Bees for Development
No trees - no bees: no honey - no money
Honeybees collect everything they need for life from plants. In other parts of this website the vital role of pollination is explained together with its clear links with increased crop yields and improved food security. Bees give people such a good deal from their services that it is always a surprise when these benefits to the wider community are not recognised.
Forests worldwide are of priceless ecological value; they prevent soil erosion, control flooding, affect rainfall, store and recycle nutrients, and provide habitats for vast numbers of plant and animal species. Bees are important to forest conservation and protection not just for their vital pollination function, but because bees can collect a crop from the trees without destroying them. People benefit, not just from improved yields and greater biodiversity, but also from the useful and saleable products that can be harvested from beehives. Beekeeping offers even better income generating potential when it can be integrated into a farmers cropping system. For instance farmers may consider growing additional crops that can benefit the household as well as providing a food source for the bees. Sometimes, where live fencing is used, carefully chosen melliferous plants can be included in the fence so that there is food for the bees for as long as possible during the year without any extra land being required. Attention to bee forage to give a long period with flowers providing nectar will help to reduce colony death or the loss of colonies by absconding.
In addition, management of farm areas that includes multipurpose trees may also be a way forward for those not within reach of forest systems. Many multipurpose agroforestry trees are also good nectar or pollen sources, may provide shelter for wild bee colonies or give materials for beehive production as well as providing people with a useful or valuable crop. As well as natural species some important commercial species such as avocado, carambola, cashew, macadamia, coconut, coffee, kiwi, litchi and citrus depend on honeybee pollination. Some fast growing energy crop trees such as eucalyptus also produce copious nectar. As well as adding soil fertility in the form of nitrogen from their root nodules, all acacia species provide nectar; so do some of the oilseed trees such as Jatropha and oil palm while fodder trees such as Calliandra and Leucaena can be useful additions to a diverse agroforestry system. The choices are extensive and will be a constrained by the local environmental conditions so indigenous knowledge and experience is essential in selecting suitable agroforestry species. However, care needs to be taken with the introduction of non native species to ensure they are not damagingly invasive.
There is a wide range of information about which tree species have multipurpose uses. Bees for Development run an occasional series of Trees Bees Use which spotlights specific tree species. If there is an especially useful bee tree in your area please submit an article to tell us about it. We may be able to share your information with many other beekeepers.
List of Articles available on this topic (89):
A Colour Guide to Pollen Loads of the Honey Bee
Addendum to Trees Bees Use - Chromolaena odorata
Apiculture in Bangladesh (includes list of 45 bee plants)
Bee Flora of Hindu Kush-Himalayas: Inventory and Management
Beekeeping and some Honeybee Plants in Umalila, S.Tanzania
Bees and Forest in the Tropics
Bees and Trees
Bees in the miombo
Madeleen Husselman, Moira Moeliono and Fiona Paumgarten
Bees trees use - Jimson Weed - datura stramonium
Boosting cashew production in Ghana
Christ's Thorn - Ziziphus spina-christi
Coffee - Coffea arabica
Common Names of plants in Bangladesh and West Bengal
Common Plants of Bangladesh their use to Bees
Coral creeper - Antigonon leptopus
Jalaluddin, S.M., Mohan, R., Rajendran, R. & Sadakathulla, S.
Sanecki, K N
Eucalyptus erythriocoris; a source of nectar and pollen for bees in Israel.
Lupo A.; Eisikowitch, D.
Flowering Plants of Islamabad: a Monthly Guide
Food and Fruit-bearing Forest Species 1: Examples from Eastern Africa
Forestry for Sustainable Rural Development: A Review of Ford Foundation-Supported Community Forestry Programs in Asia
Forestry, forest users and research: new way of learning
Garden Plants Valuable to Bees
International Bee Research Association
Governing Forest Commons in the Congo Basin: Non-Timber Forest Product Value Chains
Guide to some of East Africa\'s Flowering Trees and Shrubs
Guide to some of East Africa\'s Upland Flowers
Gum trees in South Africa
Himalayan Flowers and Trees
Mierow, D. & Shrestha, T.B.
