PONTIAN: Hidden in one of the villages here in Serkat lies a house that has attracted hundreds of visitors from all over the world.
The compound of the wooden house at Kampung Perpat Timbul here, belonging to Ahmad Mustafa, used to have more than 70 boxes filled with bees.
Ahmad, who is now 72-years-old, said that he has been living with the bees for over 40 years and sold their sweet honey to those who visited.
“I used to rear Australian bees known as apis mellifera, which produce more honey and are easier to manage as they are tamer.
“However, in early 2010, some of the bees were infected with the chalkbrood disease, and not too long afer all other colonies were also infected, ” he said at his house here. He added that he lost almost all of his bees and later decided to breed a smaller number as a hobby.
“Breeding bees has been a big part of my life and I do not think I can ever stop having bees around my house.
“Although I do not breed as many bees as I used to, I still sell honey that I produce in my backyard, ” he said, adding that he now produced about five bottles of honey monthly compared to more that 700 bottles previously.
The grandfather of 20 said he now has about seven boxes filled with local bees known as apis cerana or Asiatic honey bees.
He added that it was now difficult to find bees in the wild as there was less nectar here for them to feed on.
“The bees I breed find their source of food from the orchard that I have filled with fruits trees such as durian, mango, rambutan, banana and pineapple as well as some flowering plants, ” he said.
Ahmad said he still received visitors from as far as Japan and Australia now, although the frequency and numbers were not as many as before.
“I used to receive visitors who came in tour buses every month but since I have reduced the amount of honey being processed, I have asked tour operators to limit visitors as well, ” he said.