In Mexico we have 1,800 native species of bees and the Melipona bee is a very special one for being one that has no sting.
Honey bees have a guardian where they make their hive, which is always protecting the entrance.
The Melipona bee, Mayan species
Meliponas bees are a species found in the Mexican Territory, and it prevails in the Yucatan Peninsula. For the Mayans, they were insects that were prized for the virtues that honey gives, because unlike their European sisters, the "apis" (the one we commonly know) this substance that they create from pollen, is much thicker, and contains a powerful antibiotic and antibacterial 5 times more powerful than the honey of the "Apis"
Like the European bees, they have a hierarchical order, there is the Queen Bee, the Zánganos (males that fertilize) and the workers, however, the Meliponas bees have princesses, who are born with a genetic potential to be queens if the queen will be missing, otherwise the species we know, since they choose a worker who feeds her with "royal jelly" (a substance that the Meliponas do not produce) in order to convert them into the ruler of the hive.
"The way a princess is different from a worker is because of the color of her eyes, since the former have black eyes and the latter have blue eyes," says Stephen Palnieri, Founder of the Melipona Maya Foundation
Another of the particularities of the Meliponas Bees is that they are a very peaceful species of bee, as they do not have a sting. The way to defend itself is by creating its hives with a single entrance, in which a worker serves as a guardian, who has jaws to defend herself. The honeycomb is built in a horizontal way, however, the Mayans, for many years, raised them in hollow trunks.
The honey of the melipona bee has many more properties than the honey of the apis melífera or European bee.
For the collection of honey, this species has a much lower range than the apis, since it only moves away from the honeycomb around 1km, storing in its "crop" the nécatar of native plants, which upon reaching the hive another worker introduces his tongue by the throat to suck it and this, when joining it with enzymes that they have in the saliva, transforms it into a honey more concentrated than the one that makes the "apis". A year honey bees produce 1kg of honey, unlike stinging bees, which produce 40kg of this product per year, this is due to the number of individuals per hive, as meliponas have up to 3,000 bees and the "apis" come to have much more.
For this and more, human beings have taken advantage of what the bees produce, not only to feed us, but even to cure us of different diseases or illnesses. Many doctors recommend melipone bee honey as an organic medicine, just like Dr. Friedel Kneipp, homeopathic surgeon, who says that honey is the elixir of youth and bees, the great creators of life, thanks to pollination .
The problem is that in recent years the population of bees has decreased exponentially throughout the world. That is why there are works that help to develop traditional beekeeping again, such is the case of the "Melipona Maya Foundation", which are taught in Maya so that they can reinforce their knowledge in biology and management of Mayan communities. species.
The information in our articles are NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and are not intended as medical advice.