Apis cerana, or the Asiatic honey bee (or the Eastern honey bee or the Indian honey bee), is a small honey bee found in southern and southeastern Asia, including all the countries of the Himalayan region. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan) as well as Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Vietnam, and probably other countries. This species is also known as the Himalayan hive honeybee. This species is a sister species of Apis koschevnikovi, and both are in the same subgenus as the Western (European) honeybee, Apis mellifera.
Apis cerana is still found in the wild, where it nests in tree holes, fallen logs, and crevices, but it is also one of the few bee species that can be domesticated. Like the Western honey bee, Apis cerana is kept by farmers for honey production and pollination. Traditionally the bees were kept in log hives, now being replace by wooden boxes with fixed frames. The Apis cerana bee size is similar or somewhat smaller than Apis mellifera, and they also have a more prominent abdominal stripes. Their honey yield is smaller, because they form smaller colonies and partly because they have yet to benefit from the in most areas the selective breeding programs that have produced modern day Apis mellifera. In folk medicine, their beeswax is used to treat and heal wounds.
Apis cerana is found at altitudes from sea level up to 3,500 metres in areas with appropriate flora and climate. This bee species has adapted to adverse climatic conditions and can survive extreme fluctuations in temperature and long periods of rainfall. It is unique in its ability to survive temperatures as low as -0.1ºC, a temperature lethal for other bee species (Apis mellifera).
Source : wikipedia
Apis cerana in the Philippnes:
Tagalog : Laywan ,Cebuano : Ligwan
Distribution, All over the Philippines apis cerana have beeen identified. A morphometric diversity study , published in 2000 revealed that the cerana spp in Palawan are different from the rest of the country. The cerana spp in other parts of the country also showed a significant difference among each other, especially from Luzon and Mindanao Islands.
Beekeeping with Apis cerana :
In different parts of the country, people are involved with the local bee. It is cheaper to start a bee business with the local bee then with the imported European honeybee Apis mellifera.
Traditionally, honey harvested from A.cerana colonies is practiced the honeyhunting method. The part of the nestcombs containing the nectar storage is cut away and the rest of the nest is left behind, allowing the brood to continue. Later in the year, the hunter is returning to check out if more combs can be harvested.
One problem always being described in literature is the fact that A.cerana is absconding often and apparently for no obvious reason. This phenomenan seems to be more frequent in some areas of the country ( Mountain Province ) then in other parts of the country, especially the low lands and coastal areas. Succesfull beekeeping with Apis cerana is has been reported. Cooperatives with more then 40 years experience do exist ( Batangas area ).
UPLB has also done extensive research and has succesfully developed a method to manage A.cerana.