Welcome to Meliponiculture. That’s a big word for raising some of the tiniest bees in the world, and at Luna Nueva we follow this ancient practice of beekeeping stingless bees to support the ecosystem and produce some of the most treasured honey of the world. These stingless bees are called Tetragonisca angustula, one of the approximately 60 species of stingless bees that live in Costa Rica. The particular species that we feature is known locally as “Mariola,” and it creates a honey of uncommon flavor and strong antibiotic activity. The honey is also known as “little angel honey,” which we appreciate as these tiny creatures shine in the sunlight and work tirelessly to create sweetness and health for our rainforest.
While stingless, they are not defenseless. The hive has a small population of soldier bees, and when the hive is invaded the soldiers will latch onto the invader’s body and beat their wings. As their metabolic rates go up, the soldiers generate enough heat to immobilize the invader. You can see these soldier bees hovering near the entrance to the hive. Fear not: they can’t hurt you.
We have Mariola hives throughout our farm and fields. We support the “Sacred Bees” project in Costa Rica, and our guests are invited to help protect this critical species by supporting the Sacred Bees project through our farm. For more information about our Sacred Bees project, contact Danilo Solano through [email protected]. Pura Bee-da!
The little bee on the right seems to be staring right at us, asking us just what we intend to do near the hive.
Our dear friend Steven Foster, a master botanical photographer, turned his lens on a flower’s best friend.
We opened the hive to harvest the medicinal honey. The sunlight streaming through the colony created this lovely image.
The Byzantine architecture of the colony
Our master beekeeper Danilo Solano harvesting the Mariola “little angel” honey from one of our boxes.
Supporting native pollinators is a key aspect of regenerative agriculture, the principles of which guide all of our practices at Luna Nueva. Learn more about regenerative agriculture on this website and from our friends at The Carbon Underground, www.thecarbonunderground.org.