“Beekeeping in Brazil:  A Slumbering Giant Awakens,” Parts I – IV

American Bee Journal (Sep, Dec. 2004 & Jan, Mar 2005), Vols. 144-145




Malcolm T. Sanford





I first journeyed to Brazil in the wake of a sabbatical study in Bologna, Italy.1  Apimondia, the World Beekeeping Congress, convened that year (1989) in Rio de Janeiro.  It was a time of great turmoil in the world’s fifth largest country, when measured by landmass.  Government was in the final stages of being passed from military dictatorship to civilian democracy.  Inflation was at an all-time high; those attending the congress saw their bus transport to the event, purchased in advance from downtown to the Rio Centro Convention Center on the outskirts of the city, evaporate as the nuovo cruzado, the currency at the time, became increasingly worthless.  The Congress, however, was a great success, and was a coming out of sorts for Brazilian beekeeping.  It featured two prominent geneticists, Dr. Warwick Kerr of Brazil and Dr. Walter Rothenbuhler of The Ohio State University, as honored guests, and was a first sign to the world that the country was coming to terms with what introduction of the African honey bee had wrought.


I again visited Brazil in 1996 after the 6th Ibero-Latinoamerican Beekeeping Congress held in Mercedes Uruguay.  The seventh will be held September 23-26, 2004 in Asunción, Paraguay.  I attended the 2nd Encontro de Abehlhas, a scientific bee meeting at the Ribeirão Preto campus of São Paulo University.  In the space of several days, a bevy of Brazilian researchers and scientists from other parts of the world strutted their stuff to both the scientific and lay community. 


My next invitation was to the heart of Brazil’s northern interior, Teresina, the capital of the State of Piauí to attend the 11th Congress.  Over 2000 beekeepers were in attendance; one of the largest bee meetings I had ever attended.  The energy was palpable.  It was in this part of the country that a new sort of beekeeping was taking place, based on the Africanized honey bee’s adaptability to the vast interior region called the sertão.  The vegetational complex of the sertão, called caatinga, it turns out has much in common with the African savannah, where the African honey bee is so successful.  It was obvious Brazilians were more than optimistic about the future of beekeeping in their country.


In the year 2000, I found myself in Florianópolis in Santa Catarina state.  It was in this city that a group of beekeepers and scientists in Brazil decided to hold a seminal meeting in 1970, the first Brazilian Beekeeping Congress.  A major theme at that event was the over defensiveness of the Africanized honey bee in Brazil and how it might be managed.  Much had obviously changed since that first meeting.  Defensive behavior no longer seemed much of an issue.  Other topics were much more emphasized. 


As is the case with most congresses in Brazil, the 2000 Florianópolis event featured several surprises.  When I inquired about the proceedings, I was given a CD ROM disk.  It had become too expensive to print the voluminous paper edition summarizing all the posters and presentations delivered at the event.  From now on these would only be available in digital format.  At the same time, I became aware that another kind of beekeeping in Brazil was fast gaining popularity featuring native, stingless bees in the Hymenopteran insect order’s (ants, bees and wasps) family meliponidae (abelhas sem ferrão).  Thus, I was not surprised when my latest presence at a beekeeping congress would also be in conjunction with the first Brazilian Congress on Meliponiculture.


The theme of the 15th Brazilian Beekeeping Congress (also the First Meliponiculture Congress), which also included the first international honey exposition, was held in Natal, Capital of the state of Rio Grande do Norte, May 18- 21, 2004 was improving the quality of both the products derived from bee culture in all its forms and equipment used in the craft.  In a real sense this represents a shift in Brazilian apiculture toward an era of “professionalism” of the craft.  What this means to the beekeeping world is that Brazil is on the verge of becoming a huge force in the international honey market.  Several things have come together to cause this.  The first is the phenomenal productivity of the Africanized honey bee, which is tolerant of the Varroa bee mite (Varroa destructor) and so requires no chemical treatment.  Second, there has been explosion in scientific study and understanding about how to manage this bee, and finally, the Brazilian government has seen the developmental possibilities of beekeeping and has directed substantial resources toward this goal.  This series of articles will take a closer look at what has happened in these arenas to provide readers with a basic understanding of the history of Brazilian beekeeping and its likely future.


History of Brazilian Beekeeping: 


At the Natal congress, Dr. Lionel Segui Gonçalves presented a history of beekeeping expansion in Brazil and its global perspective.  The craft began in the 1830s, with the first honey bees imported from Europe (Apis mellifera mellifera) by immigrants from the Old World.  This is the same honey bee that was introduced into the U.S., often called the German or black bee.  Like most other places in the New World, introductions of Carniolan (Apis mellifera carnica) and Italian (Apis mellifera ligustica) soon followed.  Beekeeping at the time was sedentary and not of great importance, being mostly a religious activity (for the beeswax to make candles) and/or a hobby.  Honey production was less than 400 tons per year.


In 1956, Dr. Warwick Kerr introduced African honey bees to Brazil.  Originally identified as Apis mellifera adansonii, they have been since renamed to Apis mellifera scutellata.  Either way they have characteristics different than European bees, especially when it comes to defensive behavior.  The story is well known about the bees’ escape into the wild, where they became well established as a poly-hybrid with mostly African characteristics and behavior. 


The 1960s and 1970s, according to Dr. Gonçalves, was a time of chaos in Brazilian beekeeping.  Many abandoned the craft in the face of the apparent unmanageability of these insects.  Little was known about their biology.  In addition, the bees became known as and still are considered “killer bees” by the vast majority of humanity, made worse by sensationalized media attention.  Also known as “Brazilian” or “assassin bees,” the Brazilians have worked hard and succeeded in shifting the name of this insect to the more neutral Africanized honey bee.


The year 1970 was a seminal one with the first Brazilian Beekeeping Congress in Florianópolis.  Since then, slowly but surely over the years, beekeeping has come back rather like a phoenix rising from the ashes, according to Dr. Gonçalves.  The next twenty year period would see an explosion of both scientific and beekeeping activity towards understanding the Africanized bee as it became an established part on the Brazilian landscape. 

