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Posted March 23, 2008 by publisher in Business In Cuba

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Ahora.cu | / Aracelis Aviles

During our tour trough the mountains of Frank País, Mayarí, Cueto and Sagua, we could see some boxes half a meter square at the side of the road, with a separation between them, and with some little insects in one of the “openings”.

Ramon Vazquez, director of the Apicultural Establishment of Holguin, said that the “openings” are named bungholes, all beehives have one to enter and leave by.”

The little insects are named apis mellis, and exist in the whole of “Turquino Plan”, a kind of bee capable to produce many tons of honey dependenent on the treatment that they receive from man.

A new queen is born, and on her nuptial flight she enters into a drones’ spiral. There she is fertilized some six or seven times for all her life.

From then on she will begin to lay 1,500 eggs every day for five years. A new cycle begins for the honeycomb.

The new queen bee was raised from an artificial honeycomb existing in Mayarí, Cueto or Sagua.

In June, July and August bees do not have a lot of food, because the apicultural year only lasts from October to March, with the flowering of the bellflower and romerillo.

For that reason in summer the honeycomb is moved from the mountains to the sea, because the mangle blooms there at that season.

The beekeeper feeds the bees that could not be transferred toward the coasts with syrup, or they go to the fields to plant Piñón Flower, Almacio, Uva gamosa or copalillo, the best honey plants of these mountains.

Generally the beekeepers keep the production over 100 tons of honey.

The biggest production is planned for the end of the year due to the flowering period.

”All honey being produced in the Turquino Plan is very well received, because honey is an ecological product, and it’s market values are high”, said Edel Millán Betancourt, specialist and production manager of the same Establishment.

He also explained that the price of a ton of honey is at present between 1300 and 1500 dollars: “All the production goes to the Benefit Plant of Contramaestre, and goes out from the country through Cubaexport”.

There is a quantity of honey that is declared industrial, because it does not keep to the requirements of the market, but still has quality, for that reason it is sold within the country.

Wax is held in stores for the production of sheets in the artificial beehives. Another percentage is used in pharmacology. Also propoleo tincture is made from it; this is very useful in the treatment of the parasites, ulcers, gastritis, cholesterol, hypertension, and some skin diseases.

“The establishment pays 83 dollars for each ton that the beekeeper delivers, including the wax and the propóleo. Not everybody gives a ton monthly, but every month they deliver something, and they are paid the equivalent”, said Edel.

When honey is declared industrial; it is paid for in national currency. This is done in order to stimulate the manufacture of a honey with better quality, according to the pursued parameters, most of all from the European Union, which is very demanding in the levels of humidity and the chemical components.”

According to Edel and Ramón, the great enemy of the honeycomb is not Varroa, or diseases like the bacterial plague, but the man who neglects it.

At the moment the Turquino Plan is working on specialization.

“Beekeepers are farm workers, in the majority, who dedicate themselves to another activity, and in their free time they take care of a honeycomb. We should achieve professionalism, we need the producer to dedicate himself to only this work”, explained Ramon.

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