Aj Tikonel Kab’, the local association of beekeepers, produced over 600 pounds of honey since the season started in December. As a comparison, last year’s honey harvest yielded only 250 pounds.
The reasons for this rapid growth are two-fold. First, a new participating group of coffee producers from Totolya added their harvested honey to the total product. Second, the association members from Pampojila used their income from last year’s harvest to invest in expanding their apiary from ten hives to 25!
The association’s new goal is to produce enough honey to sell year round and it seems attainable as next year will bring even more growth with the introduction of a third group of honey producers from Panimaquip.
Recently, a group hailing from St. Paul Episcopal Church in Bellingham, Washington visited the project and apiaries. The group, composed of 18 volunteers, was in Santiago Atitlan for a week and provided hands-on support to various projects at Pueblo a Pueblo. One of the most important activities they completed was the construction of ten bee hive boxes for our program participants.
These hive boxes are essential for honey production. Depending on their placement, the boxes can either be used as spaces for bee reproduction, where the brood (bee eggs) are held, or as “honey super boxes”, where they serve as places for bees to store new honey. Either way, these ten new boxes will ensure the beekeepers a head start going into next year’s honey season.
As this year’s harvest winds down, the association will focus on looking for new buyers and expanding their sales market but, above all, they’ll be keeping the bees healthy and maintaining the colonies so they’ll be ready for another productive honey season next year!