The São Paulo campus at Ribeirão Preto, where Dr. Gonçalves is employed, has become a center of scientific study on honey bees.  Some 200 masters and doctoral theses have resulted.  The faculty hired a North American scientist and former New York bee inspector, Dr. David DeJong, trained by Dr. Roger Morse.  There are now 11 professors working with bees on this campus, probably the largest concentration in the world.  Interestingly, none consider themselves apiculture specialists per se, but use bees as research subjects.  And numerous scientific papers and conventions (Encontros) continue to be held on the Ribeirão Preto campus.  The 6th Encontro de Albelhas will take place at the local Hotel JP2 on September 6-10 20043.  This is expected to be an extraordinary meeting with English as the main language.  A lineup of speakers from all over the world is expected, many from North America.  It will be held as part of the 8th International Bee Research Association’s (IBRA) International Conference on Tropical Bees.4  Dr. Gonçalves noted in his presentation that there are currently scientists and technicians with training from Ribeirão Preto employed in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Mexico, Germany, France, and Austria. 

The student output from other Brazilian universities, which have followed in the footsteps of Ribeirão Preto, often through students trained at that campus, also radiates out all over the country, as one can see at any Congress.  The Natal event featured over 100 posters on many topics, mostly by students from a number of institutions.  In addition, 55 speakers, including scientists from the U.S. (Dr. Marla Spivak) and Switzerland (Dr. Stefan Bogdanov), gave presentations on everything from pollination to pollen production. 

A summary of the considerable body of honey bee knowledge acquired over the years 1960s to 1991 was published as homage to Dr. Kerr in 1992.  Entitled Brazilian Bee Research, the book is 600 pages in Portuguese with English abstracts, and characterized in the introduction as, "...a resource for beekeepers, teachers, students and researchers in Brazil and around the world."  Other resources also exist.  One CD ROM, produced by the Department of Plant Pathology, Universidade Federal de Rio Grande Do Sul, Coordinated by Prof. Aroni Sattler, contains the proceedings of all the apicultural congresses and seminars held since the 1980s.5

During the last two decades, Dr. Gonçalves says, there was also great growth in both beekeeping equipment and products in the country.  Thus, Brazil has become not only self-sufficient, but an exporter in stainless steel extractors, uncappers, wax foundation, and other items.  In addition, there has been a proliferation of paraphernalia from large smokers to space-age bee suits.  Bee products from specialty honey, to propolis and pollen to cosmetics and ointments and salves with medicinal properties continue to be developed.  The Expoapis (display area) in Natal featured over a hundred exhibits showing every kind of product imaginable.  Finally, there has been a huge increase in the number and activity of Brazilian beekeeping Associations.  The Associaçao Paulista de Apicultores Criadores de Abelhas Melíficas Européias (APACAME), for example, is celebrating its twenty-fifth year.  It publishes 5000 copies each printing of a magazine called Mensagem Doce (Sweet Message), which has the motto: “We are not rich; we are organized.”6  At the Natal Congress, a good-natured but intense competition between various associations, often dressed in distinctive, coordinated t-shirts, not only in beekeeping activity, but also dancing and making was music was also in evidence.


Again, most of this recent beekeeping activity is based on the Africanized honey bee, according to Dr. Gonçalves.  Brazilians have come to prefer this bee due to its capacity to adapt to many of the ecosytems found in the country and its inherent tolerance to parasites and diseases.  It continues to confound many elsewhere and delight Brazilians that the Varroa mited (Varroa destructor), although universally present, does not result in wholesale deaths of colonies.  As a result there is no need to chemically treat colonies.


It seems remarkable that only in the late 1970s did beekeeping penetrate into Brazil’s northeast.  As I wrote in my report on the 11th Congress in Teresina: 


Brazil's northeast, like its Amazon rainforest, is one of the last frontiers in this huge country. During World War II, it became the stopover for many flights in an effort to find the shortest over-water route to supply troops in North Africa and elsewhere.  Thus, Natal, Recife, and other northeastern Brazilian coastal cities became well known in the early days of aviation and continue to be tourist destinations today.  This is the poorest region of Brazil, principally due to the environmental conditions of the interior, a vast region called the sertão.  Because of its extreme aridity and general inaccessibility, it was considered useless agriculturally for many years.  Those owning land in the sertão abandoned/sold it whenever possible. The region is undergoing renaissance of sorts, however, and there is increasing economic activity of all kinds, including beekeeping.

“When the rains come to the sertão, they inundate this Brazilian upland with huge quantities of water for months on end.  Once the floods stop, the land quickly becomes parched again.  Most plants and animals inhabiting the area flourish during the wet period then physiologically withdraw until the next rains, often more than a half a year away. The bees of the sertão are no exception to this pattern. With the appearance of the first rain drops, these insects seem to appear out of nowhere to take advantage of the abundant pollen and nectar produced by a wide variety of plants in the predominant vegetative association called caatinga. 

“The sertao is perfect country for the Africanized honey bee.  It is well adapted to produce the reproductive and migratory swarms required by this harsh environment.  The region is also home to a large number of stingless bees that produce smaller amounts of a qualitatively different honey than Apis bees.  Although not as efficient in collecting and processing nectar, native, stingless bees are important to the region's ecology and increasingly, its economy.

“The brothers Arlindo and Arnaldo Wenzel from the southern state of São Paulo and Américo Bende from the northern state of Piauí teamed up to bring the first Langstroth hives to the sertão in December 1977, when they introduced 300 colonies of Apis bees.  The results were nothing less than spectacular.  In three months, they produced the same amount of honey as during an entire year in Sã Paulo state.  Since then, the Wenzels have averaged 200 tons of honey per year with 5,000 colonies, reaching their highest yield in 1988 of 375 tons.”

Beekeeping continues to spread out across the northeast, especially into the states of Ceará and Rio Grande do Norte, which have higher population densities and are closer to major ports than most of Piauí.  This is setting the stage for huge growth in the region, especially the export market.  The conclusion of almost anyone looking at the beekeeping industry in this area of the world can only be summed up by the phrase: lookout world here comes Brazil.



  1. M.T. Sanford, Apis Newsletter, IFAS University of Florida , July and August 1989<http://apis.ifas.ufl.edu/apis89/apjul89.htm#1> and<http://apis.ifas.ufl.edu/apis89/apaug89.htm#1>, accessed July 19, 2004.
  2. Hotel JP Home Page <http://www.hoteljp.com.br/>, accessed July 19, 2004.
  3. Sixth Encontro de Abelhas Home Page <http://rge.fmrp.usp.br/abelhudo/>, accessed July 19, 2004.
  4. International Bee Research Association Home Page <http://www.ibra.org.uk/>, accessed July 19, 2004.
  5. For more information, e-mail <aronisattler@yahoo.com.br>.
  6. Page <http://www.apacame.org.br>, accessed July 19, 2004.



Beekeeping in Brazil:  A Slumbering Giant Awakens, Part II.




