José Pedro Guilisasti visited the offices and laboratories of Fraunhofer Chile to learn about the work of its researchers with beekeepers in the Metropolitan Region.
Researchers from the Bee Health 2020 Latam project shared with the Metropolitan Agriculture seremi José Pedro Guilisasti the progress achieved to date by the 31 beekeepers from Lampa, San José de Maipo and Pirque trained by this program led by Fraunhofer Chile, with support from Bayer Bee Care Center (Germany).
Marnix Doorn, Director of Bee Health 2020 Latam and Business Development Manager of Fraunhofer Chile highlighted that the pilot project, aimed at preventing or restoring the health of hives through a series of good beekeeping practices, was supported by the “Agrupación de Apicultores del Norte” (APINOR) and the “Agrupación de Apicultores Cajón del Maipo”.
During Guilisasti’s visit to Fraunhofer Chile’s facilities, along with seremi’s support professional and veterinarian, Álex Carrasco, a researcher at Bee Health 2020 Latam Mayda Verde, underscored that the project promotes a preventive beekeeping health model, where it is essential to support local producers to implement good practices that help break the chain that makes bees more vulnerable to diseases and epidemics
Among the preliminary results, the beekeepers participating in the project were able to improve the physical and sanitary conditions of their hives, the availability and quality of the food they receive, and the storage and hygiene of the beekeeping material to reduce the prevalence of diseases caused by fungi, viruses, bacteria and parasites, noted Doorn.
The researchers highlighted two fundamental tasks to improve beekeeping health in the Metropolitan Region that require public support.
The first, said Verde, is to establish local programs and nurseries for genetic selection and improvement of queen bees, which would allow beekeepers to meet the goal of renewing their hives with young, healthy, genetic quality specimens every 18 months.
The second aspect, added Doorn, is to guarantee a supply of wax with traceable, standardized and certified sanitary quality from its origin to the stamped wax sheet used in the breeding chamber.
By improving the health of beehives, Bee Health 2020 Latam seeks to increase the number of offspring and adult bees and, with it, the productivity of the apiary.
“With good beehives, the almond trees of the Metropolitan Region could produce 20% more and we could have areas like Cajón del Maipo with denomination of origin for its honeys, as it happens in other countries”, exemplified the researcher.
Agriculture seremi expressed interest in maintaining links that allow to deepen and advance in these and other matters related to applied research that Fraunhofer Chile does in beekeeping.
During the visit, the manager of the R&D Services Platform, Patricia Piña, introduced Guilisasti and Carrasco to Fraunhofer Chile’s laboratory and its Molecular Biology, Cell Culture, Microbiology and Bees rooms, among others.