Mel Vilarinho

Country: Portugal

The existence of beekeeping in my life dates back to my father’s time. He started by having the swarms in the tenements and in 1980 he started to have some swarms already in wooden boxes. In 1986, he lost all the swarms he had in the tenements and most of the hives he already had. That was when the mite called varroa (Varroa destructor) appeared and that was the cause of death of the swarms, but at that time there was not much knowledge about the subject. Five hives survived in 1986, that’s when my father told me to take care of them because he was discouraged by the losses he had. He gave me the materials he had, but he continued to collaborate with me because I was only 16 years old. From then onwards I have always been growing and I currently have more than 700 hives spread over several municipalities in the district of Bragança, producing 4 varieties of honey (rosemary, multifloral, chestnut and heather), depending on the zones and flora in the places where the apiaries are installed. I emphasize that rosemary honey has already received a silver medal. Given my passion for beekeeping, which comes from a young age, I have updated the management of hives, due to continuous learning over time, attending training and exchanging ideas with Portuguese and foreign beekeepers who have passed through our county. So I managed to have a greater diversity of products (honey, pollen, propolis, honeycomb, etc.) and sustainable beekeeping. I have even collaborated with fruit growers to pollinate their orchards (almond, cherry, peach, pear, chestnut). In 2013 I made the option to change the mode of production of my farm from conventional honey to organic honey, which has the proper certificates and laboratory analyses. I also have to indicate that in 2020 I competed with chestnut honey in the National Honey Contest and received a bronze medal. This year I have sent my products again and we are awaiting the result that should be announced at the end of March or April.

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