Even after almost three months staying on this farm in the cloud forest of Ecuador, we are still undertaking new projects and doing new things every week. Over the past month, one of the neatest has been establishing colonies of honeybees on the farm.

Ingo has wanted to have his own bees for months, and last month when he went to Quito, he finally picked up a starter set of beehives and a population of bees. The local bees here are the same so-called “killer bees” that hit the American press a few years ago – Africanized honeybees – but the ones on the farm don’t seem aggressive at all. Sure, they’ll sting you if you open the hive without protection (bee suits and a smoker), but we can actually sit two meters away from the hives and watch them for hours, and they hardly even approach us. The bees are fascinating to watch as they buzz around, zipping out of the hives in pursuit of flowers, and returning heavily laden with pollen.

A quiet moment at the beehive - only a few bees leaving from the doorway. Sometimes there'll be fifty buzzing around waiting to get in or out!

A quiet moment at the beehive – only a few bees leaving from the doorway. Sometimes there’ll be fifty buzzing around waiting to get in or out!

Over the last month, Ingo has gone from one hive with one population to six hives, some stacked high with extra trays to support honeycombs full of larvae and honey. By the end of the year, he hopes to have ten hives pollinating the farm’s crops and producing honey to eat, sell, and make into mead. I get the feeling I’ll have to come back to see how the project is going – my visa expires next week, so I won’t have the chance to taste the farm’s first batch of honey. I’m sure it’ll be delicious, though!

The  first two beehives nestled amongst the young coffee plants on the cliff's edge.

The first two beehives nestled amongst the young coffee plants on the cliff’s edge.

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