Link to enlarge image K5741 © Justin Kerr Charles Zidar

Family:  Apidae
Genus:  Melipona
Species:  beecheii
Authority:  Illiger, 1806
Common Name:  Stingless Bee
Maya Name:  Ko’olel kaab
Faunal Type:  Insect
Depictions:  Polychrome Ceramics/Codices
Significance:  Bees were present in Maya codices. Wax (itz) was used in Maya ceremony. Bee keepers would celebrate the festival of bees which occurred in Tzec (October) (Sharer 1994). They prayed to Hobnil (one of the four Bacabs) to give them lots of honey. They offered the gods honey, wax and copal (Thompson 1970). Pictures were drawn, using honey as paint. They also drank balche, a beverage made from fermented honey, water and the bark of the ba’al che’ tree (Lonchocarpus yucatanensis) (Schlesinger 2001). Honey was also used for its medicinal properties.
Notes:  Bee Photo Courtesy of: James Nieh, UCSD

Other Faunal Photos:   Additional views of the faunal species, click on a photo below to view larger image.
Artifact Photo(s) Courtesy of Justin Kerr (FAMSI); Animal Photo(s) Courtesy of Wikipedia GNU General Public License Version 1.2, November 2002; Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0/2.5 License(s).

Previous Page |  Introductory Page

Return to top of page