For several decades until the present day, the municipality, located in the eastern part of the state, was distinguished by its large production of royal jelly, to the point of being known as the Land of Royal Jelly. However, production has significantly declined in recent times.
Some groups and civil associations have provided new momentum and implemented projects to revive this production sector, but external factors such as the drop in honey prices have hindered progress towards this goal.
Local residents stated that they have achieved little progress in this regard, but it is hoped that the patient and persevering initiative will gradually achieve its objective to provide beekeepers with new production, preserving the tradition of this highly valued food in the region and around the world.
Regarding this primary crop in local beekeeping, Manuel Chan Matú commented: “Not too long ago, this town of Tunkás had the widespread fame of being, if not the main, one of the largest producers of royal jelly in the region. For this reason, it earned the reputation of being known as the Town of Royal Jelly, a designation that has declined because the production and commercialization of this product gradually decreased until it almost disappeared.”
Lately, courses and workshops have been held on how to resume production of this valuable liquid, highly valued for its healing properties, as the elders have said.
What is it?
Royal jelly is a substance secreted by the hypopharyngeal glands of young worker bees, aged between five and ten days. Mixed with stomach secretions, it serves as food for all larvae during the first three days of life. Only the queen and the larvae in royal cells that will become new queens are always fed with royal jelly. It is a viscous substance, with a soft yellow color and an acidic taste.
Almost in vain
Since the end of 2021, efforts have been noticed from the community to diversify the beekeeping production carried out in the municipality in order to regain the title of Land of Royal Jelly.
Despite all this, local residents commented that little progress has been made in the noble effort to resume production of this variant in beekeeping, due to multiple factors, especially considering that most beekeepers are private individuals.
Regarding this, another informant, Marco Dzul Poot, commented: “Production depends on the beekeepers. They are all small-scale traders, owners of their hives, but it is more profitable to produce natural honey than to make the effort to extract royal jelly, even though it is much more valuable than all the honey combined. However, they would leave their hives without it, and honey production would take longer to yield.”
The local secondary school has invested in reforesting certain plants that facilitate this beekeeping production, and its ample land has seen notable efforts to contribute to this initiative. It is hoped that the gradual and steady growth of production will help Tunkás regain its title as the Town of Royal Jelly.