Close-up image of honeybees working together inside a beehive, with focus on their intricate wing patterns and the texture of the hive walls. One bee in the center is distinguished by a blue mark on its back.

“Bee Scarcity Sparks Environmental Crisis in Quintana Roo”

Early signs of a long-term environmental crisis are emerging in Quintana Roo, due to the drought of 2024. The drought has led to a noticeable decrease in bee populations, which in turn means less plant pollination. Delmar Penagos Romero, founder of the Deyamiel project, has noted that throughout 2024, only one hive of native bees was saved in Cancún, a significant drop from the annual average of 15 to 20 hives in previous years.

Despite the increase in groups dedicated to bee rescue, the lack of new discoveries suggests that bees are reproducing less frequently. This is likely due to the heat, which causes trees to produce less nectar and results in less pollination.

Romero explains that the bee breeding season typically starts in December or January and ends in June when beekeepers harvest honey. "We've been experiencing a prolonged drought, with no rain. So while the trees are blooming, they're not producing much nectar. Without sufficient food resources, bees can't divide and produce more hives," he said.

Notably, a single hive of native bees can pollinate within a 300 to 800 meters radius. However, fewer bees mean less pollination, which could lead to a crisis for the productive sector and potentially impact the state's food supply.

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Romero stressed that if we lose pollinators, we also lose part of our tree production. In the long term, certain tree species could vanish due to lack of pollination, leading to a potential crisis in crop production. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), over 75% of the world's food crops rely on pollination in some way.

To combat this, Romero mentioned plans to raise awareness through talks and reforestation activities once or twice a month. These talks aim to educate people about the crucial role bees play in pollinating crops and fruit, and the benefits of honey production.

According to Deyamiel, there are 16 species of native bees pollinating in the state, in addition to the introduced Africanized species. All of these species produce honey, ranging from a few tablespoons per year to up to 10 kilos from larger species.