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Go to the forest to climb trees to get honey

When bees make a lot of honey, people in the highlands of Binh Thuan go to the forest to find natural honey and sell it for 500,000 VND per liter.

At the weekend, Huynh Minh Sang, 23 years old, in the highlands of My Thanh (Ham Thuan Nam district) and his family went to the forest to find honey. He brought a lighter, a knife, a head net, and a plastic crate with a strap.

This season, the forest is dry, but according to Mr. Sang, this is also the time when bees make the best honey of the year, so many people in the village look for it. This trip, he went up to the forest on the side of Rai Vo mountain, 5 km from the village. “Near the village, people have caught them all, so they have to go far to have many,” said Mr. Sang.

Huynh Minh Sang covered his head with a net and climbed trees to collect wild honey.  Photo: Viet Quoc

Huynh Minh Sang covered his head with a net and climbed trees to collect wild honey. Image: Viet Quoc

Passing through the oil forest, Mr. Sang and his honey collectors waded on the trail covered with dry leaves, the sound of sandals stepping on rustling leaves. Each person divided a direction to find the hive on the tree. More than an hour of searching, they found a large bee nest on a tall tree, about 30 meters above the ground.

Mr. Sang and his father-in-law, Mr. Ta Yen Si, 47 years old, gathered a handful of dried bamboo branches, bundled them together to make a torch about 70 cm long, the outside was covered with fresh leaves to create smoke. At the same time, Mr. Si cut a vine, stripped out many of the braided parts, to make a torch string.

Lighting the torch, Mr. Sang covered his face with a net and began to climb the tree. The torch was burning strongly, and the smoke was smoky. Climbing close to the beehive lying on top of the tree, Mr. Sang placed the torch under the beehive. The bees see the smoke and fly away one by one, leaving the honeycomb.

Mr. Sang used a knife to cut the wax with honey into the plastic container and then slowly slid down with the torch still smoking. “The wild wasp is very aggressive, if there is no smoke torch, it will attack me,” Sang said.

When his son-in-law climbed a tree to catch the beehive, Mr. Si had to back away from the hive more than 50 meters to avoid being attacked. Because wild bees often chase people to destroy the nest to the end. There was once a case of being chased to the village by a swarm of bees, stinging people with venom, nearly dying.

Taking all this nest, the two continue on their way to find another nest. Each day a group finds 2-3 nests, sometimes there are no nests. However, the most important thing is still the honey obtained, because there are times when many nests are found but the honey is not available and must return empty-handed.

“If there is honey, normally each nest can squeeze out about 2-3 liters of honey, if you are lucky enough to hit a large nest, you can get dozens of liters but very rarely”, Mr. Si said.

Natural honey is taken from Binh Thuan forest.  Photo: Viet Quoc

Natural honey is taken from Binh Thuan forest. Image: Viet Quoc

This season, not only My Thanh people, but also people in the neighboring highlands such as Dong Giang, La Da, La Ngau… also go to get wild honey. In the dry season, the fields are empty, without a stable source of income, they often go to the forest to find honey or gathering medicinal herbs to earn money to support the family.

Mr. Nguyen Son and two neighbors in Tanh Linh district this month also went to Nui Ong forest, next to My Thanh forest, to find honey. He said, this year the weather is erratic, the wild bees make little honey, so the income from this profession is not like every year.

One day he earned a liter, three days, but some days he didn’t get any. Natural honey taken from the forest is sold by upland people right in the village to collectors for about 500,000 VND per liter.

Ms. Thuy Linh, a person who specializes in buying wild honey in Tanh Linh, said that wild honey is currently very popular in the market because of its better quality than farmed bees. Her friends in Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Vung Tau… ordered continuously, but not enough supply.

“Forest bees absorb many kinds of pollen in the forest, the honey is delicious, people prefer it because of its health-promoting and healing effects,” Linh said.

Honey is often used as a tonic for adults and children, curing stomach and intestinal ulcers, sedating, curing headaches and some neurological diseases, dry cough, sore throat, mouth sores, burn wounds…

Go to the forest to climb trees to get honey

People in My Thanh make torches, climb to catch bees on tall trees. Video: Viet Quoc

Viet Quoc

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