In the last two weeks, much of my time has been dedicated to Dominican Bees. I’ve done my best to contact all the right people and figure out how things are done down here in the tropics. It’s my job to increase the honey production at Taino Farm whilst keeping the bees happy. Soon, we will also be experimenting with honey mead and beeswax products!

apiculture

Charlie’s bee hives

The first thing I did was to go round to my friend Charlie’s house (Charlie form Voy Voy in Cabarete). He has the most beautiful garden and he’s another Cabarete local who is moving towards permaculture principles and thinking more about sustainable food production. He’s getting into Apiculture (beekeeping), and has made a really cool hive with a window, so you can see into the hive without even needing to suit up! It was great to have a look in, and I was immediately pleased to see that The Langstroth Hive – the industry standard bee hive is also the hive of choice here in the DR.
Charlie allowed me to take a look at his spare hive, and shared his wisdom and connections, meaning I’m able to locate prime beekeeping materials like spare slides and wax paper on which the bee’s make their honeycomb.

Charlie-Durrant-Permaculture-Bee-keepin-apiculture-dominican-republic-taino-farm-38051

I set off back down to the farm on Monday and as promised, I would witness my first Dominican Honey Harvest.  From the beginning, it was a fun and a very comical experience. It was straight out of a cartoon, with smoke in the air, and bees going wild. Let’s put it this way – if ever I needed reassurance, I got it: I’m 100{f2973bc577a195c35cdcad3730db5f6ced97ed67eb120151c538413472fe3d08} sure I’m not allergic to bees. Not even to the Dominican “killer” variety (seriously these bee’s aren’t bad at all). While Victor stayed at a safe and sensible distance with the wheelbarrow ready to pick up the saturated slides, Neo and Juan Carlos adorned veils, and a decent smoker. I, however, was left with a cowboy hat and a rag to cover my face, no gloves, and a brown hoody. (brown of course is the same colour as bee’s natural predators, hence why white suits are worn by sensible beekeepers). Anyways, I’d come this far, and I wasn’t going to miss out.Charlie-Durrant-Permaculture-Bee-keepin-apiculture-dominican-republic-taino-farm-42231

Clasping my hoody sleeves, it was my job to hold the torch (my phone) in the fading light. I will add at this point that most people collect their honey mid-day on sunny days whilst most of the bees are out collecting pollen and nectar. But who am I too argue. I was observing, and perhaps Dominican bees like to have their houses and food stores raided whilst their all at home, trying to get ready for bed …? I had bees in my trousers, down my sleeves and at one point actually stuck inside my bodged veil, buzzing around trying to escape. All things considered I was amazed at how little I was stung.Charlie-Durrant-Permaculture-Bee-keepin-apiculture-dominican-republic-taino-farm-42101

Anyways, despite seeing many ways to streamline the process and seeing obvious ways to increase the production, there was a large harvest. From the ten hives, we extracted around 35L of honey, and what amazing honey it is!

Charlie-Durrant-Permaculture-Bee-keepin-apiculture-dominican-republic-taino-farm-42381I’m looking forward to getting back down and making things happen. First thing will be to get a suit, 20 new slides and more of the wax paper. Next, Gary and I will begin building a fresh water trough, right next to the hive, so they’re no longer wasting valuable energy traveling to fetch water form the river in order to cool the hive and dilute the honey to feed the young. I’m also pretty sure a few of the hives are ready for a third super (a second level of harvestable slides,) and that there is potential to put another few hives on the far end of the property. Anyways, little by little, everything is coming together nicely. Get in touch for some of the nicest honey of your life, available at Extreme Hotel. Or by contacting me on +1 829 708 3337  RD$ 300 for a bottle.Charlie-Durrant-Permaculture-Bee-keepin-apiculture-dominican-republic-taino-farm-42871