Please help native bees! Help stop the insect extinction!
This project traces its roots back five years, when I first met Carlos Cahuiche on a long walk back from a natural area called Uxuxubi on the Yucatán Peninsula. Carlos was kind enough to give me a ride on his motor scooter; otherwise I would've had to walk 17 kilometers on a dirt road while conducting research for my graduate thesis. We talked about what he does for a living, which includes caring for small colonies of native bees that he harvests for honey to make ends meet. This honey has traditionally been known for its medicinal properties, which should be scientifically explored. Carlos also has a small store in the town of Akumal, an hour south of Cancún. He cares for a son with special needs, who is now twenty years old and unable to live independently. Due to the costs associated with maintaining his household, Carlos has not been able to expand production in his bee colonies, though he is very interested in making this happen.
Support for this project will help Carlos develop the infrastructure to expand populations of both native and Africanized bees in Uxuxubi, as well as establish native flora and trees that these bees will utilize for honey production. Africanized bees are included to make this venture profitable at a faster rate, because the traditional, stingless bees in Mexico can only produce large amounts of honey when their colonies are expanded several times their current numbers. Africanized bees can produce huge quantities of great-tasting honey very rapidly, which will ensure that this business is profitable in its first few years, while populations of native bees are still growing.
Funding for this project will also help pay for the permits, inspections, and transport costs that will be required to bring the first shipments of honey to the United States, where there is vast economic potential and interest to support a project that is environmentally important and socially conscious. It will help the original inhabitants of the Yucatán Peninsula (Carlos and his family are Maya) secure economic opportunities that have long been denied due to the history of colonialism and oppression in Latin America.