Tantelin’ny laodisia or lychee honey is a very light colored monofloral honey produced in the regions of Manakara and Mananjary, in the southeastern costal part of the country. It contains 70% lychee pollen and 30% others kind of pollen. It has a very delicate flavor with a taste slightly reminiscent of roses. It crystallizes very quickly, but its granulation is quite thin. The hives are settled near the orchards in order to improve the pollination and the fruit production, but also to get a higher quality honey. The honey is harvested from September until November.
Bees are part of everyday life in Madagascar, and honey and beeswax is used in different kind of rituals and traditional activities. For example, it is a tradition to have a family dinner with rice, zebu, milk and local honey after the first time a baby’s hair has been cut. Local honey production reached high levels between 1920 and 1940, and Malagasy honey was a very popular product in Europe, but with the arrival of new products on the markets and the production issues in the country, production slowly decreased. Madagascar lost most of its market and the exports almost completely collapsed. Today, about 1200 kg of lychee honey is produced annually, and mainly sold locally. Today, the current situation of a decrease in bees pollinating the lychees is a danger for the future of this product. Current environmental management techniques and the use of chemical products in the fields threaten the bees in the area. Fewer bees, of course, means less honey, less pollination and fewer fruits.