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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We've been driving around the Yucatan the past week. I've been trying to see their stingless bees. So far we've been stopping at every bee supply store and small town mercados to ask around. I've heard the same story repeatedly- "There used to be some around here, but every year fewer and fewer."
Anyway, I did manage to hook up with a guy that keeps Apis Trigona bees. Here's a couple of pics:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/38518075/Apis Trigona bee.JPG
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/38518075/Apis Trigona hive.JPG

Taking the pictures, I was blocking their entrance for a while and ended up with a half dozen in my shirt and hair- and a couple up my shorts. I experienced a moment of panic, but they truely are stingless, but they do bite a little.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Those pictures aren't that clear. Hopefully I'll take better pictures when I meet up with the guy that keeps Melipona bees on Friday.
 

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There is a big "push" to bring the stingless bees back into the Mayan Culture of Yucatan.
I am a part of such community that is trying to bring them back.

I will find you some contacts but, please let me know what part of the Peninsula you are at. My family owns a few hotels at the Rivera Maya so, we know lots of people there.
 

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I guess you have not seen any hanging on the front porch? In my mind, that is the way I pictured them..... sort of a secondary economy of tiny chewey comb sales. You may have to go pretty deep into the jungle.... :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the tip. I arrived Tulum today. I sent him a message on FB. We'll see what happens. Unfortunately, I may be wearing my wife's patience out. She been pretty cooperative but would like me to spend more time in the important hunt for trinkets...
 

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Cg3 are you south of Talum towards the Sian Ka'an. If not head down to Ziggy beach and have lunch. You won't regret it. Xcaret has a stingless hive there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
We pulled into Tulum today. Wife starting to lose patience with bees. Maybe we'll go shopping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
We're staying in town. Hotel Kin Ha. I haven't been in the Maya Riviera since backpacker days of the late 70's. Shocked and saddened. This kind of development was inevitable, I guess, but Jeez...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Score! Reply from Michabee's tip- "Stephane Palmieri- Hola Charlie if you want ti see the melipona bees we are in Tulum inside the hotel Don Diego de la Selva. It s posible visiting ich afertnoon... saludos"
 

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I am glad you were able to connect with him. Tell him I am the administrator for the beekeeping Mexican forum; he is part of it.
Have fun!

Aurelio (Leo) Paez -DBA Michas Honey House
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Aurelio, thanks so much. Stephane was more than helpful. He runs a very nice hotel here in Tulum, with an apiary on site. He is involved in encouraging the revival of stingless beekeeping here, especially among the Mayans. https://www.dropbox.com/sh/1u3417dw0nkbyqd/dk0EVRdrYh/Don Diego Hotel.JPG
There are about 20 colonies of Melipona bees and several of Trigona bees, from 2 or 3 varieties.
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/1u3417dw0nkbyqd/PqfJKFrjA5/apiary.JPG
We inspected a colony of Melipona bees (between thunderstorms!) and they couldn't have been sweeter. Totally uninterested in us or being in daylight. They are very different than European bees. The brood combs are arranged horizontally in a pyramid shape, with separate balls of pollen and honey off to the side.
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/1u3417dw0nkbyqd/VYNZOdm_BB/hive interior.JPG
Traditionally, colonies are kept in log sections and to harvest, the honey balls are punctured with a stick and the log tipped to let the honey run out. In box hives it is much simpler to just suck out the honey with a syringe.
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/1u3417dw0nkbyqd/bcmPN8BjEw/harvesting.JPG
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/1u3417dw0nkbyqd/bcmPN8BjEw/harvesting.JPG
The honey is somewhat thin, with a moisture content of around 28%. It has a nice floral taste. Colonies are harvested twice a year and produce around 4-5 kilos annually at a value of $US100/kilo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm breaking this post up, as we are experiencing thunderstorms and the internet keeps going out.
If anyone visits the Mayan Riviera and is interested in this stuff, I encourage you to check Stephane out at-
Hotel Don Diego de la Selva
www.dondiegodelaselva.com
The hotel is very nice, but a little more pricey than we usually go for but they have a small beekeeping museum there and, 6 days a week, from 1-4pm, he will show you his bees. They are hoping to open an actual museum and sell books and take donations toward that goal.
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/1u3417dw0nkbyqd/nMxxkIIgwZ/smilingbeekeepers.JPG
 

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The honey is somewhat thin, with a moisture content of around 28%. It has a nice floral taste. Colonies are harvested twice a year and produce around 4-5 kilos annually at a value of $US100/kilo.
Sounds like it ferments easily..... maybe they sell it in shots?
Sort of a mead.

$100 a kilo would be about $50 a lb..... guess the locals don't buy much. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
His English was as sketchy as my Spanish and I may have some garbled info. This honey does not ferment at 28%. The sticks in the pan- I asked and didn't follow the explanation, but I think it had something to do with splitting the colony. The colony pictured was a 10 mo. old, medium size colony. Honey price is high because of the rarity and percieved medicinal qualities. Counterfeiting is common. We saw tiny containers of mixed honey/pollen/propolis for sale as medicine in local markets.
 

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Very intersting, love to get more stingless beekeeping information.
Are stingless bees unable to tolerate Southern US weather?
Is anyone working with themi nthe USA?

Asian bees are also kept domestically but I am told are illegal to import to the US which
I find a lot like closing the barn door after the horse left.
There are four honeybee species in Asia and I people eat the honey from two of them
though I think they only keep one species domestically.
 
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