Laine stands by in an improvised bee suit, watching Carlos smoke the bees. This calms them down and gets them out of the hive they have built between our rafters.
Carlos Tzib of San Antonio village smoking out the bees. We were much happier to have him collect them than have to kill them by using pesticide. Bees are one of the most precious natural resources in the world, and are endangered by pesticide use and cell phone frequencies. Every bee counts.
Wax comb from the three week old hive.
Carlos coaxed the queen onto his bee hat, and the rest of the bees gathered around her. The queen is somewhat bigger than the workers, and can also be identified by her shiny thorax, whereas the worker bees have a fuzzy thorax.
The bees were all about their comb, and gathered onto it. Carlos just shook them off into a clean bucket.
Bees and comb in bucket, ready to go to a new home and hive. According to the article, “The Queen Honeybee” in the May-June issue of The Belize Ag Report, all Central-American bees are “Africanized”. Even though these are purportedly more aggressive, no one was stung during the time they made their home at the ashram.
The comb didn’t have much honey as it was so newly established, but it was full of bee larva growing in tiny tightly curled crescent moons within the cells of the comb. Carlos said his kids eat them. This kind of blew my mind. I ate a fat, well developed one to see what it was like. It didn’t taste like honey, but perhaps it bestows some magical nutrients of some kind…
The latest buzz from The Chaya Garden Ashram is all about the bugs. Rainy season, dry season, cold fronts, hurricanes, it’s still pretty new to us after three years in Belize. Actually, the weather in Belize has been acting pretty unpredictably for the past three years, so they say. It all started when we came in with a wicked cold front (presumably from Canada.)
(One thing we do know though is the bug weather, and we’re just finishing up on wasp and bee weather, and getting into rainfly weather.)
The rains have just started, and so the grass is greener in Belize (pun intended). That brings to end the time of pollination for the bees.
The Bees moved into the ashram two or three weeks ago, and have bee’n hard at work making some nice wax, and lots of little baby bees. We called up one of the local bee keepers (Carlos Tzib) and he came and collected the bees at no expense.
Bees need a water source, so the Chaya Garden Ashram is perfect for these little honey makers. Right down by the waterfall there were always dozens of bees peacefully drinking up the water as it cascades down the rocks.
Carlos offered us to keep bees on our property, and we’re inclined to to say yes!
To learn more about bees, check out Issue 21 of Belize Ag Report.