Host-Plant Selection of Phytophagous Insects
Bernays, E.A. & Chapman, R.F.
IBRA Appendix Pollens Identified in Honey Samples from Bangladesh
Impact of Honeybee Pollination in Enhancing the Apple Production in Nainital District of Uttarakhand
Sharma, HK; Partap, U;Bisht, K; Tewari, P & Phartiyal, P.
Improved pollination of insect pollinated crops in Bhutan
Intimate relationships between plants and pollinators
Ivy Tree: a Major Nectar Plant in Winter for Apis cerana in South China
Jungle Honey in Thailand
J\'aime ona Pangaia
Natural antibiotic found in honey
Bradbear, N., Martin, P. & Wainwright, D.
Planting for Bees in Developing Countries
Plants and Beekeeping: an account of those plants, wild and cultivated, of value to the hive bee, and for honey production in the British Isles
Plants and Honey Bees: their relationships
Aston, D. & Bucknall, S.
Plants from the Markets of Thailand
Pro-Poor Chain Development for High Value Products in Mountain Regions: Indian Bay Leaf
Choudhary, D; Pandit, B; Kinhal, G; Kollmair, M.
Prominent Findings of Forestry Research in India
Rainforests: A Guide to Research and Tourist Facilities at Selected Tropical Forest Sites in Central and South America
Restoration of Apis cerana japonica on the Goto Islands
Rubber - the honey spinner in Sri Lanka
Rubber tree Hevea brasiliensis
Soapnut - Sapindus emarginatus
Lakshmi, K. & Rao, G.M.
Some Trees, Shrubs and Climbers of Bijilo Forest Park
Bijilo Forest Park
St John\'s Wort Hypericum revolutum
State of the World\'s Forests
Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations
Studies on Utilizing Honeybees for Increasing the Fruit Yield and Developing Camellia meiocarpa as a Source of Honey
Chao S. W., Cheng Q. Z., Liu Z. Z., Zhou S. L.
The Bitter Albizia - Albizia amara subspecies sericocephala
The honey trees of the Cholanaickens
The Human Pollinators of Fruit Crops in Maoxian County, Sichuan, China
Partap, U. & Tang Ya
The Indian butter tree
Joshi, S. & Pechhacker, H.
The oil bean tree - Pentaclethra macrophylla
The search for nectariferous plants in marginal agricultural regions in Israel.
The Tamarind - Tamarindus indica
Tree bees use - Parkia Biglobosa
Tree veronia - Vernonia amygdalina
Trees Bee Use - Bhoca - a bee forage plant
Trees Bees Use - Antigonon leptopus - Coral Creeper
Sadakathulla, S.; Rajendran, R.; Mohan, R. & Jalaluddin, S.M.
Trees Bees Use - Becium grandiflorum
Trees Bees Use - Bhoca - a bee forage plant
Trees Bees Use - Caylusea abyssinica
Trees Bees Use - Caylusea abyssinica (Resedaceae)
Trees bees use - Chromolaena odorata
Adesina, G.O. & Babarinde, S.A.
Trees Bees Use - Chromolaena odorata
Adesina, G.O. & Babarinde, S.A.
Trees Bees Use - Datura stramonium - Jimson Weed
Trees Bees Use - Fuchsia - a bee forage plant
Trees Bees Use - Fuchsia - A bee forage plant
Trees bees use - Haematoxylum Campechianum
Trees Bees Use - Pithecellobium dulce - Sweet Tamarind
Trees Bees Use - Schefflera volkensii
Trees bees use - sweet tamarind
TREES BEES USE - The logwood tree - Haematoxylum camechianum
Trees bees use - velvet leaf soldier bush - Heliotropium foertherianium
Warning signals - from the Apple Valleys of the Hindu Kush-himalayas - productivity concerns and pollination problems - abridged edition
Partap, U. & Partap, T.
Warning signals from the Apple Valleys of the Hindu Kush-Himalayas: Productivity Concerns and Pollination Problems
Partap,U & Partap T
Wild flowers as competitors for pollinators in almond orchards
Eisikowitch, D.; Lupo, A.
Zoom in on Jamaica
Bees for Development