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Beekeeping in Portugal. An updated overview focused on coping with Varroa


In Portugal, there are no official, statistically validated, records that can allow an objective data-based analysis of the national beekeeping sector. This was the first study that set out to try a first nationwide characterization of beekeepers and beekeeping operations most frequently carried out in the context of our apiculture, particularly the type of operations expected to impose some selection pressure on national populations of varroa. The starting point of this project (2003) was the package of approximately 1200 interviews/enquiries carried out/answered by beekeepers well distributed across the whole continental part of the country. As a very superficial overview of the obtained results, we can say that (i) the Portuguese beekeeper is, on average, a 56 years old male; (ii) most beekeepers (62%) have less than 4 years of official general education and (iii) their level of specific beekeeping training is, at best, very deficient. Each beekeeper has a mean number of 2 apiaries, where circa 48 colonies are kept. The 2 most used hive models are country-specific (“Lusitana” in the north, and “Reversivel” in the southern part of Portugal), followed by Langstroth hives. It is not rare to find beekeepers that build their own hives. Treatments against Varroa have been based on Apivar (43%), Apistan (26%), Klartan (17%) and the Acadrex (10%). Other substances are becoming increasingly more frequently used, such as the alarming Supona (chlorfenvinphos) or the welcome timol. On average, 2 annual treatments against varroa are introduced into honey bee colonies for 4 to 6 weeks, predominantly between January/March and later on in July/September (after honey harvest). Most beekeepers (83%) annually replace 3 old drawn combs by newer wax foundations sheets, particularly during spring time

Palavras Chave

Apicultura; Portugal; Varroa / Beekeeping; Portugal; Varroa.

Tipo de Apresentação
Comunicação oral
Tipo de Revisão
Âmbito Geográfico
Área de Trabalho

Maia, M.; Pereira, O.; Pires, S.; Murilhas, A. (2005). Beekeeping in Portugal. An updated overview focused on coping with Varroa. 39th Apimondia International Apicultural Congress, pp.172. Dublin, Irlanda.