Lucio Pat

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The Mayan peasant families that inhabit the Petenes Biosphere Reserve (RBLP), combine both activities for self-sufficiency (i.e. milpa, family gardens, hunting) and commercial activities (i.e. beekeeping, livestock, handicrafts) which develop throughout the year. These are part of a Pluriactivity strategy based on the use of resources \citep{alarcn2008}. The main objective of this peasant strategy is to guarantee family self-sufficiency through the production of food from the milpa and secondly, to produce surplus food for sale. In this context, the meliponiculture, or breeding of the native stingless bee (ko'olel kaab bee, Melipona beecheii) in the RBLP, is primarily an activity that complements the income of families for the purchase of goods that they do not produce. Although the ko'olel kaab honey is highly valued in the market, the bee's breeding is at risk of disappearing in the Yucatan Peninsula \citep{colli2005}. The decline of the meliponiculture by the Mayan peasants began with the introduction of the European bee (Apis mellifera), at the beginning of the last century. Initially,  this species was introduced into the Yucatan peninsula by entrepreneurs for the commercial production of honey, and later adopted by the Mayan peasants. The substitution of the ko'olel kaab bee for the European one was due to the higher honey yield per hive of the latter species, even though each type of honey has different physical, chemical, microbiological, and organoleptic characteristics. Other factors associated with the decline of meliponiculture are: deforestation and forest fragmentation, the expansion of agriculture and livestock, the arrival of the African bee, the abandonment of the field due to lack of employment and income alternatives, and finally, the poor handling and reproduction of bees \citep{gonzlez2001}.