A programme of measures to promote native stingless beekeeping raises interest and increases the number of managed colonies in Yucatán, Mexico
González-Acereto J.A., Quezada-Euán J.J.G. & Medina-Medina L.A. (2006) New perspectives for stingless beekeeping in the Yucatán: results of an integral program to rescue and promote the activity. Journal of Apicultural Research, 45, 234-239.
Wild populations of stingless bees are threatened by heavy deforestation in southern Mexico, and encouraging traditional beekeeping is one strategy to conserve them. The species Melipona beecheii is traditionally kept for honey, although the practice is rapidly declining, while honey and wax of other stingless bee species in the genera Cephalotrigona, Plebeia and Trigona are traditionally harvested from wild colonies. Stingless bee honey is used mainly by beekeepers for medicinal purposes, rather than sold for profit. This study reports the effects of measures to promote stingless beekeeping in the state of Yucatán, Mexico.
A programme to promote stingless beekeeping comprised the following measures: 1) provide alternative hive boxes designed for ease of management; 2) develop methods to control phorid fly pests; 3) offer courses on practical stingless beekeeping (22 courses were run from 2000 to 2005); 4) supply colonies to new beekeepers from a central bank of colonies; 5) identify new markets for stingless bee products; 6) provide permanent assistance to beekeepers as required.
The central bank of colonies was set up from 1999 onwards, with colonies mainly obtained from the wild after clearance of forest patches.
Stingless beekeeping courses were attended by around 150 people in total. By 2005, new beekeepers who attended the courses owned 324 colonies. 37 colonies of four stingless bee species - Melipona beecheii, Scaptotrigona pectoralis, Trigona nigra and Nannotrigona perilampoides - had been issued on loan to new beekeepers following the courses. The central colony bank held 377 colonies of ten species, used for training and experimental purposes.