According to the book «Fashion Food, gastronomic dictionary of XXI century» by Julia Perez and Jose Carlos Capel, «Tajinaste honey is a rarity considered by experts as one of the best honey in the world for its organoleptic characteristics.»
Honeylovers need to learn more about this unique honey, and we started to search for information. Produced by the Canarian black bee on the island of Tenerife, taking advantage of the spring bloom, and mainly from the nectar of red tajinaste (Echium Wildpretii).
We have also found a study that surprised us, because it tells us that there is a crisis of pollinators in the National Park of Tenerife, with a unexpected responsible: honey bee. We can´t please everyone.
Tajinaste honey characteristics that make it a unique honey. The island of Tenerife has an area of 2034 square kilometers, presenting climatic varieties and different microclimates that give rise to scattered vegetation belts in height and orientation. About 500 beekeepers, 10000 hives and 150 000 kg of honey production per year are the figures of beekeeping in Tenerife, where besides the tajinaste, endemic to this island, other honey bees are produced such as avocado, broom, pennyroyal , malpica, fennel, brown, barrilla, pitera …
One organism called «Consejo Regulador DOP Miel de Tenerife» is responsible for ensuring that honey that includes its label and indicates » Tajinaste honey» has passed all controls as such as electrical conductivity, with values between 0.140 and 400m S / cm (reporting of mineral salt content of honey), a color value within the Pfund scale of 2 to 65 mm and a little intense and vegetal smell. Light, warm and floral aroma, transparent clear or amber colour, which crystallizes white with beige creamy notes are other charactersitics of tajinaste honey. In addition to the above, control of pollen content is run in honey to certify the botanical origin.
Red tajinaste, Echium wildpretii, presents a huge cone of red flowers, which can exceed 2 meters high, and we found in the scree and rocky debris, surrounded by a volcanic environment, which makes it even more surprising its presence. Other tajinastes exists in Tenerife, with bushes that can hold pink, white or blue flowers, which can be found in the north, east and south of the island.
Beekeeping and pollinators. For many years beekeeper prouds themselves for contributing to flora pollination and bein environmental sentinels. But in the Teide National Park the amount of hives is considered one of the largest in the world. It is in study called «Impact of the introduction of the domestic bee in Teide National Park on Tenerife» done by Alfredo Valido, Maria Candelaria Rodriguez and Pedro Jordano -Rodríguez where we have discovered a fact to take into account.
«The competition of these honey bees with pollinating native fauna (other insects, birds and even a lizard) may adversely affect the production of fruits and seeds of these pollinated species and decrease the population of those other pollinators by strong competition for resources (nectar and pollen)».
Background. The introduction of bee hives in the park, between the months of May and October, in order to collect nectar from red tajinaste and Teide broom, which grow at 2200 meters attitude, drivs more than 100 beekeepers and 3,000 hives in that area.
Reproductive efficiency red tajinaste (Echium wildpretii) is affected by the presence of bees, a pollinator not as specialized as other species of native pollinators, causing fewer seeds per fruit. The study authors propose to eliminate the introduction of honey bees in the park in order to protect its flora and fauna. The study was carried out for 15 years, which represents a great effort and consistency in results.
The entrance of bee hives in National Park is regulated for years with a document called «Beekeeping Achievement Pla»n, where standards are set to follow by beekeepers in the 18 authorized settlements, which should favor the pollination of plants without consuming natural resources.
Among the pollinators studied in Teide´s national park, 1 lizard, 2 birds, 25 types of Diptera,17 of Hymenoptera, 11 beetles and 4 Lepidoptera. The study was conducted in the absence of hives and during the period in which they are present.,
This phenomenon has already been observed in other islands, especially with the introduction of alien species.
Beekeepers should consider seriously these studies, and get to work together in finding solutions, which certainly exist. Otherwise, we can run the same as the Moas in Maoris´s settlement.