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Bees

Belize’s First International Beekeeping Symposium

in Issue 33 by

Beekeeping is an agroforest activity that protects the environment, contributes to food security through the pollination of crops, and represents an important, albeit underdeveloped, industry that could provide employment to many Belizeans. In time, beekeeping has the potential to become a source of foreign exchange through the exportation of honey and other hive products such as beeswax, propolis, pollen, bees and manufactured products such as soaps, creams and shampoos. On May 27th and 28th, 2016, the beekeeping community met at the Cayo Welcome Center in San Ignacio to address the potential of beekeeping in Belize and its present challenges. The two-day event was organized by Cayo Quality Honey Producers Cooperative (CQHPC). CQHPC is based in the Cayo District and was…

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Introduction of the African Bee to South America and Belize

in Issue 32 by

The African honeybee (Apis mellifera adansonii) is a native of Africa, occupying roughly ¾ of the continent, from the Sahara Desert in the north to the Kalahari Desert in the south. In 1957, 26 swarms of African bees, held for scientific breeding studies in a apiary near Rio Claro, Brazil, escaped, starting the “Africanization” of bees and establishing themselves as feral swarms occupying now the whole of South America (except what seems to be their climatic limits south of 32o S. on Northern Argentina), Central America, Mexico and the states of Texas, California, New Mexico and Florida and parts of the Caribbean. The African bee has the same number of chromosomes (16 in drones and 32 for the queen) as…

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Beekeeping in Belize Cayo Quality Honey Producers Cooperative

in Issue 31 by

The first beekeepers in Belize were the ancient Maya. They kept stingless bees, Melipona beecheii, in hives made from hollowed out logs. The entrance hole was made midway between the two ends and the ends were sealed with clay. Honey was harvested one to three times a year: in March, April and in a good year, in December as well. Large apiaries existed in Corozal, Orange Walk and Cayo and honey was one of the chief exports of the Maya state of Chactumal in northern Belize. Beekeeping with stingless bees continued until the mid 20th century but today only a few hives remain and the population of wild stingless bees is threatened by development. Beekeeping with Apismelifera began in the…

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The Honeybee Crisis

in Issue 26 by

According to John Ross Crooks, editor of Sovereign Living magazine, 23% of American honeybee colonies died in 2013. In fact, every year since 2006, about 30% of the nation’s honeybee colonies have perished. If honeybee populations continue to decline, a serious crisis lies ahead because they are vital to insect-pollinated plants that make up 1/3 of the human diet. The USDA estimates $15 billion in agricultural production hinges on the survival of the American honeybee. There is still some mystery behind colony collapse. Monoculture (the practice of growing a single crop over a large area), parasites, pesticides, sickness, genetics and habitat loss are believed to be factors. However, according to recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health, neonicotinoid,…

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The Queen Honeybee

in Issue 21 by

A miracle in the beehive: this is the best way I can describe the Queen Honeybee. Her creation and design can only have come from above. Her life begins as an egg. It looks like any ordinary worker (female) egg in the cell of a honeycomb, white, and about the size of a thin mechanical pencil lead, no more than a 1/16” long. If the worker bees see that their queen is seriously failing in egg laying capacity or health, or they know the colony is about to swarm they will set about to raise a new queen. The worker bees may take an egg and put it into a queen cell which workers have constructed from beeswax or the…

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Belizeans Learn Beekeeping and Honey Production

in Issue 20 by

Make sure there’s no excess moisture, either from premature harvest, rainy weather, high humidity, or condensation, in your honey or it will be susceptible to fermentation,” was one emphasis of the class on beekeeping and honey production at the education center of Bridge the GapMinistries , located near Black Man Eddy. The class was conducted by professional beekeeper and honey producer from North Dakota, Alan King, on 6 consecutive Saturdays during January and February 2013. His lectures were simultaneously translated into Spanish and Chinese for the few students who did not readily understand English. Honey, which is about 80% water when it is brought to the hive as nectar, is hygroscopic. That means it readily absorbs moisture. Anything above 18.5…

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North Dakota Beekeepers Spend A Week In Belize

in Issue 3 by

These are a few thoughts from a lady beekeeper who recently spent a week in Belize. My husband, Alan and I have looked at beekeeping various parts of the world and have been blessed with some long term friendships arising from these travels. Earlier this year we decided to take a closer look at Belize and its beekeeping industry and possible potential growth. I first became interested in beekeeping years ago when my 11 year old son wanted honeybees for a 4-H project. My life has never been the same. I had milked cows, raised and sold dressed chickens and raised pigs. I enjoy all aspects of farming but beekeeping became a true love of mine. I know that many…

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