Bees for Development Journal Edition 4 - July 1983

Page 1

Information Sheets on

Tropical Apiculture published by International Bee Research Association, Hill House, Gerrards Cross, Bucks SL9 ONR, England




Newsletter 4 comes to you from a new Information Gfficer for Tropical In May I took over the post from Apiculture at IBRA, Dr. Nicola Bradbear. Margaret Nixon, who, after three years here, has decided to leave IDA and devote more time to practical beekeeping. Margaret sends her best wishes to all her correspondents, and I hope to continue the work she initiated. The post of Information Officer for Tropical Apiculture (I0TA) at IBRA is funded by the Overseas Development Administration, UK, in recognition of the need of developing countries for technical and scientific information to help their beekeeping. If you have any problem connected with your beekceping, and the information you need is not available locally, write to me, making

your question as specific and clear as possible, and I will do my best to send the information you require, or tell you where to obtain it.

At IBRA, we are always pleased to hear of any beekeeping ventures, and if you have an item of news which you think would be of interest to others, or are planning a new course or conference, send the details to me for possible inclusion in the Newsletter. NEW



The impact of pest management on bees and


including extensive tables and bibliography. this report is being circulated to all institutes which received the Bibliography of Tropical Apiculture, and to selected individuals. It is also available direct from IBRA, price 15.00 or US$27.00, post paid. 232 pages,


copy of


was commissioned by the Tropical Research and Development and Institute, London, prepared at IBRA by Dr. Eva Crane and Penelope Walker. It highlights a dilemma which is world-wide, but which is particularly acute in developing countries: pest control measures can greatly increase crop new


yields, but without proper precautions they on which many crops are dependent.

Until now, there has effects of pesticide use



the pollinating insects

been a shortage of unbiased information on the on bees and bee-pollinated crops in developing

fill this gap. They discuss the ‘pollination by bees (and other insects) of important crops grown in the tropics and subtropics, and assess the damage caused to bees by pesticides Tables group the pesticides into four Use-classes, according commonly used. to their relative safety or toxicity to bees. Measures that could greatly reduce the killing of bees are explained, and relevant progress in integrated pest management is summarized.


and the authors attempt to


final section of the report presents recommendations for action at The situation could and global levels to improve the situation. improved greatly by a programme designed to spread existing knowledge of The

national be

the dangers, and of ways in which they can be reduced without damaging crop This task should therefore be given the highest priority.


useful Annexes: an extensive annotated bibliography of pollination crops grown in the tropics and subtropics, and a of laws and regulations (world-wide) to protect bees from bibliography pesticide poisoning, The report has two

on bee

regulations (world--w:ide) to protect bees fre m pesticide It covers poisoning are listed in a new TBRA Bibliography (No. 29). 51 countries, giving details of their legislation, etc., if any, relating to the prevention of bee poisoning. It will be of special value in countries Price 4,00 or considering introducing legislation with this purpose. US$7.60, post paid (50% discount to IBRA members). Laws ind


other IBRA bibliographies covering standards and legislation are No. 19 "Honey standards, laws and regulations (world-wide)", in published 1977, and No. 24 "World-wide standards for hive products except for and honey equipment used in beekeeping and in processing hive products" costs 3.00 or US$5.70 post paid (50% discount to IBRA members). Bach (1979.) Two


of beekeeping journals, annual reports, and other serials Obtainable from IBRA, price 11 or received currently by IBRA (120, 1983) of all current beekeeping list details this provides US#20.00, post paid, and bee research journals known to IBRA. It also gives information on other serial publications currently received by IBRA, and thus serves as a current serials catalogue of the IBRA library. World list






texts teacning peekeeping simple, weil hav just been published, about beekeeping in tropical Africa (Botswana), and in the Arabian peninsula (Oman): Two DOOKS,

DOtN with


A Beekeeping Handbook by B. Clauss, published by the Agricultural Information Service, Gaborone, Botswana, 2nd edition, 1982, 65 pp. This simple Obtainable from IBRA price 7.00 or US#15.00, post paid. the of Bernhard book describes experiences Clauss, beekeeping in teaching Botswana with A. m. adansonii in Tanzanian top-bar hives. The author a of a how he and started successful explains group schoolboys beekeeping Full instructions are given, project, on a small, home-based scale. starting with a simple description of how to make a top—bar hive, how to catch a swarm and handle bees, and continuing to describe bee management, honey harvesting and some common beekeeping pests (which include humans!




