Mayan Bee Sanctuary
Mayan Bee Sanctuary
The Mayan Bee Sanctuary was born in January 2019 and it is divided in two main components: the Melipona Bee and Mayan Sculptures. The first aims to teach the importance the Melipona Bees have had in the environment, traditions and culture as well as creating awareness. Beekeeping is a very important activity, by means of which we have the privilege of sharing a Mayan tradition to the world. The Sanctuary helps individuals visualize beekeeping within a rational and sustainable context of environmental resources. Our goal is to create mindfulness towards the conservation of this species. The second component encompass the diversity of artistic expressions that constitute a valuable asset to the Mayan culture. Each piece shows us in a very singular way, as the sculptor gives life to something inert in order to preserve the Mayan culture. These sculptures evoke a rather mystical sense and knowledge of the culture as they are displayed throughout the site.
The stingless bees, also known as Meliponas or “Xunan Cab” in Maya language, are native of Yucatan and have reproduced in endemic areas where the ancient Maya inhabited, such as the region of what is today southern Mexico, lowland Guatemala, and central Belize.
Xunan Cab, “the royal lady” holds a very important place in the religion, cosmogony, commerce, food and medicine for the ancestral and current Mayan people. Such is the importance of the bees that the Maya, developed colorful rituals to define and celebrate their complex relationship and honor Ah Mucen Kab; the deity associated with the care of the bees. There are over 600 different species of stingless bees over the world, 46 different types in Mexico, and 16 different species of Melipona in the Yucatan Peninsula. They are considered to be self-sufficient, which means they can thrive once provided with their basic needs such as shelter, pollen, nectar and water. The main characteristic of the Melipona bee is that it does not have a stinger, but “bites” to defend its colony from everything that represents a threat. They require more care than a traditional hive, as they are highly sensitive to abrupt changes in climate and noise and may only live up to 40 days. Meliponas perform 80% of the pollination of forests in the Yucatan Peninsula.