For World Bee Day in March, Jim and Caitlyn spoke about how bees need water, and how water features such as the OASE Quintet installed by Mike Garcia of Enviroscape LA provide a source of clean, chlorine-free water for all pollinators, bees included. If you missed that blog you can find it here: Add a Water Feature and Save the Bees. For World Honeybee Day August 15th this year, I thought we might look at how people have used water to attract and keep bees in other cultures.
The Maya of the Yucatan Peninsula value their Stingless Bees so highly they consider them royalty – they call them Xunan-kab, Royal Lady Bee.
There are sixteen species of Melipona bees in the Yucatan. They make their hives in hollow trees in the wild, but the Maya found out, over three thousand years ago, that there’s an easy way to get the bees to nest anywhere they want. The would-be beekeeper just needs to provide a source of water below a piece of hollowed out log, capped at both ends, with a single hole to get inside. The bees will colonize the log and start to produce a delicious dark, citrusy honey highly valued for its flavor and its medicinal and antibacterial qualities. Xunan-kab honey is very valuable, worth $50 a liter versus $2 for European bee honey, so beekeeping has resurged in popularity, probably saving Melipona from extinction in the wild. Water features have also surged in popularity in the area – coincidence? I think not!
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About the Author:
Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.