Nicaragua Bee Exchange 2018

Nicaragua Bee Exchange 2018

Managua, Tipitapa, Carazo,
Mateare & Leon, 

March 12-19, 2018


Summary and Funding:
Thanks to funding from the Eva Crane Trust, Mortenson Family Foundation, University of Minnesota GPS Alliance, and individual contributions, we, a group of 10 bee scientists, beekeepers, and bee enthusiasts from Minnesota and Michigan, traveled to Nicaragua in March 2018 to engage with beekeepers and bee experts. The goal of our trip was to hold a beekeeping workshop, continue building relationships with beekeepers in Nicaragua, and facilitate opportunities for everyone involved to learn about bees.

Through our professional roles at University of Minnesota Bee Lab, University of Minnesota Extension, and Michigan State University Extension, our group included a wealth of experience in teaching beekeeping and communicating science to the public. Our group leveraged our skills and experiences to teach bee biology to bee groups in Nicaragua.

Although we are not experts in managing Africanized honey bees or honey production in Nicaragua, our professional experiences show that providing biological information about honey bees can lead to improved beekeeping skills. Wild bee experts in our group connected with Nicaraguan bee experts, stingless beekeepers, and environmentalists to help identify local bee species and discern opportunities for future research projects. Our group received generous hospitality from our host partners in Nicaragua. We felt secure, supported, and welcome. Our partners in Nicaragua taught us about Africanized honey bees and their management, challenges and opportunities of beekeeping in Nicaragua, stingless bees, and insect diversity.


Beekeeping workshop participants at American Nicaraguan Foundation in Tipitapa

Nicaragua Bee Exchange 2018 Activities:
• A two-day workshop with 28 beekeepers in Nicaragua with the following sessions:
    o Presentations on University of Minnesota Bee Squad research and programs, honey bee anatomy, wild bees, and honey bee pheromones
    o Microscope demonstrations of honey bee anatomy and honey bee pests
    o A presentation on the national situation of honey bees and apiary registries (by a Nicaragua governmental institution)
    o Multiple in-hive demonstrations, allowing for hands-on learning and a mini experiment to control small hive beetle
    o A question and answer session where beekeepers in Nicaragua asked each other and beekeepers from the United
States about honey bee colony management, honey production, and pest 
• A visit to honey producer and packer Aurora Zeas from Biibii
• A conversation with Dr. Christiane Duttmann, a researcher studying honey bees in Nicaragua, about honey bee health issues
• A presentation by Dr. Elaine Evans on wild bee diversity to stingless bee technicians and experts
• Collection of wild bees in Nicaragua for identification (with a collection permit from Nicaragua)
• A tour of Finca Concepción de María in Carazo and its stingless bee colonies
• A tour of an insect museum in León, Nicaragua


                 Dr. Elaine Evans presents at a beekeeping workshop about wild bee speices. 

Report by Dr Rebecca Masterman
University of Minnesota Bee Squad |