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555,000 km² 


16 million


The Republic of Yemen is in the south-west corner of the Arabian Peninsula.



Main agriculture

Cereals: barley, maize, millet, sorghum and wheat

Fruits: banana, date, grape, oranges and papaya

Vegetables: cucurbits, onion, potato and tomato

Cash crops: coffee and cotton.


The honeybee Apis mellifera is found everywhere in Yemen. In isolated hills Ad wadis it is still possible to find the Indigenous, pure race of Yemeni honeybee Apis mellifera jemenitica.


Beekeeping has been known in Yemen since ancient times. In 10 BC the production of honey ranked fourth in the economy of the country.

Yemen has diversity of honey plants spread all over the country. Their flowering period varies significantly from one area to area. This has resulted in the increase of migratory beekeeping across Yemen.

Data shows that the number of honeybee colonies has increased by three times in the last ten years to about 284,000 colonies.


Most of the hives in Yemen are traditional types: box hives, log hives, pipe hives and skeps. In the last 15 years many beekeepers have tried top-bar hives and frame hives (Langstroth) and adopted apicultural techniques that are new to Yemen. 

Melliferous vegetation

There are more than 1000 species of bee plants in Yemen, 705 of these grow wild. These can be sub-divided into herbs, dwarf shrubs, shrubs, and trees that provide nectar and pollen for foraging bees. The most important honey sources are: Acacia sp, Euphorbia sp and Ziziphus sp. Many of the major Yemeni food crops provide useful pollen and/or nectar for bees. These include coffee, dates, maize, oranges, sesame and sorghum.


Honey production is about 1700 tonnes annually. 17.2% of this is exported. 

Honey price: Yemeni honey is considered one of the most famous and expensive honeys in the world. One kilogram of “siddr” (Ziziphus spinachristi) honey sells for US$50. Other types of Yemeni honey are sold for US$20-25 per kilogram. 

Honeybee diseases, pests and predators

The Varroa mite is causing problems for beekeepers in Yemen. It has been spread by migratory beekeeping and is difficult to control in traditional hives. Nosema disease is widespread in some places. Other pests and predators include ants, wasps and wax moth.


Pesticides are great threat to honeybees in Yemen. The mortality of bees can reach mean of 48% when fields are sprayed during the flowering period.


Research activities on beekeeping are carried out in universities. Research includes studies of honeybee biology, honey production, honeybee diseases and pests and their control.

Training and extension

The Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation is responsible for training in, and extension of beekeeping. Short and long-term training courses are conducted in the Faculty of Agriculture in the University of Aden. The Agricultural Training Center also holds short courses on apicuiture.

We are grateful to Dr Mohammed Khanbash from the University of Aden for providing this information.

“Siddr” tree (Ziziphus spinachristi) yields one of the most expensive honeys in the world