Beekeeping

Races

In 1959 Apis mellifera was brought into Belize from Mexico as pollinators for the sugar cane industry. In 1987 Apis mellifera scutellata was detected in Belize. It is believed that presently the only race of Apis in Belize is an hybrid of the Apis mellifera scutellata and original European races.

Other species of bees (stingless bees) also found in Belize are the Melliponas and Trigonas but not on a widespread basis and not for commercial beekeeping.


Distribution and density

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In 2001, an official estimate placed the number of hives at 1,791 throughout Belize, the equivalent of an average density of 1 hive / 3,000 acres (soit un chiffre réellement très bas indiquant des potentialités de développement énormes). It must be remembered that, as already mentioned in the foreword, hives from the informal sector (for family use only) have not been counted.

 


Hives repartition / Districts
Districts Beekeepers Beehives

Average
beehives
/beekeeper

Honey lbs.
Belize 6 51 8.50 952
Cayo 41 506 12.34 62 000
Corozal 22 361 16.40 46 875
Orange Walk 35 772 22.05 84 375
Stann Creek 15 55 3.66 3 000
Toledo 10 46 4,60 5 750
Total 129 1 791 13.88 202 952

0% of the bee population is migratory. The most dense concentration of apiaries as well as hives per apiary is found in the Orange Walk District. The average number of hives per apiary is 15.


Apiaries

Highly suitable in the Belizean context, the Langstroth Standard 10 frames, with straight frames (no Hoffmann types were observed), is the only hive used for Apis mellifera. The degree of standardization is practically 100%, a situation, which is both excellent and rare.


Methods

The Belize Honey Producer's Federation of Cooperative Societies Limited was formed and registered in 1977 and was comprised of four cooperatives. Three other cooperatives were formed and were working individually. The honey was exported in 55-gallon drums to U.K., Canada, Saudi Arabia and the USA.

As the production of the honeybee was approximately 46 -102 lbs./hive/yr., which is more than the stingless bees, honey production with honeybees became popular with beekeepers and also farmers willing to earn extra income. In a year's time, there were beekeepers throughout the country with approximately 978 hives.


Yield per beehive between 1956 and 2000 (lbs.)

More farmers and entrepreneurs are seeing the potential of beekeeping and are integrating it with agriculture. Environmental NGO's like The Belize Audubon Society and Programme for Belize have become interested in beekeeping and have funded projects that use the natural reserve area for the production of honey due to its positive environmental effects.

There are different ways to divide your colony to obtain new ones, however it is important that when dividing the colonies, you remember to.

Choose a colony that has a good queen (that store honey, compact laying, good layer, and without disease). This will be your mother colony.
Use sterile equipment that is free from disease. From your mother colony, remove 5 frames. Three frames with eggs (B), one sealed (SB), and two frames with pollen (P). This new colony is called a nucleus. The queen will remain in the mother colony. Add adult bees to the box.

Refer the manual "Basic Guide to Beekeeping - Good management of the Africanized Bees makes a Beekeeper Successful." 

Price: US$ 15. Order:

Margar Leiva
Local Consultant
10 Sapodilla
St. Orange Walk Town
Belize
Tel.: (501) 302 2617
Mobile: (501)621 4357
Email. buzzingbee@btl.net


Belize - Honey - Homepage

Realization: Gilles RATIA
Last update: 12/08/05
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