3 minute read

Zoom in on Jordan

Size

97 740 km² (37 736 square miles).

Location

Jordan is in the Middle East, bordered by Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq and Israel. The land on the West Bank of the river Jordan is occupied by Israel. The Dead Sea depression, 400 below sea level is the lowest point on earth. The east of the country is mainly desert, but high plateau extends from the northern border with Syria towards the south. The capital of Jordan, Amman is at 800 m. 

Population

942 000. It is estimated that 1000 families practise beekeeping.

GNP

$2165 per capita. Agriculture accounts for 8% of the GNP. 

Main agriculture

The loss of the West Bank after the 1967 Middle East War deprived Jordan of 80% of its fruit-growing area. Citrus, other fruit, vegetables, olive oil and wheat are the main crops in the remaining East Bank.

Honey bees

Apis mellifera syriaca is the native honey bee. Italian queens are imported.

Beekeeping

1987 figures: 49 000 hives (41 000 traditional, 8000 frame hives). Most beekeeping is in the Irbid and Amman districts.

Hives

Traditional beekeeping is practised in hollow clay cylinders made from mud and straw known as ‘baladi’, approximately 1 m x 0.3 and usually cemented together in groups of 50 or so. Another type of traditional hive is made from woven bamboo. 

Melliferous vegetation

Citrus spp, Echinops spp, Thymus vulgaris. The wild flora is rich and varied, and provides an important source of dark-coloured, sweet honey. 

Honey yield per colony

In frame hives, average yields are around 4 kg per colony per year, but can be up to 20 kg. A typical yield from traditional hive is 2 kg per colony per year.

Total honey yield

120 tonnes (1988)

Honey imported

491 tonnes (1990).

Beekeeping department

Animal Production and Health Department, Ministry of Agriculture, Amman.

Equipment

Most equipment for frame hive beekeeping is imported from Syria or Europe.

Projects

GTZ project on beekeeping (1990, 1991) In June 1990 Queen Noor Al Hussein laid the foundation stone of building for a bee breeding and honey production project. The project is carried out by the Noor Al Hussein Foundation. 

Beekeeping association

Jordanian Beekeepers’ Association, Amman.

Honey bee diseases

American foulbrood, European foulbrood, sacbrood, Braula sp., Nosema apis, Varroa jacobsoni. 

Honey bee pests

Vespa orientalis, Galleria mellonella. There is no regulation of pesticide use in Jordan, and poisoning of bees by pesticides remains a very serious problem for beekeepers.

Further reading

ROBINSON,  W S (1981) Beekeeping in Jordan. Bee World 62: 91-97.

MILEA. O. (1987) Beekeeping in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. XXXI Apimondia Proceedings (1987) 509-512.