Amazon stingless bee honey is produced in the Peruvian hinterland and used in those communities, especially those settled in the northern part of the country between the San Martin, Loreto and Junin departments.
The bees this honey is obtained from are the Melipona eburnea, known in the local language are the “pacucho” bee (meaning blond bee) and the Tetragonica angustula, called “ramichi” in the native language.
These two locally bee species are known as “abejas nativas” (native bees), and they have in common the fact that they have no stingers and are very small in size compared to common bees: for example, the ramichi bee (Tetragonica angustula) is 4mm long.
Both species share environments and colonies, creating them in wild tree trunk hollows or in the earth on rocky cliffs. Their nests are made with wax, mud, vegetable fibre and are subdivided into two distinct areas: one for honey production and pollen deposit, the other to grow larvae.
Even today, local peoples extract the honey directly from the beehives identified in the forest or by cutting off the part of the tree trunk where the hive is found; this is then taken to the habitations to facilitate collection and monitor the honey production. Because the beehive is a complicated structure, often the upper part is broken to extract the honey, which is then filtered to eliminate impurities. Honey production takes place all year, especially in the rainy season between July and September.
Amazon stingless bee honey is characterised by a very runny consistency, a very light colour and a flowery fragrance; its flavour is sweet but can vary according to the season it is produced in and the flower or flowering tree types it is made from.
Natives in the Chazuta and Tarapoto areas use this honey to make drinks based on aguardientes that are used for many purposes, from gastronomic to medicinal; it is also used mixed with pollen to cure respiratory diseases or vision problems like ptergium or conjunctivitis.
To counter the disappearance of the bees, caused by the introduction of the African bee but also the use of pesticides, projects have been created whose aim is to promote sustainable apiculture methods capable of relaunching the important role of bees in pollinating vegetable species and countering the loss of biodiversity.