Nikolaus Koeniger, Gudrun Koeniger and Salim Tingek. Foreword by Nicola Bradbear
2010 262 pages Hardback K905
Many aspects of our knowledge of honey bees are clearly explained and perfectly illustrated in this important new book. In Africa, the Middle East and Europe there is one indigenous honey bee species: Apis mellifera. This bee has been introduced to most other countries and has been researched extensively. Borneo is home to five of the eight other honey bee species and offers unparalleled opportunity for their close observation and comparison. Within these species, there are dramatic variations in behaviour – some nest on a series of parallel combs within a cavity, while (so-called) dwarf or giant honey bees nest on single combs in the open. The five species co-existing in Borneo include representatives of each type. The authors have been studying these bees for more than 20 years, thus gaining a unique insight of the species’ diversity, their evolutionary history, and their astonishing adaptation to fit with their environments. The authors’ many research discoveries have been presented in research papers over the years, but now are gathered and presented here with a simple clarity that will enable readers to gain a wide and well focussed perspective of honey bee behaviour and ecology. Also included is a simple key, useful for anyone seeking to confirm the identity of Asian honey bees.
Honey gathering from Borneo’s bees is also described, with an urgent plea for their recognition and protection. Local authorities need to be aware that they are the custodians of precious resources, and need to do all they can to ensure the bees’ protection from forest destruction, non-sustainable exploitation, and introduction of exotic pests and predators. For so many reasons, these honey bee species deserve our utmost protection. This book calls for everyone concerned with bee research, and with setting bee produce quality criteria, to realise that Apis mellifera belongs to a family of nine honey bee species, and when considering honey bees or their produce, all species must be considered and protected.