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Beekeeping

Image by Bianca Ackermann

Coordinator : Prof. Giulio Pagnacco


Members :

Fulvia Bovera, Maria Grazia Cappai, Alberto Cesarani, Roberta Ciampolini, Mariasilvia D'Andrea, Carlo Dascenzi, PierPaolo Danieli, Luca Fontanesi, Cinzia Marchitelli, Giuseppe Martino, Francesca Martuzzi, Silvana Mattiello, Giulietta Minozzi, Andrea Rosati, Colomba Lina Sermoneta, Rita Rizzi.

Goals:

To give order and scientific rigor to the many aspects that modern beekeeping offers to research today, from an animal husbandry point of view. We start from the genetic issues of selection and conservation of biodiversity, to continue with the recognition of the authenticity of the products, without forgetting the enormous problems linked to the pesticides and the presence of pathologies, parasites and alien species, because of globalization. Furthermore, the problems of commercial competition that Italian beekeepers suffer compared to foreign productions that are often characterized by low quality cannot be forgotten. All these aspects are considered in the shocking context of climate changes which every year increase the risk of the company's income

Activities 2022-2023

  • In the short year between the 24th Congress in Padua (September 2021) and the Palermo Conference (June 2022), the activities of the Beekeeping Commission focused on several topics. With the more direct commitment of a small group of the Commission (Mattiello, Sermoneta and Pagnacco) a questionnaire is going to be developed. The latter will be administered a to a large number of beekeepers. The idea emerged during the meeting in the presence of the Commission held in Padua. The questionnaire will be accessible online, probably on the same ASPA website, at the end of the beekeeping season in order to meet a greater availability of beekeepers. The development is in a fairly advanced state and has involved in-depth methodological reflections due to potential privacy problems.

  • As part of the ASPA initiatives, the Commission then presented three webinars on 3 March 2022 with the following titles: 

  • Selection, conservation and other tribulations of beekeeping (Giulio Pagnacco - UNIMI); 

  • Study of the variability of the alleles of the csd gene in Italian bees (Giulietta Minozzi – UNIMI); 

  • The analysis of environmental DNA present in honey to address some beekeeping challenges (Luca Fontanesi - UNIBO). 

The seminars were followed online by over one hundred of listeners.

  • Again based on an idea that emerged at the meeting in Padua, some members of the Commission (Ciampolini, D'Ascenzi and Pagnacco) tried to explore the possibility of accessing not individually, but as a Commission (or at least as a part of it) to regional funding to promote a common research activity in the beekeeping field. For this purpose, the IZS of Lazio and Tuscany in the person of Dr. Giovanni Formato was also contacted and involved, but at the moment without significant results.

  • As part of the ASPA initiatives, the Commission then presented three webinars on 13 April 2023 with the following titles:

  • Administrative source data on beekeeping to support traditional statistical surveys (Colomba Lina Sermoneta – ISTAT);

  • Pollen hygiene and technology (Carlo D’Ascenzi – UNIPI);

  • Selection to mitigate the effects of climate on bees (Giulio Pagnacco – UNIMI).

  • An operational group of the Commission formalized the questionnaire made up of different sections. First, 9 underlying problems affecting beekeepers were identified (Pathologies, Parasites, Predators, Reproduction and Selection, Climate Change, Environmental Degradation, Pesticides, Social Factors and Commercial Problems). For each of these a specific list has been developed to better understand the different problems and their seriousness. Possible initiatives to improve the situation in the sector were then indicated and for which the beekeeper's opinion was requested on whether to support them or not. Finally, an optimistic or pessimistic opinion was asked about the future of beekeeping. The questionnaire was sent to 118 local associations, therefore excluding those with national coverage, at the end of October 2022. The data collection was closed in January and the processing is underway. The contribution of Lina Sermoneta for linking company codes with the Beekeeping Database and for her expertise in managing privacy issues should be mentioned. Silvana Mattiello instead expertly implemented the questionnaire on a specific platform, monitoring and extracting the data collected. The participation was not oceanic, but almost 500 registered responses are currently being processed. The results of the investigation will be shown as soon as possible.

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