Malcolm T. Sanford



In my last article, I said that one of the reasons for Brazil’s advances in apiculture is the flurry of scientific inquiry that is the legacy of the Africanized honey bee’s introduction into that country.  The details concerning the introduction and its effects in Brazil and the rest of the Americas have been described in many articles and books over the years.  Most recently, a volume by Dr. Dewey Caron has emerged as a well-documented summary of what we know to date 1


It all started with a man who had the vision and then the wherewithal to accomplish the task of introducing African tropical honey bee stock to a country where beekeeping had stagnated based on the temperately-adapted European honey bee.  Brazilian geneticist Dr. Warwick Kerr’s story is a fascinating one of science mixed with politics.  Perhaps the best treatment is that by Wallace White.2


According to Mr. White, Dr. Kerr was originally asked by the Brazilian government to import queens from Angola, South Africa and Tanzania.  All those from Angola died (killed it seems by order of a misguided consular official in Portugal), but Dr. Kerr arrived in Rio de Janeiro with 75 from South Africa.  Dr. Kerr was aware that African honey bees, although productive, were also likely to be fiercely defensive, far more so than the gentle European (Italian) bees then employed in Brazilian apiculture.  Thus, he used precautions by introducing the queens into nuclei (small colonies) of European bees and quarantining the colonies in the Rio Claro area.  The idea was to control the genetics through instrumental insemination. 


Mr. White reported that after some selection and natural mortality, 28 or 29 nuclei became the basis for the breeding effort by Dr. Kerr.  From these colonies a group of queens were reared and inseminated with sperm of European (Apis mellifera ligustica) drones.  Selection from the first cross, the F1 hybrid, produced daughter queens for subsequent generations.  One queen in particular from Tanzania produced colonies that appeared to be more productive but, unfortunately, these were extremely defensive.  All was progressing well until one day in the fall of 1957 a visiting beekeeper removed the barriers (queen excluders) keeping the queens from escaping.  Twenty-six of the queens accompanied by swarms of workers left these hives and are considered the origin of the so-called Africanized honey bee.


Because of the controversies created by this introduction, Dr. Kerr’s reputation has fluctuated from pariah to savior over the ensuing years.  Nevertheless, his scientific legacy now consists of an army of academic children and grand children that has proliferated across the Brazilian landscape.  He has in fact become a celebrity; throngs of folks queued up to get his autograph at the beekeeping congress in Natal.  One reason for his reputation is the activities of the campus of São Paulo University in the city of Ribeirão Preto.  There a large faculty (eleven members) in the schools of medicine (genetics) and basic sciences, many who studied under and/or are affiliated with Dr. Kerr, have done research and education to provide a basis for effective management of the Africanized honey bee in Brazil.  As homage to him, this faculty published a summary of the considerable body of honey bee knowledge acquired over the years 1960s to 1991 with English summaries.3


The changes fostered in Brazil based on Dr. Kerr’s introduction were due to a rapid shift from European temperate honey bee behavior to that of the African tropical honey bee.  The one trait that received the vast majority of the attention in the beginning and was to dominate the discussion for many years was defensive behavior.  Many wild and, more significantly, managed colonies by beekeepers in Brazil and elsewhere in the American tropics have become much more defensive in the wave of the continents’ shift to Africanized honey bees.  This has led to stinging incidents that, while greater than those provoked by European bees, have generally been over sensationalized by media outlets in Brazil and elsewhere.4


It is not surprising, therefore, that defensive behavior has been given a great deal of research attention in Brazil.  Indeed, the first Brazilian Congress in 1970 in Florianópolis had that as its theme.  A summary of the impact of this research was provided at the Second Encounter (Encontro) in Ribeirão Preto by Dr. Antonio Carlos Stort, who has dedicated much of his career to this topic.  He concludes:


"There is great variability in defensiveness in Brazil.  It has been shown that climactic factors are important, as is production of alarm pheromone.  Using this information, selection at the Ribeirão Preto campus and the subsequent release of well over 30,000 European queens to the beekeeping industry ameliorated the defensiveness in colonies, especially during the initial period of adaptation.  Not only have Brazilian beekeepers learned the effectiveness of requeening, however, but they also have adapted in other ways, including more judicious use of smoke.  Thus, defensiveness is no longer the number one concern of the beekeeping industry.”5 


Dr. Stort also describes a unique Brazilian development, creation of a honey bee with a "split sting," resulting from exposing the insects to cobalt 60 radiation.  The process creates a mutation, and the sting apparatus does not develop correctly.  As a result, these bees cannot physically sting.  Beekeepers themselves have chosen not to use this kind of bee, which is in effect defenseless, however it has potential in some areas where risks of stings must be minimized. 


Eng. Agr. Paulo Gustavo Sommer, ex-president of one of Brazil’s largest beekeeping associations, also credits scientific investigation as being responsible for beekeeping’s resurgence.  Like a phoenix, rising from the ashes, he says, beekeeping has become a robust commercial activity based on the very insects that caused its decline in the first place, Africanized honey bees.  Over ninety percent of Brazilian colonies are now managed in modern moveable-frame Langstroth equipment.  A growth rate of 4.5 percent per year in honey production since 1985 has resulted in production of 35,000 tons in 1996, rivaling nearby Uruguay.  And there seems little reason, Eng. Sommer concluded, that a level of 200,000 tons per year could not be reached in the future.6  In 2004, just one company (Mel Brazil Tropical) in the State of Rio Grande do Norte exported 1.5 million kilograms (1,650 tons), less than half that individual state’s crop.7


Besides the Langstroth hive, other modifications in beekeeping technique have been made in Brazil to accommodate the Africanized honey bee, according to Eng. Sommer.  Wax foundation has been adjusted to the bee's size, somewhat smaller than the European bee.  The increased defensive behavior required a different smoking technique.  Huge numbers of migratory and reproductive swarms nesting in many places and the possibility of them stinging the general public have presented challenges and opportunities in trapping bees.  Finally, beekeepers have actively selected their bees to eliminate many objectionable behaviors.


