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Mel do Brasil

On August 10, 2006 we went to visit the Sweetest Industry in all of Brasil. Flavio Carvalhos' Mel business in Águas da Prata, SP, Brasil.

Flavio has a second interest besides his painting. He employs an army of bees to produce the loveliest Mel (Honey) that you can imagine. The bees are starting to search for their new homes and Flavio is ready for them. Following is the story of his Apicultura. Enjoy!

Flavio's in-town facility.

He has set new or renovated hives around to attract the bees who are searching for new homes.

He sets several hives around so they have their choice of different houses.

Some of the "Homes" have a spectacular view of the surroundings. Once they inspect the house and approve of it they go back and get the whole gang.

Flavio checks a hive to see if the bees have arrived.

Here are a few hives in the driveway where the bees are starting to settle in.

Flavio makes his own hives using rough lumber. He paints an F on the hive so he knows it is his. He makes these frames and adds honeycomb from previous season hives to attract the bees.

These racks go into the box and then he covers the box, leaving a small entranceway for the bees.

Flavio has several different sizes of hives. The smaller ones hold about 10,000 bees and he has others holding 20,000 and up to 60,000 bees. That is a lot of buzziness!!!!

He gathers the Mel (Honey) in these cans and pails and brings it to the shop.

This what the raw Mel looks like unprocessed.

Here Flavio takes a sample of honey from a honeycomb for us to taste. This table is for cleaning the honeycombs and taking samples to sell.

What a treat!

Flavio takes the pail or can of Mel and puts it into the tank on the right to heat it up.

Then he puts it into the tank on the left to filter the Mel to remove excess sugar crystals. That is why his honey is so clear and clean and never solidifies in the jars. Just Pure Delght!

Next the Mel is put into these tanks. Note the low stool and the faucets at the bottom of the tanks. This where Flavio fills the bottles or jars with Mel.

Then the Mel is ready to ship out to local stores and his own Chalet in Águas da Prata where you can find his son on the weekend selling Mel..

Here Flavio inspects the new arrivals at a hive. The bees are tiny so you may not be able to make them out flying around the hive.

Let's take a closer look!

This hive is almost full and ready for the night ride to the farm. It is too dangerous to take them there in the daytime when they are awake and angry. Flavio has two small farms that he rents for his bees.

These bees are not purebreds anymore. They are a cross between Brasilian Bees, European Bees and African Killer Bees. They are very aggressive and very productive. Flavio has about 300 active hives averaging 40,000 bees in each. He has to dress in full protective regalia when tending the bees in the farms.


Photos by Urso Branco

Read More, See More Photos and Read the Comments . . . CLICK HERE

This is a common sight in markets and stores all over Brasil. This is a plastic tube filled with Mel and set off in partitions. Mel lovers like to suck on these for a treat. Each section is about 2.5cm (1 inch) so they make a handy size.

Flavio produces three types of Mel. Well actually the bees produce it he just steals it from them. *SMILE*.

This is Mel from a tree called by the strange name ASSA PEIXE. I say strange because the literal translation is Baked Fish. ??????

This is the most liked of all Mel. This comes from the Laranjeira (from the Orange Tree). It is my favourite.

This Mel is called Sylvestre (wild) because it can come froma mix of any sources, Laranjeira, Assa Peixa or any flowers. This also a lovely Mel.

This is Propolis, another product of the bees.

Propolis is a brownish material of waxy consistency collected by bees from the buds of trees and used as a cement. (Webster's Dictionary)

I am told that Chinese people use it for medicinal purposes. There is not a lot produced so it is quite expensive.

Flavio bottles the Mel in different size bottles. This one is a large bottle of Sylvestre.

This one is Laranjeira.

Here is a collection of all his types of Bottles. What a sweet sight!!!!

Photos by Urso Branco

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Flavio's Biography:

FLAVIO CARVALHO was born in Águas da Prata, SP, Brasil, on April,15,1962. When he was 16 years old he started drawing, using crayons, and got enthusiastic. Soon he was painting on screens and using oil paints all by himself, because the only kind of apprenticeship he got was watching another painter while he worked on his paintings.

For 20 years, CARVALHO kept improving until he became satisfied with the results. Now he is still shy when he realizes how much his paintings are appreciated.

His first showing out of his hometown was on a TV program, where his paintings were auctioned successfuly. Since then, he has participated in several expositions and has seen many of his paintings leaving his small town to go to different countries.

As a Nature Painter, CARVALHO is always observing the charming landscape his region offers. He likes to walk around, memorizing each detail he can apply on the screen. His paintings have a light that only the sun can show, and the colours are pure and real, like only Nature can show.

CARVALHO started a honey production 17 years ago and it grew thanks to hard work and perseverance. He now is recognized in the honey sector and his product is also very much appreciated.


Flavio has his production plant in town but the bees, by law, must be outside of town. At this time of year the bees are house hunting so Flavio sets up some of his hives in town for the bees to come and inspect. If they like what they see they go back to their hideaway (nobody knows where they are) and the whole gang comes back and takes up residence in their new home.

Once they fill the hive, at night when they are alseep, Flavio takes them out to the farm and production begins.

Read More, See More Photos and Read the Comments . . . CLICK HERE