One of our beekeepers, suited up
Our new beekeeping partnership in Huehuetenango has made big strides, and is flourishing! Since we last checked in with you, the group of women has completed three hands-on trainings. After conquering the learning curve, they are progressing quickly and on their way to becoming successful, self-sustaining beekeepers!
The first practical training was in mid-October, when the women helped to construct and install 10 hives in their apiary. Unfortunately, the week after there was a huge rainstorm (an offshoot of Hurricane Patricia) that made travel to Huehuetenango dangerous and meant the next training had to be postponed. Although none of the hives were damaged, we lost two of our queens during this stressful time. However, we were left with 8 healthy hives, and the women remained positive and resilient. Despite the initial hurdles, the trainings were able to continue!
During the second practical training, the beekeepers had their first chance to apply the theories they had learned in earlier sessions. They learned how to open the hives to check their health, how to recognize problems, and what to do in response to different situations. The women were also able to strengthen their theoretical knowledge with more trainings focusing on the beekeeper’s yearly calendar, including seasonal risks, weather to take advantage of, and tasks they should be completing at different times. These were all complemented by visits to the apiaries for practical training.
Three weeks later, in mid-November, Pueblo a Pueblo staff traveled to Huehuetenango for a third training that focused on preparing for harvest season. The beekeepers learned to construct “honey super boxes,” which are affixed on top of the base hive to provide extra space for the growing bee population to collect and store honey. For now, the woman have only installed the super boxes on the three strongest hives. Now that they have been trained in the process, they will install the rest when they see the other hives are ready. They expect to see their first harvest in March!
So far, the trainings have been very successful. Beekeeping Project Manage, Michelle Sims, says the women have been fast, fearless learners:
“They’re really great. They’re not scared at all. That’s sometimes an issue we have to deal with, women being scared to go in and not wanting to get close to the bees. But these women are not scared at all. They’re very confident going in, and the participation from them is great. They’re very excited about it. So it’s great working with them.”
The next training is in January, when the women will review concepts and learn more about maintaining the health of the hives as they prepare for harvest. We’re excited to see the fruits of their labors this spring!
The new beekeepers with Pueblo a Pueblo staff
Learning to make food for the bees!
Hands on work checking the health of the hives
Fearless new beekeepers investigate the hives!
Building honey superboxes