“Among the most important attributes of the Africanized bee in Brazil, Eng. Sommer says, are:


1. Increased hygienic behavior.

2. More efficient foraging.

3. Greater natural resistance against pests and diseases.

4. Superior pollination in intensively cultivated fields.

5. Stronger genetic dominance.

5. Increased defensive and swarming behavior.


"The latter behaviors would seem to be counterproductive at first, but proof that they are controllable is found in the present condition of Brazil's beekeeping industry.   And a good part of the reason for this are the hundreds of short courses, symposiums, seminars and many national congresses that have been given over the years."8  As I noted in my previous article in this journal, the results of many of these conventions and congresses have been published on a CD ROM by the Department of Plant Pathology, Universidade Federal de Rio Grande Do Sul, coordinated by Prof. Aroni Sattler.9


The congress in Natal continued the tradition of providing a plethora of scientific information to Brazil’s beekeeping industry..  It featured 55 presentations by scientists from Brazil, as well as the United States and Switzerland.  In addition, there were 121 posters on many subjects, including, biology and ecology of bees (18), bee plants and pollination (22), bee health (16), bee products (23), bee management (10), and others, including twenty on the culture of stingless bees (meliponiculture).  The majority of the presentations were published in the Congress annals on a CD ROM disk for delivery to participants.


Perhaps the most significant areas of scientific inquiry at the Natal Congress concerned honey production and exportation (Dr. Lionel Segui Gonçalves) defensive behavior (Dr. Antonio Carlos Stort), swarm trapping (Dr. Ademilson Spencer Soares), hygienic behavior (Dr. Marla Spivak), honey contamination (Dr. Stefan Bogdanov), diagnosis of American foulbrood (Dr. David De Jong), and advances in honey bee genomics (Dr. Zilá Luz Paulino Simões).  In addition, the Meliponiculture Congress was anchored by two of the main contributors to the science and art of raising stingless bees, Dr. Warwick Kerr himself, and a pioneer in designing nests to accommodate this kind of activity, Dr. Paulo Nogueira Neto.


Some of Dr. Gonçalves’ remarks were mentioned in the previous article in this series and will be given more treatment in later articles.  Dr. Stort summarized continued research on defensive behavior.  Specifically looking at alarm pheromone production in differing populations, measured by standard stinging tests using tethered balls at the entrance.


Dr. Soares studies have pioneered research in trapping swarms to reduce populations of Africanized bees in urban areas, like Ribeirão Preto.  That city is impacted by large numbers of bees from nearby sugar cane plantations.  Trapping technology has been transplanted elsewhere and been well studied.  The use of proper trap sizes, in conjunction with a Nasanov (orientation) pheromone lure is quite effective in attracting and intercepting swarms.  This is so much the case that a niche market in the pest control industry has been carved out in the western United States of America where Africanized honey bees are resident.10


Diseases (American foulbrood or AFB is not yet present) are tolerated remarkably well by the Africanized honey bees of Brazil as are Varroa mites.  No antibiotics or chemicals are routinely in use for any condition even in the face of universal Varroa infestations.  One reason for this may be increased hygienic behavior.  Work on this by Dr. Marla Spivak at the University of Minnesota and one of the technology’s main proponents has caught the Brazilian’s eye.  Dr. Spivak, therefore, was one of the main speakers on this subject in Natal.  Her message that selecting for hygienic behavior is a prime way to control most diseases and also is important in mite-tolerant honey bees is being taken seriously in Brazil.


This line of work has been taken up by Dr. Kátia Peres Gramacho in collaboration with Dr. Gonçalves.  They have confirmed and elaborated on the contribution of Dr. Walter Rothenbuhler, a pioneer in this arena, suggesting a new hypothesis. for the origin of hygienic behavior based on sequences they observed in observation hives, including puncturing the capping, removing the capping, and removing the cell contents.  Instead of two recessive genes (u=uncapping and r=removing) as proposed by Dr. Walter Rothenbuhler, therefore, they have identified three (u1, u2 and r).  Thus, they conclude, “In order to uncap the cell, the bee should have both u1 and u2 genes as homozygous (u1/u1, u2/u2).  Only one u1 or u2 gene as homozygous would determine the puncturing (u1/u1, u2/+ or u1/+,u2/u2) and the three genes as homozygous would be responsible for the uncapping and removal (u1/u1, u2/u2, r/r).”11 


It is fortunate, that Brazil does not yet have AFB (or if so, it has not been detected, nor is it widespread).  However, at the Natal congress, there was fear that it was just a matter of time before it might arrive from the south.  Argentina is the most likely source as that country has had much experience not only with the disease itself, but also antibiotic-resistant forms. 


Dr. David De Jong, an ex-New York bee inspector, trained under Dr. Roger Morse (Cornell University) now on the Ribeirão Preto faculty discussed the real threat that exists should AFB be introduced.  There is the fear that when detected, Brazilian beekeepers may attempt to control it using antibiotics.  Should this happen, one of the few places on earth where truly organic honey can be produced would be at risk of contaminated honey like much of the rest of the world.. 


Honey contamination by producers is not yet a threat in Brazil, but it doesn’t take much to spoil the show, according to Dr. Stefan Bogdanov.  He described a litany of problems that now face the global market in both honey and beeswax caused by contaminants principally used to control diseases and mites.12  It is hoped that those in the Brazilian beekeeping scene will take Dr. Bogdanov’s message seriously, clearly the reason he was invited by the organizers.


High technology genetics was also featured at the Natal Congress.  Dr. Zilá Luz Paulino Simões described her work with vitellogenin, juvenile hormone and prophenoloxidase through DNA and RNA analysis.  She is also an important part of the honey bee genome sequencing project.13


Other work by Brazilian scientists encompasses many aspects of beekeeping.  At the Natal congress, there were discussions of producing pollen and propolis.  There is a huge interest in the latter product, as some of the world’s most active and complex propolis is collected by bees in Brazil.  Honey dew is also being looked at.  A huge source appears to be the bracatinga vegetational complex in the southern state of Santa Catarina.


To summarize, introduction of the Africanized honey bee has resulted in a phenomenal growth in scientific effort with Dr. Warwick Kerr as its undisputed leader.  His students and colleagues have now proliferated around the country and are continuing their studies.  The leader in this activity at the present time is the faculty of São Paulo University in the city of Ribeirão Preto.  With the fruits of this legacy continuing in full swing, the Brazilian beekeeping industry has a solid basis on which to build a future honey industry without rival in both quantity and quality. 




1.      Caron, D.  Africanized Honey Bees in the Americas, A.I. Root Co., 2001.

2.      White, W. “The Bees From Rio ClaroNew Yorker, September 16, 1991.

3.      Soares, A. E. and D. De Jong eds., Pesquisas Com Abelhas No Brasil: Brazilian Bee Research, Sociedade Brasileira de Genética, 1992>

4.      Sanford, Malcolm T., Apis Newsletter, University of Florida, May 1992 <http://apis.ifas.ufl.edu/apis92/apmay92.htm >, accessed August 23, 2004

5.      Stort, Antonio, “Comportamento de abelhas africanizadas,” Anais de II Encontro Sobre Abelhas, , Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, 6-9 June 1996, pp. 171-179 (Author’s translation)>.

