MEDA Blog - Stories from the Field

QUE RICO MIEL!

b2ap3_thumbnail_This-is-called-a-Finished-Successor-Hive-this-is-where-the-Queen-bees-are-born.gifb2ap3_thumbnail_Heres-a-healthy-bee-hive.-A-healthy-bee-hive-always-has-a-crown-which-you-see-in-the-top-corners-of-the-hive.gifThis week I had a little taste of what it was like to be a beekeeper, known as an apiarist, for INGEMANN FOOD in the region of Boaco, Nicaragua. INGEMANN is a grant recipient of a MEDA program called Techno-Links. They are an exporter of organic honey.

Local beekeepers were loosing honey and panels were being broken when they were manually being taken out of the bee box. Throughout Canada and Central America there is an external parasite mite called Varroa Destructor. This mite attacks honeybees and causes a disease called varroatosis. This disease spreads throughout the colony causing bees to be weak and have infections that ultimately kills the hive.

To improve these challenges INGEMANN has been producing queen bees in their bee yard to sell to local beekeepers in Boaca. Every two years beekeepers need to switch out the old queen bee for a new one. The queen cleans the hive consistently, doing 99% of cleaning compared to the other bees, and this leaves no room for the Varroa mite. This increases productivity through beekeeping because bees aren't dying and farmers can have higher production and increased quality of honey. I tried the honey and the technology is worth it.

b2ap3_thumbnail_They-found-the-one-Queen-Bee-out-of-thousands-of-bees-to-show-me.gifIb2ap3_thumbnail_We-are-using-a-smoker-to-get-the-bees-away-from-the-hive.gif also got to see how they use their technology for producing Queen bees and even wear a beekeeper suit! However, the first time I was going to go into the apiary, which is a bee yard, I was wearing all black. Bees see black and think of dark fur and think a bear is coming to take their honey. I didn't feel like being attacked by bees, so I waited till the next day to put on something a little brighter. Once I was prepared with my bee suit and double-checked and then double-checked again that no part of my skin was showing, I was taken into the bee yard. The apiarists were nice enough to look in a bee box to find a Queen bee to show me. Each bee box has 15,000 to 20,000 bees with only one Queen bee.

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