01 September 2020

Honey Bee – Wadi Thee Ghazal

Whilst birding the Wadi Thee Ghazal area I found some permanent water with many wild Honey Bees Apis mellifera jemenitica. Honey Bee has been used in apiculture throughout the Arabian Peninsula since at least 2000 BC. Existing literature demonstrates that these populations are well adapted for the harsh extremes of the region. Populations of A. m. jemenitica native to Saudi Arabia are far more heat tolerant than the standard races often imported from Europe. Central Saudi Arabia has the highest summer temperatures for the Arabian Peninsula, and it is in this region where only A. m. jemenitica survives, while other subspecies fail to persist. The indigenous race of Saudi Arabia differs from other subspecies in the region in some morphological, biological, and behavioral characteristics. Further taxonomic investigation, as well as molecular studies, is needed in order to confirm whether the Saudi indigenous bee populations represent a race distinct from A. m. jemenitica, or merely an ecotype of this subspecies.
Honey Bee