Are there any Texas or New Mexico beekeepers reading this forum that have contacts with apicultores south of the Border? Someone in the states of Chihuahua or Durango would be the closest to where I need help.
I am still thinking hard about the same situation I described in my opium:honey query I posted earlier this week. The top bar hive BB has been a great help. TBH definitely looks like a great way to go in a remote, rural 3rd World situation where the new beekeepers couldn't afford to buy gear from far away.
I could take my ( admittedly limited) knowledge of beekeeping and pictures or plans for TBH's easily on a mission trip. I can probably raise funds to buy basic gear like hive tools, smokers, and veils. What I can not imagine how to do is get USA-raised/bought bees across the Border, even if the bees are not for sale but for economic development / gifts.
I am assuming that any nucs or package bees I could get from a beekeeper deep in Mexico would be Africanized to some degree. Wrong thinking?
Or could it be possible that there could be biological "sky islands" in the high Sierra Madres -- like we see in New Mexico or Arizona -- places where there are bees haven't been in contact with other bees down on the plains?
I would be most grateful for any hints as to who I might call or write about sources of bees in northern Mexico. The Spanish language is not a barrier for me, so if you know someone I could contact that only speaks espaĆ±ol, that's great.
>I am assuming that any nucs or package bees I could get from a beekeeper deep in Mexico would be Africanized to some degree. Wrong thinking?
We get a lot of bees up North from American bee keepers in Texas. I don't know if they will be. Top bar hives are the typical way to raise African bees in Africa. They are much less defensive in a top bar hive.
For the sake of sustainability, I think you should stick with the africanized strains which are endemic there. There is an Mexican beekeeping journal "Apicola" which you might want to subscribe to---it is also viewable on the internet free.
There is an Argentinian Queen producer, Malka Queens, that might work better for import/export restrictions with Mexico. Their email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Their website is www.beekeeping.com/malka/
Mexico has a healthy honey production industry, so you might be reinventing the wheel. yo espero todo qrecer bien.
Appreciate very much your pointing me toward the Mexican journal, and the Argentine source. I have good friends in Buenos Aires, and one of them happens to have been a beekeeper in his teen years, so if I needed help on the ground that far South, I could count on him.
As for reinventing the wheel and the present state of the bee industry in Mexico, I guess my primary goal -- if this should ever become a real thing -- isn't so lofty as giving any of the Big Boys competition.
I would be content to be able to help people -- who haven't a ghost of a chance of getting anything that most of us in the States would recognize as a "job" -- get some more calories on their own tables, and feel a little hope in their hearts. The place I want to help is So REMOTE I can't imagine them being able to export anything that has the weight of honey or wax to anywhere. The only "road" into the place is 40 miles of unimproved log truck track that isn't as good as the "fire roads" in our national parks (I am a former park ranger). Four hours of negotiating ruts and potholes that can swallow a truck or SUV tire and bust an axle at man-walking-slowly speed gets you to the nearest 2-lane paved road, and THEN it's another 8 hours driving to get to a "national highway." I can't think of anywhere in the Lower 48 states that I have been that matches that degree of remoteness. Economic isolation and rugged terrain are why at this point drugs are the only cash crop.
So I am strictly thinking home consumption and the most local of marketing. If you know how life goes in backcountry Mexico, you know how there are mom & pop "stores" set up in the spare front room of people's homes in walking distance of every neighborhood. I must have been in most of the those establishments, and I never saw any honey for sale in any one. There are several older widows (usually with a house full of kids) who bake goods to earn a few pesos. Having honey available for baking would be a great help to them, too. I can testify to their skills as bakers, but in such a place, even the simple basic ingredients are expensive.
I take your point about sticking with the most local of bees to keep the project viable, so I will continue to follow up on that trail. Dios te bendiga.
[This message has been edited by Mark Johnson (edited September 12, 2004).]
Mark: I haven't read much on the top bar hives, but I would think any box with top bars, a strip of beeswax foundation on each top bar, a swarm lure inside each box,----###BOOM###, you probably would have a hive of bees. I am working on producing a large quantity of swarm lure if you are interested. Your profile has no email.
I have a farm in Panama, so I know very well the state of farm roads miles from anywhere. I have purchased old wine/wiskey bottles filled with honey made deep in the "interior" of the jungle areas. Great stuff!----maybe just remnant wiskey taste.
In Panama they have adapted and do work with the African bee----I've peeped into a few hives without protective clothing. I could tell they were getting agitated so I didn't look for long. seemed like small population hives.
Yes, I would be interesting in learning about swarm lure. I have changed my profile to reveal my e-mail. Write me at email@example.com if you want. That was dumb when I first registered --- after all, I am using my real name and location.
One thing about beekeeping I find attractive --- there is always more to learn. And you meet interesting and helpful people! I have been so focused over the years on PREVENTING swarms that I had never considered trying to attract them.
I would still need to brainstorm (and learn) from an apicultor in Durango or Chihuahua about what time of year swarms happen. The latitude is about the same as Miami, but the altitude is higher than Denver or Albuquerque (6500) so it is tough for me to predict what might happen when in the cycle of a hive life. It's still plenty cold there in February, and yet they can get the edge of a Pacific hurricane in September or October. So I don't have a clue if the swarm lure should be set out in March or May or November. Dominant plant cover is big pine forests and alpine-like meadows in the canyon bottoms -- like you might see on the cooler slopes of the Rockies in New Mexico. This place isn't the Cactus Flats of tourist Mexico, nor the jungles of the Yucatan,either. It's Pancho Villa's home turf, and I can easily see why the US Army couldn't catch him in that mountain maze.
As for the whiskey bottles for honey, man, does that ever sound familiar. I lived in Puerto Rico before I came back to the States in 1997, and you see a lot of honey and homemade pancake syrup (guarapo) on the roadside stands bottled in cast-off and cleaned up liquor bottles. Great recycling, that!
Tell me about swarm lures. I'll look to read more.
The main components of any swarm lure are ctral and geraniol. A bit of QMP doesn't hurt either, but the ctral and geraniol are what make up Nasonov peheromone. Lemongrass essential oil contains both of these. You can buy lemongrass essential oil or you can buty citral and geraniol and mix it, or you can buy commercial swarm lure or you can keep dumping old or culled queens in a jar of alcohol and use that for swarm lure.
I bought 1 gallon of citral and am working with another company to get the geranial. The smallest quantity that they want to sell is a 180 Kg drum, so am working a few other avenues to obtain the geranial. I have located several other sources, so should have some potent swarm lure soon.