The activity, carried out by specialists from the Tropical Beekeeping Research Center of the National University of Costa Rica (CINAT-UNA), associated to the project, counted with the collaboration of 61 beekeepers from the provinces of Alajuela and Puntarenas.

The project Bee Health 2020 LatAm is progressing in Costa Rica thanks to the work of the associated researchers of the Tropical Beekeeping Research Center of the National University of Costa Rica (CINAT-UNA).

The first monitoring, carried out during the rainy season, was completed by November in apiaries of 61 beekeepers in the provinces of Alajuela and Puntarenas. Most of the 305 hives sampled were concentrated in the canton of San Ramón, although there were also monitorings in the cantons of Naranjo, Palmares, Atenas, Esparza and San Mateo.

As in the first part of the monitoring, Rafael Calderón, coordinator of the Integrated Program of Beekeeping Pathology of CINAT-UNA, and coordinator of Bee Health 2020 LatAm in Costa Rica, says that “we observed important differences between beekeepers regarding the management and care of the hives, the conditions of the beekeeping material, feeding methods, change of queens, individual and group benches, population of the colonies, varroa levels, population of the colonies and location and access to the apiaries”.

In addition, it was difficult to access some apiaries due to their remoteness and the ruggedness of the land. In other cases, weeds covered the hives, which meant that they had to be cut down to find the colonies and avoid accidents with snakes.

Each of the beekeepers who participated in the monitoring was assigned a code and digital file where at least four photos of the apiary, 10 photos of the interior and exterior of their five monitored colonies, and a health survey were included.

The researchers collected samples of bee bread and analysed for the presence of nosema and tracheal acariosis in adult bees. The results were reported to the beekeepers by e-mail.

“This was an excellent opportunity to review specific details of the colonies in an entire beekeeping area,” says Rafael Calderón. The expert adds that in general, the beekeepers collaborated with the project. “We believe that they really need training and are waiting for this process and more support”.