Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mayan Stingless Bees

When we were visiting the Chacchoben Mayan ruins our tour guide pointed out an odd-looking 'growth' on a tree trunk. To me, it looked really creepy, like someone attached a zombie's hand to the tree.

This growth is the home of a Mayan stingless bee colony.
The tubes or cerumen pots, are made of beeswax and plant resin and store the pollen and honey.

The ancient Mayans kept the bees for honey and regarded them as sacred. Sadly, today these bees are endangered and their future is very uncertain.

The bees don't sting but will bite if bothered.
Looking closely, I don't think I would want to mess with the fierce soldier bees guarding the entrance to their hive.

For more information on meliponines (stingless bees) go to this Wikipedia article.