I hope everyone is doing well! This update is perhaps coming a little late but it is really the first time since the middle of this month that I've had time to compose anything so here goes! Two weeks ago, for my 24th birthday, Ray and I decided to do something different and took a drive up to Gohtong Jaya (which is the halfway point to Genting Highlands. There, we decided to visit the newly opened Insect Zoo, also known as the Happy Bee Farm. The farm itself is perhaps more of a roadside attraction than an actual insect exhibit but though it was small, the trip was rather interesting in its own way! Upon purchasing our tickets at the farm's entrance (I can't quite remember how much we paid to go in) we were assigned a guide who showed us around the farm and explained the exhibits. Although quite taken aback by this arrangement at first (most insect farms do not assign such tour guides to their visitors) I grew to be quite grateful of it as the guide's help and introduction to certain exhibits were invaluable. He showed us, for example, the various equipment associated with bee-keeping from the basic smoke guns, to the more complex structure of Queen barriers (intricate barriers made out of wood that are placed between specific cells in the hive to prevent the Queen from initiating swarming behavior). It was all rather interesting and sincerely made me consider a career in apiary if the whole PhD thing doesn't work out! We were also able to visit the stingless bee hives and sample the honey fresh from the individual cells!
|The farm's European Honeybee colony (Apis melifera)|
Contrary to my expectations, the farm did not have an aviary-style butterfly enclosure, but to make up for that they certain possessed a wide variety of other insects! The best part about having the guide came during this part of the tour as we were able to interact and hold some of the insects!!! There was a small cage filled with chrysalids (I counted several common papilio species such as polytes and demoleus, euploea sp., and hypolimnas bolina) as part of the exhibit and we were also able to assist with the releasing of the already emerged butterflies!
The farm also boasts, typical to most insect farms of such a nature, an insect "museum" featuring specimens of butterflies and beetles from all over the world.
The best part of the entire trip, perhaps, was when we got to visit the backroom! Here they showed us all the insects they were presently breeding and specimens that were being spread and dried! They were even willing to sell us a few for the right price! Unfortunately, due to my current lack of funds and indecision, we ended up buying nothing! A few papered swallowtails caught my eye but the price was not right and they only had males besides. The farm also possesses a souvenir store where you might purchase ready-framed butterflies, insects, toys, and a myriad of honey based products.
In summation, I would say that the Happy Bee Farm is worth a visit if you are the kind of person who is into insects, creepy crawlies, and other such creatures! Though it did not boast a grand operation on the scale of what one might find at the butterfly park in Kuala Lumpur, or up in Cameron Highlands, perhaps, the friendliness of the staff and the experience of getting up close and personal with some of these insects (and not just from behind the glass box) truly made up for everything! In fact, I think I will be paying them a visit again sometime soon to maybe buy some of those papered butterflies, beetle larvae, or mantis eggs after all!!!
|for more info you can visit their Facebook Page.|