6.      Sommer, P.G., Proceedings of the Eleventh Brazilian Beekeeping Congress, Teresina, November 26 through 30, 1996, as reported in The Speedy Bee, February 1979

7.      Diario de Natal, Sunday 23 May 2004, p.5.

8.      Sommer, P.G., Anais de IV Encontro Sobre Abelhas, Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, 6-9 September 2000 (translated by M.T. Sanford).

9.      For more information, e-mail <aronisattler@yahoo.com.br.

10.  Schmidt, J. O., S. C. Thoenes and R. Hurley, “Swarm traps, an idea whose time has come,  Bee Culture, Vol. 118 (1990), pp. :217-219,223.>  See also <http://apis.ifas.ufl.edu/apis97/apsep97.htm#4>, accessed August 23, 2004.

11.  Gramacho, K.P.and L.S. Gonçalves, “The Sequences of the Hygienic Behavior Process of Carniolan Worker Honey Bees (Apis mellifera carnica).  2001.  Proceedings of the 37th Apicultural Congress, Durban, South Africa, p. 17.

12.  Apimondia Symposium, October 10-11, 2002, Preventing Residues in Honey Agenda <http://www.bieneninstitut.de/PDF/Apimondia Program Final.pdf>, accessed August 23, 2004.

13.   Honey Bee Genome Sequencing Proposal World Wide Web page <http://www.genome.gov/Pages/Research/Sequencing/SeqProposals/HoneyBee_Genome.pdf>, accessed August 23, 2004.




Beekeeping in Brazil:  A Slumbering Giant Awakens, Part III.




Malcolm T. Sanford



In a previous article I said that Eng. Paulo Sommer had concluded there was no reason why Brazil would not reach a honey production of 200,000 tons in the near future.  The figures for total production are difficult to come by given the vastness of the country.  Much more reliable are export figures.  Dr. Lionel Gonçalves’ paper presented at the15th Beekeeping Congress in Natal detailed this information:1


Brazilian Production and Value (Thousands of U.S. Dollars) of Exported Honey Years 2002-2003. 






Value (U.S. Thousand Dollars)




Honey Production (Tons)








Total Agribusiness (U.S. Thousand Dollars)

$ 26,063,793




If we accept that only 20 percent of the honey produced is exported, then 40,000 tons exported could be extrapolated to the required figure (20% of 200,000 tons).  Clearly Brazil has a ways to go to reach Eng. Sommer’s figure, but if it continues to double production each season, it could achieve such a goal relatively quickly.


Honey production in the aggregate nationwide is not the best way to monitor what’s really happening.  Dr. Gonçalves also breaks down his numbers by region according to data from Cristal Honey International.2


Brazilian Honey Exportation in Tons by Region 2001 to June 2003









Total (Tons)




































If production and marketing stay on this track, exports will almost double by the end of 2003.  Notice that the northeast is coming on strong.  It represented less than 10 percent of the amount exported in 2001, but by June of 2003 that number had risen to 32.1 percent.  The 2004 value of the production is even more, given the fact that two of the world’s major honey suppliers, China and Argentina, continue to have their honey sales restricted (banned in some countries) due to contamination


Dr. Gonçalves states that the contribution of the states of Piauí and Ceará represents an explosion of apicultural activity in Brazil’s northeast.  Other states, which had relatively little production before arrival of the Africanized honey bee, have also had increases, including Pernambuco, Maranhão, Bahia and Rio Grande do Norte


According to information presented at the First Conference on Northeastern Honey Exportation, July 2003 in Salvador, Bahia, Dr. Gonçalves says the number of beekeepers in the states of Piauí, Ceará and Bahia also increased significantly in the last five years.  Many government programs have begun to help beekeepers, including those of Emparn, Incra, Embrapa (Projeto Prodetab), MMA and Sine.  Lending institutions have also provided credit, guaranteed loans and grants, including Banco do Brasil, Banco do Nordeste, and Pronaf (Programa Nacional de Agricultura Familiar).  Specific problems Dr. Gonçalves sees are caused by a general lack of knowledge in relation to honey bee management and honey quality by many beekeepers.  This will require creation of laboratories for analysis of honey and other beekeeping products, as well scientific effort and education to help beekeepers understand bee pathology and bee botany in the region known as the sertão, with its unique vegetational complex, the caatinga.


The Role of Sebrae:


Taking up Dr. Gonçalves’ challenge is a national apicultural program (Project Apis) launched by Sebrae in Brazil’s capital, Brasilia.  Sebrae is one of those ubiquitous acronyms standing for Serviço Brasileiro de Apoio às Micro e Pequenas Empresas (Brazilian Partnerships Aiding Small and Micro Businesses).3


Sebrae appears to be something like the U.S. Small Business Administration, but much larger.  It encompasses not only agriculture, but also other small enterprises, providing various services including courses and consulting.  Headquartered in Brasilia, it has offices in 26 Brazilian states as well as the Federal District.  Created in 1990 under two pieces of legislation (8.029 and 8.154), its stated mission is to promote competitiveness and sustainable development in Brazilian small businesses. 


Sebrae’s “Projeto Apis,” consists of a number of programs and courses directed towards promoting apiculture and educating beekeepers.  In a presentation given at the Natal congress, Reginaldo Barroso de Resende from the head office in Brasilia gave a synopsis of the rationale and details of this effort.  Billed as a program to develop both an integrated and sustainable beekeeping enterprise, it has a number of goals.  The first “Espacio Apicola” (bee space) of “Projeto Apis” was inaugurated at the 1996 Brazilian Congress in Teresina.  Called Apis Araripe, it had the following goals:


1.      Increase by 20% the number of persons directly employed in beekeeping by December 2004

2.      Increase by 25% annual honey production by December 31, 2004

3.      Increase by 35% the volume of honey processed by December 31, 2004

4.      Increase by 30% the quantity of honey exported by December 31, 2004


With this as a start, the following actions and associated costs are anticipated throughout Brazil according to Mr. Barroso.  The complete project is expected to cost 1,635,000 Brazilian Reais or R$ ($USD 1.00 = 3R$), including


15 stores at 26,000 R$ each

15 bee spaces at 18,000 R$ each

15 technological clinics for education at 15,000 R$ each


Much of this effort was evident at the Natal congress.  Most states had a separate Sebrae stand in the “Espacio Apicola” exposition area corresponding to “Projecto Apis,” providing literature and distributing information about all phases of beekeeping.  Also evident was the Banco do Brasil, which also had a stand, and is integrated into the bee project on several levels as its prime financier.


