Bees are having a hard time in the 21st century everything from radio waves to pesticides are messing with their honey creation. The poor creatures are also suffering from a massive colony collapse disorder. What’s more native species need to compete with colonies that are shipped around for farmers.
Fortunately there are still ways to help bees! Farmers in Mexico and India are using techniques learned over a millennium ago to keep their local bee populations surviving. No more pesticides or bizarre treatment of bees – instead these farmers help the bees help themselves (and humans).
On the eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula, where large swaths of native forests are still intact, scientists interested in restoring that function are working with Mayan farmers to revive traditional beekeeping. The researchers’ long-term studies of bee populations and surveys of beekeepers in remote Mayan villages showed that the practice is no longer being passed down through families. To help preserve a tradition they saw as essential to preventing local extinction of these stingless bees Buchmann, Roubik, Villanueva-Gutiérrez, and other colleagues from the University of Yucatan started annual workshops to train a new generation of beekeepers.