On the farm near Itapeva where they live, Si and Lux taught me about keeping bees.
The method they use is very natural and gentle with little disruption to the bees.
I learnt how to fix the frames and add wax to help the bees start building. A thin wax sheet is slotted into a wooden frame and secured with melted bees wax.
On our first visit to the hives the main task was to rescue a fallen hive. When we lifted it we saw that although the hive was on the ground the bees were still building in it quite successfully so we had to leave it away from the main stack. It was quite shocking being so close to the bees and having them crawl all over me (on the other side of the bee suite) but also amazing, South American bees are a bit more aggressive than European bees so beekeeping is slightly more dangerous over there, but there is no real risk unless you are severely allergic to stings. All bees are vital to the earths ecology, to plant health including the pollination of our food crops.
On our second visit we gathered some honey. The bees were very healthy and there was a lot of bees and honey, but of course we left honey for the bees too.
Processing the honey consisted of uncapping the wax from the frames, extracting the honey from the comb using a centrifugal barrel, sieving it and bottling it in steralised jars. Si and Lux always try to keep the comb intact on the frames so the bees can have their structures back. Inevitably some break so the wax it kept and used for candles, beauty products and fixing up frames.