The focus of the efforts of Sebrae in the State of Rio Grande do Norte could be seen everywhere.4  The organization put up much of the Congress’ financing.  The exhibition hall had 12 Sebrae-sponsored rooms dedicated to educating beekeepers on a number of subjects, including producing and processing honey and propolis, raising queens, feeding techniques and disease identification.  Parked outside the building was a white truck that in essence is a moveable classroom.


An article in the Natal newspaper says the number of beekeepers in the state of Rio Grande do Norte has increased by a factor of six in the last two years.  Over a million kilograms (1,100 tons) of honey left the port of Natal in 2003, bound mostly for Germany.  The article says a “beekeeping boom” began in 2000, and one company, Mel Brasil Tropical, will export about 1.5 million kilograms (1,700 tons) in 2004.  Mostly, this is the result of small to mid-sized beekeepers supported and developed by the activities of Sebrae.  There is great optimism in the state of Rio Grande de Norte, the article concludes, which in the next five years will surpass the states of Ceará, Piauí and Bahia in honey production.5


After the Congress, I was hosted by Valdemar Belchior Filho, one of the event’s organizers, in the city of Mossoró, where he is in charge of the local Sebrae office.  This is the largest inland town in Rio Grande do Norte, a state very much like Texas, complete with cows, oil wells and its own famous outlaws.  Billed as Brazil’s “Land of Liberty,” Mossoró, “Capital of the Semi-Arid Land,” was the first place in the country to free its slaves, and give women the vote.  Every June it celebrates the epic battle between its good citizens and a band of outlaws (cangaceiros), headed by the famous Lampião (Captain Virgulino).  The gang was met by a hail of bullets at Mossoró’s São Vicente church in 1927 and forced to withdraw after taking many casualties.6   Other principal activities are salt mining and melon production.  The latter activity again is based on support of Sebrae, which also is now looking at educating beekeepers to become commercial pollinators of this important export crop.


I was fortunate enough to visit two separate areas where beekeeping is alive and well, principally due to the efforts of Sebrae.  The first was Serra do Mel (Honey Hill), almost due east of Mossoró.  Here vast plantations of cashews are planted in the caatinga.  The place got its name before the Africanized honey bee’s arrival, however, due to a huge number of native stingless bees that are still resident there.  We visited a meliponiario, which rears and collects honey from native bees.  Later we were able to see several apiaries and honey houses under construction in this area supported by Sebrae and financed by loans from Banco do Brazil. 


The native vegetation in this part of Rio Grande do Norte is much like the great mats of ruderal plants one sees in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.  It is is estimated to cover 900,000 square kilometers and is perfectly adapted to Apis mellifera scutellata, the ancestor of the hybridized Africanized bee now found everywhere.  It is not difficult to see the possibilities for huge amounts of organic honey to be produced by a population of Varroa- and disease-resistant feral honey bees. 


I also visited the town of Apodi on the banks of the river with the same name that is south and west of Mossoró.  My guide, a technical advisor for Sebrae, Armando Ferreira, revealed his excellent training in the beekeeping craft.  At one place we visited a well-appointed honey house, and Armando showed two young men how to improve the foundation they were extruding using a hand-operated mill.  In another spot on the outskirts of Mossoró, he told some workers who were assembling frames and supers that a critical measurement was in error.  There was too little space between the top bars of the frames of one super and bottom bars of the super above.  This favored development of wax moth larvae, since they could squeeze into this space and be protected from efforts by adult bees to remove them.


There is little doubt that the considerable efforts of Sebrae have been extremely successful in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, where beekeeping activity is really just beginning.  At the present time, some 3,000 beekeepers manage 50,000 hives.  Most are small-scale with 10-20 colonies.  Average honey production is 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of honey per hive.  There are 25 beekeeping associations, 32 honey houses, and one exporting facility serving the state’s beekeeping community.  Sebrae has put on numerous seminars and trained 2,000 new beekeepers in the last year and a half. 


Sebrae, in cooperation with Brazil’s Promotion Export Association (APEX)7, has also publishes information that seeks to help beekeepers market their honey.  Much of it looks like something that the National Honey Board might distribute.  A slick brochure contains information on honey for export from Rio Grande do Norte state, including that produced by Mel Brasil Tropical, 8 Flora do Nordeste, Mel da Serra Beekeeping Association, Apiário Brasil Flora, Mel de Sertão, Mel do Cabugi and Mel Brasileiro.  It concludes: “Rio Grande do Norte aims to reach international markets, offering pure, tasteful, organic honey, produced with state-of-the-art technology.”




In the same packet of information mentioned above published by Sebrae another kind of honey is offered.  This is the sweet from the Meliponário Santa Felicidade called mel de jandaíra.  It brings into the focus the other kind of beekeeping in Brazil, which uses native, stingless bees (abelhas sem ferrão) in either the family Trigona or Melipona.  Sebrae will be supporting this kind of activity in the near future as well.


The keeping of Brazil’s native stingless bees has become a focus of Dr. Warwick Kerr’s work in recent years.  Another pioneer in the area is Dr. Paulo Nogueira Neto, who has extensively experimented with making appropriate nesting boxes.  Honey from these insects is quite different than that produced by Apis bees, has a local reputation for health benefits, and because the bees make very little, is much more expensive.


This activity has spawned enough interest such that the Natal congress also was co-named the first to be dedicated to meliponiculture.  Both Drs. Kerr and Nogueira Neto presented information on this activity, the former with relation to Amazonian Indians culturing native bees, and the latter concerning regulation of the activity to conserve the resource.  A local stingless beekeeper, P.R. De Menezes, provided a description of the activity in Rio Grande do Norte state.  In a recent census, some 86 stingless beekeepers were counted, managing 4,446 colonies.  The vast majority (86%) were keeping the bee called jandaíra (Melipona subnitida), but a sprinkling of several other species are also kept, including Scaptotrigona sp. and Melipona scutellaris (uruçú).


Jandaíra is the true native bee of the sertão.  However, little is known about its biology and the practice of going into the bush and harvesting its nests could cause this resource to precipitously decline.  Several studies are now ongoing, therefore, to ensure that the culture of this bee can be a sustainable activity.  An important one is found on the World Wide Web.9  Its goals are:


a) Educate local youth - For each child a tree. Explain the importance of bees for the environment and for people. See the children's booklet about the Jandaíra;

b) Plant catingueiras, imburanas, jacarés, faveleiras, umbuzeiros, juazeiros and baraúnas - studying the best reforesting method;

c) In each property, preserve natural areas which possess a certain number of these trees. These are genetic banks for biodiversity;

d) Emphasize creation of Ecological Stations and other conservation units in the "caatinga";

e) Emphasize more sustainable development projects, with environment preservation as a main objective.


