE which taboo them previously and from VCO we can manage to easily deodorized the bad and rancid smell of coconut oil with various natural extract and flavors incorporated as well as encapsulate with softgel or in sachet.
VCO was shown to be the most stable and longlasting edible oil on earth due to its lowest oxidation rate compare to others. Therefore, VCO can prolong the shelflife. The invention of VCE actually has mimicking this properties where we preserved it and produced VCE with similar longer shelflife as well.