The beekeeping sector is already considered a key agricultural activity in Portugal, not only because of the direct impact and net contribution of honey production, but also due to the ecosystem services indirectly provided by bees when maintaining biodiversity and crop pollination. The economic importance and its impact is now clearly recognized by the public authorities, which can be seen by the public investment but also by the policies such as the new centre of competences on Apiculture and Biodiversity. Currently the activity is performed by more than 10 thousand beekeepers who manage more than 620 thousand colonies.
The development of this sector and its professionalization bring with it the search for new practices, introducing new procedures that, by changing the biodynamics of the colony, maximize the profitability of beekeeping and multiply the functionalities of the hive. As a consequence, it is crucial to follow the nutritional status of a colony, recognized as a key factor to ensure the bee healthy. A deficient flow of nectar and pollen in the hive immediately limits its development, enabling the proliferation of pathogens and consequently the colony lifespan. It is therefore natural for beekeepers to seek food supplements as adjuvants in the management of hives and to overcome nutritional imbalances.
As a consequence of the growing diversity of food supplements for honeybees, it is proposed, with this project, to carry out an assessment of the current market situation in order to provide beekeepers with clear information that may support their decision of artificial feeding their bees according to its needs and the beekeeper goals.