The heats turned up high the spring flowers are in bloom and the bees are busy.
St Elena honey is being gathered at this moment. Its one of the most delicious honey I have tasted . Depending on the flowers at the time denotes the flavours and the colours .In many parts of the Yucatan you will find many beehives as a way of making a living as they have done for many generations even during the Maya rein of the ancient cities.
The ancient Maya used the stingless bees known as Meliponine native to Yucatan. They were symbolic , a link to the spirit world. The bees made their honey in gourds, and pieces of wood ,cut specially for the beekeeping. They used it as a sweetener, a curative,to make mead and a ceremonial drink still made to day called Balche.There is a decline of the Meliponine bees as European bees were integrated to produce more and faster honey.The honey from the Meliponine bees is in quite high demand on the European market and brings a high price for its curative qualities .
The Africanized bees brings with them problems stinging for one,and hard to deal with
Sometimes the men have to travel up to an hour or more into the jungle taking with them water in the dry season making sure that the bees don’t disappear looking for water in other parts. Many bees get lost or just abandon the hives and don’t return ,so care as to be taken constantly .
This year hasn’t brought as much honey as in the past and there is a constant worry about the decline of bees that are available.
I have planted many Neem trees around my place and as now when the flowers are in full bloom they omit a wonderful perfume. Not only that in the early morning the trees are alive with the sound of humming bees swarming the flowers. On more than one occasion I have tried to encourage some of the beekeepers that maybe it would be a good idea to plant the Neem trees around the hives as the honey made from the Neem I know has amazing properties and would bring much more money on the market but as yet they are not ready to change their old ways of doing things. This kind of mentality is quite common amongst the indios as they are known. But I am finding if you keep talking about new ideas they start to catch on it just takes time and patience.
I know that if I had sufficient land to have hives without jeopardizing the safety of the tourists that stay here I certainly would have lots of Neem trees planted specifically for the honey that it produces. There is an old saying that seeing is believing and in this case this would ring true.
To help sustain a family here in St Elena I buy their honey and then I pay so much per bottle for them to bottle it for me… I always have a supply for sale here at the restaurant as I serve it with breakfast and because many people ask me where they can find local honey and its not that easy if you are just passing through. Some sell from their homes but don’t always have on hand and sometimes you will see it in the market of Ticul . But again one has to know where to locate it.
So if you are in the area and looking for honey then drop in and see me or ask the staff they would be happy to help you.