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Authors: Hepburn, H. Randall, Radloff, Sarah E.​ Includes an updated multivariate analysis of the subspecies based on the merger of the Ruttner database (Oberursel) and that of Hepburn & Radloff (Grahamstown) for nearly 20, bees.​ Hepburn, Prof. Dr. H. R. (et al.).
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This notice stipulates that no bees can be transported across the demarcation line separating the country into a southern A. In addition, all honeybee colonies north of this line that are infested with the parasite must be destroyed within 72 h of their discovery. Restrictions on the import of hive products or beekeeping equipment into South Africa are regulated by the government notice R The import of honeybees is prohibited by the Agricultural Pest Act 36 of These measures could prevent the introduction of foreign diseases to which South African bees are not adapted and to which they could be susceptible.

The island was thereafter declared a honeybee sanctuary through the amendment R of the Agricultural Pest Act, Act 36, that prohibits the import of honeybees or used beekeeping material onto the island.

Honeybees of Africa | H. Randall Hepburn | Springer

Kenya is enforcing very strict regulations for the import of live honeybees. Imports are subject to permission from the Ministry of Environment and the Zoological Department of Museums of Kenya and honey imported has to comply with standards established by the Kenyan Bureau of Standards. Madagascar also regulates the imports of honeybees through a decree in from the Ministry of Agriculture, Breeding and Fisheries which is distinct from the Ministry regulating imports of other animals.

Honeybee imports are subjected to permit from the Direction of Animal Production. Imports of honeybees that can become harmful to the local flora, honeybees or to humans are prohibited. The regulations of other countries are more general and do not apply only to honeybees, but to all imported animals.

In Tunisia, honeybees and bee products imports have been regulated by a decree in The sanitary control of imported bees is done by the Veterinary Services of the Ministry of Agriculture and by the agents of the Public Health Ministry. Imported honey is also subjected to quality controls. In Nigeria, a decree in constituted the National Veterinary Research Institute whose role was to research animal diseases and establish control measures. Controls at the borders are the duty of the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services, attached to the Ministry of Agriculture.

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control certifies imported honey and bee products for distribution on the Nigerian market. The same situation occurs in Algeria, Cameroon, Gabon and Sao Tome, where decrees from the Ministries of Agriculture define general sanitary inspections of imported food, under which honey imports fall. However, no regulation exists regarding honeybee imports in these countries.

Some countries are in the process of establishing import regulations. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism of Tanzania has been updating regulations in the last 8 years.


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At the time of formulation of the new regulations in , the relevant laws were outdated and obsolete - such as the Produce Export Beeswax Rules of and the East African Customs Management Act of which regulated importation of honey, bees, beekeeping equipment and appliances. Since then, the Beekeeping Act and Beekeeping Regulations have been issued. They provide an updated legal framework for beekeeping in Tanzania, but further work needs to be done to improve and complete these regulations. Libya and Swaziland are also planning to update their regulations.

Data for other African countries could not be collected. Although some countries possess appropriate regulations, all suffer from a severe lack of technical capacity and often cannot pro-actively implement the regulations. However, despite the existence of regulations limiting honeybee and bee products movements and irrespective of how well they are enforced, an important risk occurs through accidental shipments of swarms by air or land.

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Various examples of alien bee species entering a country A. Only Australia and England Anderson, ; Brown et al. Beekeeping developmental projects can contribute to conservation of honeybees and their environment cf above as long as they are based on the use of local honeybee populations.

However, developmental schemes provide mixed results and a number failed because they were based on honeybeee colonies imported from Europe or Australasia Lohr, ; Nel et al. Additional reasons for failure were the lack of appropriate socio-economical models, low support from local government, and the absence of a support strategy. The European and American examples have shown that wild bees can be driven to extinction since they cannot be treated Kraus and Page, ; Jaffe et al.

Although the effects of industrialization or agricultural landscapes are not ubiquitous in Africa, deforestation could represent a threat to honeybee populations and nesting sites should be protected. The use of non-indigenous honeybees in development projects has led to their failure and use of indigenous populations should be a requirement for the conservation of biodiversity.

Determining conservation units within which colonies could be caught and used for such projects is difficult since population dynamics of A. The best approach would therefore be to use colonies trapped locally in development projects. Monitoring and trapping colonies around container ports or airports to monitor arrival of potentially invasive species or diseases should be undertaken so as to increase the probability of eradication before establishment.

