Bees for Development
There is sometimes confusion over what constitutes a subspecies or a race of honey bees. The differentiation is based either on morphometry: the measurement of body parts such as wing veins, tongue and hair lengths, or on genetic analysis which is rapidly increasing our understanding of the relationships between various species and races of honey bees.
The great range of habitats with different climates (across Africa, Europe, the Middle East) where Apis mellifera occurs naturally, has enabled the evolution of significant variation in the biology and behaviour of this species of honey bee in these different environments. There are therefore many races of Apis mellifera, and the race being utilised can have a considerable impact on practical beekeeping. There is also great variation within races, and selection and hybridisation between races has resulted in considerable differences in honey bee types. These differences can significantly affect the suitability of a particular race to be productive in a given location. A race of bees that does well in one place will not automatically do well in another.
This has been dramatically shown by the rapid displacement of the European derived Apis mellifera honey bees that were used by beekeepers in South and Central America before the arrival of the 'Africanised bees' that were first introduced to Brazil in 1956. These are now the predominant races of Apis mellifera throughout tropical areas of South and Central America and the southern states of the USA. These bees, known as African bees in the Americas, have different biological and behavioural characteristics to European races of Apis mellifera. The import and subsequent escape and feral development of the original African bees demonstrates how much better adapted they were to the tropical environment.
Like Apis mellifera, Apis cerana occurs naturally across a very wide geographical area, from temperate zone in the north to tropical Asia, and has a number of races. These races differ in their biology and behaviour, and the race being utilised may have profound effects on the viability of beekeeping with Apis cerana in different parts of Asia. In some countries, problems with managing tropical races of Apis cerana have resulted in pressure to import the exotic species Apis mellifera with all the associated problems that this may engender.
In practice, the most productive honey bee race in any given district is likely to be the existing, locally adapted honey bees especially where these have had some additional bee breeding or selection activity for appropriate characteristics undertaken by local beekeepers.
List of Articles available on this topic (22):
A Comparative Study between Varroa\'s [Population] Dynamics for Italian versus Carniolan Bees.
Rosenthal, C., Efrat, H., Kamer, I. & Ron, M.
A rational approach to the honey bees of Britain
A Scientific Note on Varroa Destructor found in East Africa; Threat or Opportunity?
M. Frazier, E. Muli, T. Conklin, D. Schmehl, B. Torto, J. Frazier, J. Tumlinson, J. Evans, S. Raina
Adventures in Beekeeping - Ratanakiri, Cambodia
Africanised Honey Bees in the Americas
An Investigation into the Social Organisation of Mmoka, a Stingless Bee Species
Atlas of the Bumblebees of the British Isles
Beekeeping in the Amhara Region
Kebede, A., Ejigu, K., Aynalem, T., Jenberie, A
Beekeeping in the Mekong Delta
Bees of the World
O\'Toole & Raw, A.
Biogeography of the bees
Bumblebee Distribution Maps Scheme: A Guide to British Species: Entomologists Gazette Vol. 21
Caucasian Honey Bee Workshop, 2006, Camili, Artvin, Turkey
Inci, A & Kandemir, I.
Constraints and prospects for apiculture research and development in Amhara region, Ethiopa
Ejigu, K. Gebey, T. and Preston, T.R.
Economic implications of Africanised bees
Hygenic behaviour in relation to Thai sac brood virus disease in Apis cerana
IDENTIFICAÇÃO DAS ABELHAS MELÍFERAS DE CABO VERDE
Studies on Apini
Kuang B Y, Li Y Q
The Biology of the Honey Bee
Zoom in on Panama