Pedro Albertano Sanchez, Belize
by Pedro A. Sanchez
(San Lazaro Village, Orange Walk District , Belize C.A,)
I live in Belize Central America. I have been a beekeeper for about 35 years. I am a retired elementary school principal.
I started beekeeping helping my father-in-law with his 40 colonies of European bees. After my Father-in-law separated himself from my mother-in-law he abandoned his bees. I picked what remained of the 11 colonies and tried to work them but I lost all of them. I left the boxes where the apiary was located and forgot it.
Sometime later my brother-in-law informed me that most of the boxes had bees and were strong in population. I went to investigate and found that 8 of them had bees.
Since my brother-in-law was afraid of bees I had to relocate them to my father's land. It was the beginning for me.
As you might had guessed all of the bees were Africanized Bees. The bee inspector for the district came to my aid and together we learnt how to work with them. We had to change our strategy and buy protective gear.
I managed to keep 60 colonies by myself with the help of my son and and a friend. During this time we tried to domesticate these bees and tried to make them less aggressive. However, even-though we got European queens from U.S.A. The hybrid variety only survived one generation and the honey production was very little.
We found out that the full Africanized bee doubled the honey production and were a resistant variety so we kept them and leraned to work them.
In 1998 I had surgery to removed gal stone and I could not attend to them. They became very aggressive and my uncle was planting grass nearby for a pasture. While clearing around the apiary a tree fell on top of a colony and the bees attacked the bulldozer driver who ran way without stopping the engine. That night my uncle paid my brother in law to burn the colonies. When I got well I had no bees.
In 2000 my brother joined a project for bee keeping and since I had all the equipment had asked to join him. Today we have thirteen colonies of Africanized bees and plan to expand.