Oaxaca's beekeeping divesity.
A few months ago, my wife and I went to an international apiculture conference in the state of Oaxaca. We got to meet a lot of interesting people, from different parts of the world. There were a lot of interesting pieces of information that shocked me in different aspects of my beekeeping experience. When Africanized bees started to take over in that part of the world, a lot of beekeepers left the trade and now, it is having a difficult time bouncing back. The state of Oaxaca is just plain beautiful and diverse; there are different eco-regions. You can drive from the gulf coastal plains, into the river valleys of the sierra madre, to the trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt or into the humid Oaxacan mountain forests. The diversity is great, the forests have a great deal of bromeliads, orchids, ferns, etc. I also saw coffee, banana, citrus and all kinds of plantations. According to different sources, Oaxaca still has a lot of unspoiled forests.
The beekeeping there is completely different from anything you are used to. There are bees being kept on clay jars, hollow logs and baskets. I got to see working apiaries of Melipona bees; amazing how they build their hives like stacks of pancakes.
Most beekeeping in Oaxaca is done on a rustic way, and most honeys are unique to the areas.
Oaxaca is just an amazing place for me.
Dr. Victoria Soroker, entomologist and scientific director for the state of Israel, in charge of chemical ecology, bee colony losses and arthropod-plant interaction studies, asked me to consider taking her and some of her coworkers into the different apiaries that may represent the regions of Oaxaca –and I may just do that soon. She wants to see africanized hives and the way people just cope with them. I love Oaxaca’s, and would love to get to see the mountains, the cost, the forests, the jungles and the people, the culture, the food and enjoy their hospitality once again soon.
Re: Oaxaca's beekeeping divesity.
Once, about 20 years ago, I was driving down the pacific coast of Mexico in an open jeep on my way to Chiapas. I believe I had passed through Guerra and was probably in the Northern tip of Oaxaca. When some kind hombres explained to me, that with my limited Spanish, I had best not proceed further, else I would be surely kidnapped. These were the days when the Zapatista were in full swing. So I decided it might be more prudent to stop and head up to the volcanoes of Colema. But from the tiny touch I did see of Oaxaca I knew I was in a very special place, I would love to go back. I even know how to pronounce Oaxaca. :)