bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Stingless beekeeping disappearing

The beekeeping of stingless bees (Melipona beecheii) by the Mayan people of the Yucatan in Mexico may be on the way out say researchers:
“In our initial surveys of bee keepers working with native bees in the eighties, we estimated that they maintained more than a thousand active hives. In 1990, we only found around 400 hives, and in 2004, only 90. At this rate, we would expect the art of stingless bee keeping to disappear from the Yucatan by 2008,” said David Roubik.
The reasons for the decline are numerous: Africanized bees produce more honey, over-harvesting of honey from stingless bees kills off colonies, nectar sources are failing because of deforestation, and few young people are inheriting stingless beekeeping skills from the old hands.

UPDATE 2 July 2005: National Geographic has a good article on the situation -- thanks, Val.


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