As well as the easy-to-read English

photographs, and

text, the handbook has many explanathese together provide an excellent and encouraging

guide to beekeeping techniques.

Honeybees in Oman, produced by the Office of the Adviser for Conserva~ tion of the Environment, Diwan of H.i!, for Protocol, Muscat. Text by RW. Obtainable from IBRA, Dutton, A.M. Mjeni and R.P. Whitcombe, 19382, 38 pp. in either language, price 4.10 or US#8.00, post paid. 5e


This colourful book starts by describing in simple terms the life Traditional and modern methods of cycles of A. mellirera and A. florea. but of particular interest is the A. are managing illustrated, mellifera skillful of methods used by Omanis to manage and illustration description A. florea. The bees cannot be kept in any sort of hive, but instead, the single comb on which they live is supported in a split date palm stalk and the Omani beekeepers are able to remove honeycomb without causing damage to brood.

This book is mainly about beekeeping, but it has an ecological approach, discussing the benefit of bees for cultivating crops, and the danger of harm Bach page portrays some aspect of beebeing caused to bees by pesticides. The book is published in keeping, with a small amount of explanatory text. separate English and Arabic versions, and with its attractive layout, provides a clear and simple introduction to bees and beekeeping. AN




Bee World No. 1, 1983, contains an interesting article by M. Winston, Taylor and G. Otis of the University of Guelph, Canada, who describe, and suggest explanations for, the variations in behaviour shown by European, African and "Africanized" honeybees. O.


There are no honeybees which are native to either North or South America. In North America the honeybees wnich are now present are of European origin, and these are suited to the temperate climate there: like honeybees in Hurope, they can be well managed, and swarm only during one season each year. However, Huropean bees introduced to the tropical areas of America have not been so successful. In 1955 some honeybees from South Africa were therefore’ taken to Brazil; the idea was to try crossing these bees with some European bees which were already there to get more productive hybrids. This experiment had an unintended sequel: 26 queens of the African bees escaped, and they certainly proved to be well suited to the tropical climate; from these few queens have descended the estimated 10 million colonies of "Africanized" bees now present in South America and parts of Central America. These "Africanized" honeybees still share the characteristics of . African honeybees, being difficult to manage because of their "bad temper" and their &reat tendency to swarm and abscond.

Other differences between temperate~liyropean and tropical-African and Africanized honeybees are that honeybees which evolved in temperate climates tend to build iarger nests, about twice the size of those of tropical bees, and store much more honey. The temperate-—luuropean worker bees themselves are also larger, take longer to develop, and live longer than honeybees evolved in a tropical climate. The article suggests ways in which different races of honeybees are Suited to the environments in which they live. For example, it is necessary for bees living in a temperate climate to behave in a way that will ensure the Survival of the colony throughout the winter. The temperature of the clustering bees must be maintained through winter, and this requires energy obtained from honey stores. Honeybees which live in temperate climates have therefore. evolved the habit of living in relatively large colonies, capable of building up the necessary honey stores. Such bees also tend to nest inside a fairly In contrast, colonies of large cavity, giving them protection from the cold. tropical bees do not require larse honey stores and can therefore afford to live in relatively small cavities, with less stored honey. The species Apis dorsata and Apis florea do not even live inside a cavity, but nest in the open.

