Beekeeper Hermes Conde works with gentle Africanized bees
Puerto Rico has faced hard times –hurricanes, earthquakes, economic collapse, and now a pandemic–but the Maryland State Beekeepers community can take pride in pulling together and overcoming obstacles to get critical bee feed into the hands of these special beekeepers as of May 14, 2020.
Dr. Tugrul Giray of the University of Puerto Rico reports that "the 1500 lb dry protein supplement, Ultra Bee is at CN 120 at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras campus, kept palleted at 60F. We have compiled a list of beekeepers who would want the feed. These are members of four main associations/confederation/school of beekeepers. Approximately 100 beekeepers and 1000 colonies ard on the lists the lists we are compiling."
"The feed, as per instructions, should be combined with HFC syrup and granulated sugar in a ratio of 12lb feed + 38lb Syrup +s ugar to feed as a patty. So a bag of 50lb feed makes about 200lb of patty, enough to feed 200 colonies for 1 week."
"The plan is to give 50lb bags intact to every 2 or 3 beekeepers that may have 100 colonies together (enough for 2 week feeding in fall). So all beekeepers in the lists and all their colonies will benefit. The plan is to do the distribution starting next week."
Mann Lake worked seamlessly with MSBA to find the lowest cost shipping solution, and to help us craft the easiest arrival in Puerto Rico, with all customs and other fees covered. They did their best to give us the best price and service in extraordinary times, sharing with us the urgency of preserving these exceptionally important bee stocks.
Nonetheless, there were some snags along the way! The Puerto Rican tax agency marked the shipment as taxable, and the local contacts had to go to great lengths, including the press, to get this mistake reversed. When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, it caused a lockdown at the port into April that also made distribution impossible.
But there were helpers, too! Mercy Corps is working with the local beekeeping community to both collect the supplements from port and to help in distribution.
Thank you to the members of the MSBA, county clubs, and DC beekeepers who made this happen, an extraordinary effort that is the first of its kind for us.