Our families have a few hives living in trunks that we have kept for about 35 years. We have no idea on how to breed, cultivate etc.
People here in Mexico are proprietary with their knowledge. Hoping someone can help. Thanks
ADDING: There is a book!
The technical term is "Meliponiculture" ... using that in Google search will bring up more technical information.
I think CINAT wuold be the place to start. Raising bees is what they teach.
http://www.cinat.una.ac.cr/ "El CINAT-UNA es un instituto especializado en el estudio de las abejas tropicales, que mediante la investigaciÃÂ³n, docencia, extensiÃÂ³n y prestaciÃÂ³n de servicios, desde una perspectiva interdisciplinaria, promueve el desarrollo de una apicultura y meliponicultura sostenible en Costa Rica y CentroamÃÂ©rica."
I'd start with the Mexican Department of Agriculture's website or a local university that has an agriculture department. Ask them for help.
http://www.stri.si.edu/sites/publications/PDFs/Roubik_Melipona.pdf (See the contact information for the authors on the last page. They are in Quintana Roo and the paper claims there are publications telling how to manage the Melipona bees.)
http://www.imkerei.com/articles/us/fert/nicaragua.htm (describes how one woman collects wild swarms)
http://web.catie.ac.cr/informacion/RAFA/rev31/pag50-55.pdf This is in Spanish, but it looked helpful. The sources in it might also give you information
http://eco.ib.usp.br/beelab/pdfs/CORTOPASSI-LAURINO et al 2006_Global meliponiculture.pdf Brazilian research, in English
http://www.inbioparque.com/en/our-attractions/our-animals.htm If you write to them, they would tell you how they keep their bees ... the pictures show a hollow log hanging under a small roof.
Increasing the number of hives you have might be as easy as making more hollow logs for them, or something that looks like a hollow log, such as a plain wooden box, and hanging it near an existing hive so when they swarm they move to the new hive.
This post was edited by lazygardens on Fri, Apr 25, 14 at 7:29