4. two methods by which bees can survive to last until supplies are again food a poor season; either they can hoard available. available, or they can migrate tc another area where food is

The authors draw

attention to the


is the only means of Also a swarm of bees living in a. temperate climate can survive only if it leaves the hive early in the active season when there will be sufficient time to build up adequate honey stores to survive the next winter. Tropical bees do not face this constraint, and in some places can swarm throughout the year. For bees

living in

a temperate area, hoarding

survival; migrating is impossible in winter.

greater tendency to sting shown by African and Africanized bees may larger number of honeybee predators present in the African in other zones. than tropics Frequent swarming and small colony size may also help to offset the harmful effect of predators. The

be due to the

The shorter development time of African and Africanized worker bees corresponds with the need for a rapid colony development and high swarming rate, whereas a longer life allows European workers to survive the winter, and not to use too much energy on brood development. ,


can be understood why European bees have been difficult to establish in many tropical areas. Unfortunately, characteristics which have evolved to ensure the survival of the honeybee are not From such arguments

always advantageous for the beexeeper.

Some differences between temperate European and tropical African and South American Honeybees. M.L. Winston, O.R. Taylor and G.W. Otis. Bee World 64, 1, pp 12-21, 1983.




of the Varroa mite amongst colonies of A. mellifera the last six during years has been a major cavse for concern amongst bee~ The mite has been spread through such of the world by the introduckeepers. Both larval and adult honeytion of infested bees into disease-free areas. While A. bees can be infested by this parasitic nite, Varroa jacobsoni the well in the of cerana can survive mite, colonics of A. mellifera presence The mite is about 1 mm long are ultimately weakened if infested by Varroa. and 1.5 mm wide, and reddish brown in colour; it can be seen with the naked eye on adult bees and on larvae in unsealed cells. The rapid spread

Another mite which parasitizes A. mellifera and A. dorsata honeybees in a Similar way is Tropilaelaps clareae. As with Varroa, the female mite lays her eggs on a larva, and the mites develop and grow by feeding on the body of the larva. At present, @.clareae is known only in South-East Asia and the Philippines, but many scientists believe that it could become as serious a Other species of honeybee mites are now being pest of honeybees as Varroa. To prevent the accidental spread of these harmful mites it is identified. important that as much as possible is known about their distribution. CAN YOU HiSLP?

Dr. Mercedes Delfinado-Baker is compiling a world survey of mites associated with bees and needs samples of hees suspected of being infested. It is very important that you post the bees to her so that they are fit to be examined upon arrival. Instructions on how to pack the bees, and the information which you should send with them, are listed in Newsletter No. 3, and in Bee World 63, No.4, page 178.


Dr. Delfinado~Baker's address is ioenvirommental Bee Laboratory, Bldg. 476, BARC~East, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA. ;:

Margaret Nixon asks me to tell you that since she published the preliminary world maps of honeybee diseases and parasites in Bee World 63, No. I, Sne has now 1962, she received many new records and amendments from readers. published these reports, together with two new mans of V. jacobseni and qT. clareae in Bee World 64, No. 3, 1983.

stimulus for this survey of honeybee diseases and parasites of the enquiries sent to IBPA requested information about the disease position world-wide. The country concerned was about to cormence but wished te importing honey, prevent any possibility of disease being spread to their own heekeening industry. While trying to find an answer to their found Nixon that information about the distribution of bee enquiry, Margaret diseases throughout the world had not been brought together. The



when one

A detailed distribution map for India by Dr. K.N. Kshirsagar has already been published (Bee World 63, No. 4, 162-164, 1962 » We very much hope that

individuals in other countries will produce similar detailed distribution for their own countries, and send them to IBRA.