According to the site, “This study is part of the project ‘Culture of Caatinga native bees as a developmental sustainable activity’ done by ADEMASP - Environmental Defense Association of São Paulo, Ecology Department of the University of São Paulo, and the Federal University of Paraíba. It is financed by the PPP, (Program for Small Projects) of the GEF - Global Environmental Facilities.”


In conclusion, the keeping of both honey bees and stingless bees in Brazil appears to have a bright future.  This is especially true given that governmental assistance at many levels is available.  Of special significance are the efforts of the governmental agency known as Sebrae, which through its “Projeto Apis” seeks to develop and ensure that both activities are integrated into the economy and sustainable throughout Brazil. 


References:  14 is equal to reference 1 in this  section:


14.  Gonçalves, L.S.  “Expansion of Brazilian Apiculture and its Relationship to International Beekeeping,” Proceedings of the 15th Brazilian Apicultural Congress.

15.  Crystal Honey International Web Site, accessed August 25, 2004 <http://www.cristalhoney.com.br>

16.  Serviço Brasileiro de Apoio às Micro e Pequenas Empresas Web Site, accessed August 25, 2004<http://www.sebrae.com.br/br/osebrae/osebrae.asp>.

17.  Rio Grande do Norte SEBRAE Web Page, accessed August 25, 2004<http://www.rn.sebrae.com.br/>.

18.  Diario de Natal, Sunday 23 May 2004, p.5.

19.  All About Brazil Web Page, accessed August 25, 2004 <http://www.brazilbrazil.com/lampiao.html>.

20.  Brazil Promotion Export Association Home Page, accessed August 25, 2004 <http://www.apexbrasil.com.br/madeinbrazil/eng/mel/index.htm>.

21.  Mel Brasil Tropical Home Page, accessed August 25, 2004 <http://www.melbrasiltropical.com.br>.

22.  The culture of the jandaira bee (Melipona subnitida) Web Site, accessed August 25, 2004 <http://www.ib.usp.br/jandaira/ingles/adema.htm>.



Beekeeping in Brazil:  A Slumbering Giant Awakens, Part IV.




Malcolm T. Sanford



I described in an earlier article in this series that through the efforts of Sebrae and other organizations, much of Brazil’s beekeeping energy is and will be concentrated in small- to mid-sized beekeeping outfits.  However, that’s not to say that some larger firms do not have their eye set on the country’s significant apicultural possibilities.  A quick scan of the exposition area at the 15th Brazilian Apicultural Congress in Natal revealed that large honey producers/exporters/packers, innovative product developers, and a bevy of apicultural associations were in attendance. 


Cearapi and Organic Honey:


As an example of the former category, I was privileged to travel to Mossoró with Dr. Marco Bosia who is a co-owner/operator of Cearapi: Brazilian Organic Honey, which had a major presence in the exposition area in Natal.  Dr. Bosia brings a formidable repertoire of beekeeping experience to Brazil.  As President of a prominent Swiss beekeeping association, he was one of the principal organizers of the world apicultural congress (Apimondia) held in Lausanne in 1997.  It was at that meeting that Dr. Bosia began his close association with Brazilian beekeeping.  He presented a talk on European organic honey at the 12th Brazilian Apicultural Congress in Bahia (1999).


The headquarters of Cearapi are in Crato in southern Ceará in a conservation zone (Area de Protecão Ambiental Chapada de Araripe).  According to Cearapi’s web site, “In the Araripe Plateau, 3300 ft. above sea level, bees find a rich native vegetation of wildflowers, especially cipó-uva, Serjania [soapberry], which covers a large part of the plateau and flowers profusely from September to November. The result is a light, mellow, savory honey, with low water content, that consumers greatly enjoy.  In the hinterlands, we have the caatinga [scrubland] vegetation of wild bushes that begin to blossom in January. As this coincides with the onset of the rainy season, the beehives are ready to produce very aromatic and pleasant tasting honeys.”1

Cearapi is bringing high technology to Brazilian organic honey production.  The outfit confines itself to bee blowers, using no chemicals for bee removal, and has a mobile acclimatized extracting unit with stainless steel uncappers and extractors.  Combs are removed and immediately extracted right in field and in compliance with current HACCP regulations.  The resulting honey is processed without filtering, pasteurizing or heating to prevent enzymatic denaturing and formation of hydroxymethylfurfural (HFM).  Cearapi also has an extensive quality control laboratory.  It has an agreement with a local university that enables the company to analyze the physical/chemical, microbiological, and palynological (pollen analysis) characteristics of each honey lot produced by its cooperators.

Cearapi´s apiaries and those of its associated beekeepers are located using Geographic Positioning Systems (GPS).  Each is periodically visited by technicians and monitored by satellite photographs, thus minimizing risk of contamination.  This is a formidable task.  Some 180 beekeepers manage 30,000 colonies for Cearapi in the states of Ceará, Piauí, Bahia, Pernambuco, Maranhão, Alagoas, Rio Grande do Norte and Paraíba.

In July 2001, Cearapi obtained organic certification from Biodynamics Intitute (IBD), accredited by the International Federation of Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), and from ISO 65 by DAP/Germany.  The Company was represented at BioFach 2002, one of the world’s prominent organic food conventions.2  Although growing rapidly, the organic movement still has a long way to go in its promotional activities and there were several constraints listed at the conference affecting most of organic agriculture:  There are no official statistics collected; the certifying firms do not share information (there are many of them with differing restrictions), and it is an expensive process such that only large firms can take advantage of the “organic” designation.  Finally, Brazilian packaging regulations do not allow the term “organic” to appear on domestic product. 

In spite of these limitations, organic honey production in Brazil has a bright future, especially in an export market directed toward the world’s largest honey consuming nations.  These and other ideas concerning organic honey are spreading rapidly throughout Brazilian beekeeping circles and Cearapi’s leadership in this arena will certainly be an important part of any future successes.

Innovative Bee Products:

Brazil is also a leader in many other bee products besides honey.  One of many examples of firms involved in this activity is Prodapys, Productos Naturais (Apis Nativa).  Located in Santa Catarina in southern Brazil, Prodapys began in 1980 under the name Apiários Abelhinha, with 500 colonies.  Since then it has become a leader in the honey and bee product industry under the leadership of Célio H.M. Da Silva. 

