House of the Royal Lady Bee

By Jennifer Kennedy and Richard Arghiris


“Like a regal dynasty whose house has endured the ages, Xunan-Kab has been a part of Yucatec Mayan culture for many generations. Local beekeepers have kept domesticated colonies of Xunan-Kab (Royal Lady Bee) for at least 3,000 years, but in modern times they have turned to more productive European honey bees (Apis mellifera) and related Africanized bees. Nobody knows how many Xunan-Kab colonies exist in the wild, but the species, like other stingless bees, is a prolific rainforest pollinator. According to Villanueva, deforestation, whether by humans or hurricanes, is gravely impacting wild populations, but bee husbandry is one way to mitigate the loss of wild hives.”


Jennifer and Richard are writing for the Mongabay Series: Indigenous Peoples and Conservation, and you can read the full article here, alongside pictures of the bees.


Categories: Guatemala

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