Please continue to send reports of honeybee diseases and parasites to Information Officer for Tropital Apiculture, Dr. Nicola Bradbear, who is continuing with the monitoring of bee diseases, and will publish updated maps as new information becomes available. the



familiar sight to

readers mist be that of a brightly coloured and blue green bird, perching in an uoright position on an exposed branch, and then meking a sudden and rapid flight to catch insects before returning to its lookout branch. such birds sre of course “xnown as Bee-eaters, but a recent article by Dr. C.H. Fry, a world authority on Gee-eaters, points out thet although these birds do eat bees, they also eat vast numbers of other insects, some of which are pests harmful to bees, such as insect beewolves (Philantims spp.) and hornets (Vespa spp.) and so they can actually benefit peckeepers. A



Birds of the Boe-eater family are highly distinctive, and their nearest "bird relatives" are the kingfishers. There arc 21 species of bee-eaters, five of which are particularly weil ‘mown and heve traditionally been regarded as pests by beekeepers. These are the Duropean Bee-eater, the Bluc-cheeked the Blue-tailed Bee-eater and the Little Green Bee-eater, which Bee-eater, are found in Europe, Africa or Asia, and the Rainbowbird, which is found in


Airborne insects form the major pert of all bee-eater diets, however not all of the insect's body is digestible, and several times each day the bee-eater has to regurgitate a pellet containing the indigestible xemains. By analysing pellets collected from underneath the roosts and lcok-out perches of bee-eaters, the scientist can identify what the bird has been feeding on. As Dr. Fry points out, it is unnecessary and highly undesirable to kill birds for the purpose of research into their diet. For exauple, using this method it has been shown that one African snecies of bee~eater feeds mainly on flying






small, tropical, species of bee~eaters spend their whole lives in a single area, and establish their own territory there. They like to live near a good water supply, and where there are suitable nesting sites, but there is no evidence that a territory is chosen especially to be ncar a bees! nest, Other species of bee-eater are migratory and will feed wherever there is an Flocks of the European Bee-eater and of Rainbowbirds have been opportunity. known to stop at apiaries on their migration, and it is these migrating birds which tend to be notic.u by beekeepers. Some

The beneficial effect of bee-eatcrs is due to the mumber of bee predators For exauiple, a study in Kazakhwhich they take in addition to Apis species. stan (USSR) has shown that the presence of bee-eaters is advantageous to apiculture and .riculture because of the number of hornets which they eat. Another study hag shown that when migratory birds do fced at apiaries in the autumn, they tend to take older bees which have a higher winter death rate than younger bees. Bees themselves take effective action by remaining in the hive when a flock of bee-eaters arrives, and since the birds are migrating, they will soon be moving out of the area.

In other studies bee-eaters have been found valuable because they eat large numbers of locusts, and also insect pests on unharvested cotton; they are probably similarly involved in many agricultural interests. So if you have bee-caters visiting your apiary, do not harm them, because the evidence shows that these birds are beneficial for agriculture and even for bees. Observing their beauty and admiring their agility is, of course,

highly beneficial for

humans as


Honeybee predation by Bee-eaters, Bee World, 64, No. 2, 65-76.

with economic considcrations.




29th intcrnat ronal

bHeekeeping Vongress

Budapest, Hungary, 25-31 August 1983

on Apiculture in Tropical Climates. Nairobi, from The Conference Secretariat, Ministry of Information 184. Livestock Development, Beekeeping Section, P.O. Box 68228, Kenya, or from IB:A.

Third International Conference 5-9 November

Proposed Conference on Beekeeping in Asia

A conference is being planned for early 1984 at Bindunawewa, Sri Lanka. The aim is to promote beekeeping and the apicultural industry in Asia. It will be attended by scientists, beekeepers, educators and administrators. Funds may be available to help a limited number of delegates frem countries in Asia. For further information write to: Dr. Peter G. Kevan, Department of Environmental Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada NIG 2wWl. DO WE HAVE YOUR CORRECT


If your address has changed please let me know. you are receiving more than one newsletter, or if involves bees or apiculture, please inform me, as best possible use is made of the funds available

Also, if for

some reason

your work no longer we are concerned that the to us.

Nicola Bradbear Information Officer for Tropical Apiculture