Meliponiculture in Rio Grande do Norte
ABSTRACT. Maia U.M., Jaffe R., Carvalho A.T. & Imperatriz-Fonseca V.L. [Meliponiculture in Rio Grande do Norte.] Meliponicultura no Rio Grande do Norte. Revista Brasileira de Medicina Veterinária, 37(4):327-333, 2015. Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Avenida Bandeirantes, 3900, Monte Alegre, Ribeirão Preto, SP 14040-901, Brasil. E-mail: email@example.com This study aimed to assess the current status of stingless bee beekeeping (meliponiculture) in the State of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, with the aid of structured questionnaires made during visits to beekeepers. The results were compared with a previous census made in the state and with a similar study from Australia. Meliponiculture in Rio Grande do Norte is still informal and little standardized. The activity has grown in recent years considering the mean number of nests per beekeeper. Most apiaries are formed of up to 50 colonies, usually distributed in the backyards of homes. Twelve species of stingless bees were reared in the state, and the most common was the “Jandaíra” bee (Melipona subnitida), whose honey is considered medicinal. While many beekeepers already know the importance of bees as pollinators, stingless bees are still not used for crop pollination. Compared to a recent analysis of beekeeping in Australia, meliponiculture in Brazil is more traditional, honey is the main product and the number of colonies per beekeeper is much higher. Our results highlight the need to reinforce knowledge about bees and promote specific training aimed at improving and standardizing management practices.