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Honey Bees in Costa Rica

Honey Bees in Costa Rica

Bees are incredible invertebrate animals with external skeletons. One of the greatest pollinators with a record of around 170.000 types of plants benefiting not only natural ecosystems but also agriculture and food production. 


Even with self-pollinating crops, having bee hives near plantations increases production from 10% to 15%. 


It is estimated that nearly 800 bee species live in Costa Rica but the bee population is threatened by ecosystem fragmentation, abuse of bug killers like nicotinoid. Also, if a bee hive is destroyed, bees will migrate and look for another place with food and water.


There’s a lot of misinformation regarding bees. Most people don’t understand just how important they are and bees get killed like flies when they enter a house. Pollination is crucial for land ecosystems. It’s interesting that only 2% of the human population is allergic to bee sting and even so, bees only attack when they’re attacked first because they die right after. 


Organizations of beekeepers, universities, communal groups and no-governmental institutions have worked hard to educate people of all ages to understand and respect the bees. This is the way to ensure that future generations will enjoy buzzing bees too.  


In 2021, the Organization of Beekeepers threw an alert that bees could disappear from Costa Rica in 15 years if things don’t change. This is due to a insecticid called fipronil that’s very poisonous and has destroyed 2200 bee hives in Los Santos, Alajuela. In this same year, 30 events of mass poisoning of bees were registered and this means that almost 3 million of them died for each event. In other words, 250.000 bees died for insecticides per day during 2021. That’s just sad.



What can I do to help the bees?


There’s an easy way you can help bees and that’s planting “sweet” plants so the bees have a food source and can fulfill their purpose to pollinize. 


Here’s a list of plants (and their cares) you can have in your garden in Costa Rica to preserve bee lifes:


  • Maravilla. Mirabilis Jalapa – soil or pot – full sun.
  • Miguelito. Zinnia Sp – soil or pot – sun.
  • Cinco Negritos. Lantana Camara – soil – sun preferible.
  • Helenio. Helenium Sp – soil preferible – better at sun or humid places. 
  • Cola de Gato. Stachytarpheta Jamaicensis – soil preferible –  full sun.
  • Camarón Amarillo. Pachystachys Lutea –  soil or pot – full sun.
  • San Miguel. Cosmos Sp – soil or pot – full sun.
  • Verdolaga. Portulaca Sp – soil or pot – sun.
  • Lavanda. Lavandula Sp – soil or pot – full sun.
  • Juanilama. Lippia Alba – soil – sun preferible. Medicinal properties.
  • Orégano. Origanum Vulgare – soil – sun preferible. Culinary uses.
  • Tulsi. Ocimun Tenuiflorum or Ocinum Sanctum – soil or pot – shadow or sun.


There are some other plants like Mozotillo, Coralillo, Ayote, Achiote, Girasol, Güitite and Churristate that also help bees to survive. 


If, by any chance, you find a wild bee hive, stay calm, do not disturb it, keep pets and children away from it, do not try to remove it yourself, call 911 immediately and let the correct people handle it. Firemen will control the situation and no one will get hurt. 


Karen Ebanks

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