Imperial Bee Organic Honey

The honey bee is so small it hardly seems necessary. However, without the pollination work of these little creatures, our food supply would be in danger.

Earlier this year, I visited MJ and Gabriella, who run their small organic honey business on their family farm just outside Puerto Vallarta. They are among over 300 beekeepers in Jalisco alone.

We sat under a huge guamuchil tree while they told me how they got into this business. MJ is a veterinarian who, during her training, fell in love with bees! After graduation in 2014, she returned to Vallarta to start their business.

About a dozen hives are on their farm, and many others are in San Pancho, Mezcales, and the Vallarta Botanical Garden.

Each of these areas produces different flavored honey.

They told me there are over 2000 species of bees throughout Mexico, with 43 species in Jalisco. The stinging honey bee we know as Apis mellifera was brought to Mexico from Europe in the 16th century by the conquistador Hernan Cortez.

The two most prevalent bees in Mexico are Nannotirgona perilampoide and Scaptotrigona helwegueri. These are referred to as natural bees, and they do not sting!

The Mayan people along the eastern seaboard were masters at using the natural bees, primarily found in trees for hundreds of years.

Honey was considered a sacred food used medicinally and for celebrations among the royalty. The Aztecs and, later, the Huichols in western Mexico use beeswax to glue colored beads to hand-carved animal forms that are popular today in tourist centers.

These two beekeepers are also called on to make bee rescues for people who want bees removed from their homes. These rescues are done at night when the bees are quiet in their hives.

A bucket with holes and honey inside is placed near the bees. Then a light is shined on the hive, which ‘wakes up the bees,’ so they come out and, being hungry, make a ‘bee line’ for the bucket. The comb is cut down and placed in a wooden frame that fits into a hive box. The stimulated bees are poured into the new hive and transported back to the farm.

In the future, Imperial Bee plans to turn its farm into a bee sanctuary and classroom with more wildflower gardens, fruit trees, palms, and other plants. Also, they would like chickens and a cow for natural manure and a larger pond as a secondary water source. This will take money and volunteers. They hope to use this sanctuary as an educational center and breeding laboratory to help others understand the vital work bees and beekeepers do to preserve their health and habitats.

Sadly, the bee’s natural habitats are declining due to urban growth and deforestation. Periodic colony collapse resulting in the death of thousands of bees is thought to be caused by a combination of unregulated agrochemical use, loss of habitats, and unknown pathogens.

More needs to be done to halt this devastating phenomenon. Beekeepers like MJ and Gabriella are passionate about protecting the bee’s health, habitat, and virility.

Please support their essential work. Contact them through Facebook and WhatsApp. Imperial Bee’s delicious organic honey (my favorite is ginger honey) is available at farmer’s markets and La Semilla Health Food Store in Vallarta.

Beware of imitations in unlabeled plastic containers, often made with corn syrup!
Facebook and Messenger: Imperial BeePV
WhatsApp for orders: +52 322 147 4565

Author

  • Sandra Cesca

    Sandra Cesca, freelance writer, cultural photographer, author, and tour guide, has two passions - international cultures and plants. They inspire her writing, photography, and her seasonal walking tour business. Her guidebook, Tropical Plants of Puerto Vallarta, is in its 3rd edition.

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