Stingless bees of Guatemala produce healthy honey (and pollen)
When you drive towards the Yaxha entrance to Parque Nacional Yaxha, Nakum and Naranjo, a few kilometers before the park entrance, on the left side of the road (west side) there is a local family that depends on income from bee honey and bee pollen to survive.
About 7 km towards Yaxha park entrance from the highway turnoff of La Maquina, you can find local honey at Don Goyo's bee area. Here is Roxana Leal, social media manager of FLAAR Mesoamerica, walking up towards the family-run business of Don Goyo.
Members of the FLAAR team also bought several bottles of honey to assist the hospitable family. Don Goyo raises doncella bees (Melipona species, probably Melipona beechii) and tamagás (the slightly larger black stingless bee, potentially Cephalotrigona zexmeniae). We are preparing a full report (ready by June) and will double-check the species identification with bee-ologist Scott Forsythe.
It helps local Mayan families if you can purchase their handicrafts at the PNYNN visitors center or obtain the honey directly from Don Goyo along the side of the road (his honey is not sold in any store; only directly from their family home).
To learn about stingless bees of the Mayan people you can ask Don Goyo to take you on a brief tour around his apiary so you can see the cute golden stingless honey bees. The tamagás bee tend to swarm into your hair (if you get too close to their hive), but they have no stingers. I am used to them.
Stingless bee honey is much more liquid than honey from European bees and nowhere near as thick as Manuka honey. So stingless bee honey is not “watered down,” it is liquid as is.
Howler Monkey, Alouatta pigra, list of suggested reading
Photograph by Dr Nicholas Hellmuth, with a Nikon D5 Camera, Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4e FL ED VR lens. 1/30 sec, f/11, ISO 5000
Today we are making available our extensive bibliography on Alouatta pigra, the more common black howler monkey of Peten and surrounding areas of Mesoamerica (southern Mexico and Central America).
The entire bibliography will be available as a FLAAR report as a .pdf in coming months, but in the meantime, for students, zoology professors, and people around the world who are curious about the howler monkey, on this page you can find lots to read.
Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias, waterbird, Pacific Ocean inland marshes, Monterrico, Guatemala
We found and photographed two Great Blue Herons in the marshes inland from the Pacific Ocean coast of Guatemala. These tule reed marshes and mangrove swamps are west of Monterrico, Guatemala.
Next week we will be looking for waterbirds in Chocon Machacas Nature Reserve, Municipio de Livingston, Izabal, Guatemala, so on the Caribbean side of Central America.
We thank Axel Cuellar, CECON, and his colleagues and two sons for helping arrange the boat each day so we could find and photograph diverse species of waterbirds on January 16 and January 17, 2021.
Venomous pit-viper in protected nature reserve Tapon Creek, Izabal, Guatemala