The stingless beekeeping workshop held in 18th May at the Permaculture Trinidad- Wa Samaki Ecosystems. This one-day workshop was organised by Erle Rahaman and Lena Dempewolf, with the objective to raise awareness on the threats that are faced by the bees and demonstrated how these bees can be kept and managed in order to not only increase and conserve local populations, but also to provide livelihoods for people. This one-day workshop served as an introduction to the identification, use, products and husbandry of native stingless bees of Trinidad and Tobago and was delivered by David Rostant, founder of the TrinBago Stingless Beekeepers Network. The additional benefit of being stingless means that these bees can be kept anywhere and the usual distance restrictions from residential areas do not apply. Persons who attended the workshop expressed an increased appreciation for pollinators and several have since made contact with the organizers sharing pictures and stories of pollinators observed, their intention of starting their own hives, and placing their names on waiting lists.
This workshop comes after multiple other activities initiated after the Caribbean Regional Trialogue on Pollinators held last year in Santo Domingo, which brought together a number of persons with similar interests in protecting pollinators throughout the region. In Trinidad and Tobago specifically, it inspired a number of high impact projects that required little capital. Other activities include the creation of iNaturalist projects for every island of the English-speaking Caribbean; a Caribbean iNaturalist umbrella project; numerous presentations throughout the country about the importance of local pollinators, citizen science and how to join the iNaturalist projects; and a presentation in conjunction with the local pest control company Rentokil at an energy organization (DeNovo) about the importance of bees and bee safety.
Planned activities for the remainder of the year are a one-day workshop on managing habitat for pollinators; iNaturalist projects for Spanish, Dutch and French speaking islands; pollinator activities at children’s summer camps; a national stakeholder pollinator dialogue; the enhancement and distribution of a bee removal network connecting persons with bees on their properties with beekeepers that are able to remove them; and finally, the formation of a Caribbean pollinator NGO.