Melipona Bees

Today we had the unique and rare opportunity to meet one of the leaders of the Yunku community who is a beekeeper. He told us (in Mayan) how he keeps all the aspects of the bees from making honey, to raising Queens, splitting colonies, and even making beauty products from the bees wax. He said that without the Village his bees would not be able to make honey and he owed his success to his neighbors as much as himself. We were all struck by his humility and gracious attitude as we spent the morning discussing his life as a bee-keeper.

Melipona bees are his specialty and they are native stingless bees (that’s right, stingless).

They are kept in traditional log hives or boxes and are known for the sweetest of honey.

The guard bee protects the narrow entrance to the hive with a threatening bite if predators (or rivals) try to enter.

Unlike European bees, the melipona bee cells are laid out horizontally and are constantly filled with new eggs.