The Prodapys website3 states, “ Célio went to Cuba a few times, where he learned about research being done there and he befriended scientists in the field, which resulted in building a bridge for the exchange of information and also to sponsor researchers to come to Brazil to give courses.  He participated in courses and congresses in Argentina, Switzerland, Israel, China and Slovenia. He translated and published in Brazil, with the author's permission, the scientist Dr. Shi Bolun, a book brought from Peking about the therapeutic uses of the royal jelly, honey and pollen. The book first became available in 1994 in Goiás, during the X Brazilian Congress of Beekeeping.

“In 1996, the company financed an unpublished scientific research on the effect of propolis as a bronchodilator, analgesic and anxiolytic.  The research was done by Prof. Niraldo Paulino, as a parallel theme to his masters degree thesis at the Department of Pharmacology at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC).  That research was the grounds for registering the company's products with the Ministry of Health.”  That same year, a propolis spray was introduced, using a proprietary method to achieve water solubility for this normally alcohol dissolved product.  Finally, in1997 a laboratory was designed and built, and in the following year, one of the most modern laboratories for bee products began operation in Brazil.

At present over forty products are found in several lines developed by Prodapys, including those to protect hair, body and face.  A series of sun block formulas, according to the website, provide “the most modern UVA/UVB sun block with the protection of propolis.  Propolis helps to quickly heal micro wounds, which appear after long exposure to sunrays, bringing about the immediate recovering of skin.  It also acts as a powerful natural sun block.  The humidity touch and high water resistance are characteristics of PRODAPYS Sun Protection Line.  They provide a long lasting protection.”

Perhaps the most innovative products are those in the “therapy” lines.  There are two of these, classified as 1) supplements and 2) therapeutics.  In the former can be found honey in various packs, including a uniquely-shaped Brazilian honey bear.  In the latter are listed pollen and freeze-dried royal jelly.  Several others are based on what is called “apitoxin,” including Doctor Bee Cream (for psoriasis and rheumatism), Doctor Proplis (anti tumor and cell regenerative) and Reumatoxi (analgesic).  According to the Prodapys Website, “Apitoxin consists of a purified poison extracted from bees of the Apis mellifera type that has been used by popular medicine for the treatment of joint diseases, specially rheumatoid arthritis.”


Lest much of this be dismissed too easily by skeptics, the Web Site lists a good many scientific papers that have been published under the auspices of Prodapys.  One thing to bear in mind is that Brazilian propolis is considered different in many ways than that found elsewhere in the world.  Some consider it more therapeutic.  This appears to be in the same way manuka honey is characterized.  Only some of the sweet called “manuka” is considered “active.”4


Beekeeping Associations:


With reference to associations, there are many in Brazil, but one clearly stands out.  It is the Asociação Paulista de Apicultores Criadores de Abelhas Melíficas Européias – São Paulo Association of beekeepers who breed European bees (APACAME).  This association has served Brazilian apiculture since 1979 with its motto: “We are not rich, we are organized.”  Its main outreach is something that most who are publishing in the beekeeping field would envy, a magazine called “Sweet Message” (Mesagem Doce).  Five thousand copies of this thirty-page slick, colorful journal is published six times a year.  The May 2004 edition contains an editorial stating the case that it is a special year, the celebration of the Association’s 25th anniversary.  That issue also has a series of articles about the Natal Congress. 

A brief history of the Association was published in the November 2004 issue of Mesagem Doce.  Declared a non-profit organization at its inception, APACAME consists of an administrative directorate (two-year term), fiscal council (two-year term) and a general assembly.  It incorporates a number of internal committees, each charged with a certain topic or area.  These include managing a wide variety of activities such as the Association’s physical presence (located in a historic building, the Prédio Caza do Fazendeira in the city’s Parque da Água Branca), bee school, film and slide collection, library and website.  Other areas include purchasing honey for sale and sponsoring trips for beekeepers to other countries in conjunction with events such as Apimondia.  The November issue also contains articles on world honey prices, growth of beekeeping in Tocantins state (with the help of Sebrae – see previous articles), and the origin and evolution, social organization and communication system of the honey bee as translated from the French (September 2000 L’Abeille de France et L’Apiculteur). 

The magazine also connects with APACAME’s web presence and back issues are listed on the website as well.  The Association’s home page describes a variety of Brazilian informational resources.5  These include a series on the biology of bees, and extensive lists of affiliated universities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and associations involved in honey bee research, education and management. 


In this series of articles, my objective was that readers get an up-to-date apicultural perspective in the world’s fifth largest country by land mass.  The history of Brazilian beekeeping is like its samba music and Portuguese language, unique to Latin America.  Although it didn’t turn out perhaps the way Dr. Warwick Kerr first envisioned, the results of his grand experiment bore fruit and can no longer be denied.  The purposeful introduction of the African honey bee into this vast country has transformed beekeeping first in Brazil, and then in much of tropical America, from a backwater endeavor into an enterprise of truly global proportions.    The research of Brazil’s scientific community and the unbridled optimism of its beekeeping entrepreneurs, coupled with an almost infinite vegetative resource populated by productive Africanized honey bees leaves no doubt that this giant sleeps no more.


This series of articles would not have been possible without the help of a great number of people.  I cannot mention them all here, but give special thanks to Drs. Lionel Gonçalves and Ademilson Espencer Soares from the University of São Paulo Campus at Ribeirão Preto for their assistance in many ways, and especially Dr. David de Jong, who reviewed these articles before they appeared in print.  In addition, thanks to Sebrae for sponsoring my trip to Brazil, and Valemar Belchior Filho and Armando Ferreira of the Sebrae office in Mossoró, who provided me with a great many insights into Northeast Brazil’s beekeeping.  Finally, I am grateful to all those Brazilian beekeepers who have unfailingly welcomed me with open arms to their past congresses in Teresina, Florianópolis and now Natal. 


References: reference 23 equals 1 in this section:


23.  Cearapi Web Page<http://www.cearapi.com.br>, accessed December 20, 2004

24.  Biofach Web Page <http://www.biofach.com.de>, accessed December 20, 2004.

25.  Prodapys Web Page <http://www.prodapys.com/br>, accessed December 24, 2004.

26.  Manuka Web Page<http://www.manukahoney.com.uk>, accessed December 24, 2004.

27.  APACAME Web Page<http://www.apacame.org/br>, accessed December 24, 2004.