However, this is expensive and regular monitoring by skilled agents will be necessary for this to be effectively implemented, thus requiring resources that are not available in most African countries. To further decrease the possibility of introducing foreign diseases or disturbing the equilibrium established by local honeybees with their environment through the import of competitors, regulations should be put into place and their measures implemented to prevent long range movement of honeybees.

Most honeybee diseases are present in Africa, without large scale deleterious effects. Indeed, African bees are resistant or adapted to most common parasites Moretta et al. The factors that contribute to this probably include beekeeping management small vs.

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Most likely a combination of all factors contributes to the healthy situation of the honeybees of Africa. However, as was discovered with the capensis problem see above , it is the wild population that was used to compensate for the colony losses. This population served as a source from which to restock the depleted population of managed bees and buffered the dramatic loss of managed bee colonies affecting the apicultural sector.

Nevertheless, relying on the natural population is only possible when such populations remain healthy. The natural populations in Africa have to deal with the same factors that threaten the honeybee populations of Europe and the USA diseases, habitat loss, imported diseases or parasites. Beekeeping in Africa at the moment relies on local bees, but such reliance should be ensured in the long term by the establishment of conservation policies destined to maintain nesting sites and ensure the persistence of a healthy wild population.

The differences in fitness strategy were thought to be accounted for by the fact that African worker bees have a greater preference for pollen over nectar, which is a direct food resource for the emerging brood. The study was also interested in the role different colony social environments and different genetic variation might play in the fitness discrepancies between the two subspecies. African bees were also more likely to store pollen while European bees stored honey. The study found that worker food preferences determined whether the colony maintained a certain reproductive rate.

Worker food preferences have been connected to genotypic variation [11] at specific quantitative trait loci. African bees are "precocious foragers"; A. Over time, distributions of the genotypic traits for worker food preference must have clustered around those conferring a proclivity towards resources that improved the fitness of the subspecies. The balancing of evolutionary costs and benefits have shaped the distribution of these genotypic traits. A bee population must strike a balance in the distribution of resources towards the growth of the current colony members versus reproduction.

If too much energy is expended on the maintenance of an adult colony, the bees will lose the chance to expand through reproduction but they will have older workers who specialize in nectar resources for energy honey. If too much energy is spent on reproduction, such a colony will be less equipped to survive drastic seasonal changes because they have younger workers who specialize in pollen for feeding the brood, not energy storage.

These two strategies have been adopted by the European and African bees, respectively. European bees must survive the winter, an annual event with predictable mortality outcomes.


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Trying to meet the energetic needs of the colony and reproduction might decrease their overall survival during the winter and it is more evolutionarily favorable for them to store nectar and honey. A strain of Apis mellifera capensis the Cape honey bee has monopolized social parasitism of Apis mellifera scutellata hosts in the southern region of South Africa.

Honey Bees in Africa; Back to the Future

Specifically, a strain of A. Social parasitism in the social insects can involve various forms of exploitation that disrupt the normal division of labor in the colony. In , A. Ten years later, a single clonal…worker lineage [18] was found to be devastating A. Dietemann et al. The resulting breakdown of the division of labor leads to desertion or death of the parasitized colony. Although many pheromones contribute to reproduction, pheromones made in the mandibular gland of queens have been closely linked to reproduction, and they are produced by workers that reproduce.

The pheromones prevent others from attacking them, induce workers to recognize them as queen, and give them access to higher quality foods. They also stop other workers from turning reproductive. The worker parasites and their increasing number of clones become the sole reproductive individuals in the colony.

The destruction of the division of labor leads to reduced resources that eventually force the colony to leave or perish. The single lineage of parasitizing A. The non-invasive varieties of A.


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In addition, they produce secretions that are not as similar to that of A. The single lineage was selected for its greater resistance to and greater ability to mimic and overwhelm the pheromonal regulation by host queens. It was discovered that A.

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Pheromonal differences between the subspecies is a subject that requires more in-depth investigation to understand how such parasitization is made possible. As mandibular pheromones were a focus of the Dietemann et al. The multifaceted aspect of communication in social insects makes social insect colonies easy to hijack.

Further, flight time and distances of mating flight from the colony tend to result in European queens encountering African drones more often than European drones, thus setting the stage for hybridization. All honey bees undergo complete metamorphosis, but the time from egg to adult varies by subspecies. The newly-mated queen bee oviposits in wax cells constructed by worker bees. Fertilized eggs result in female offspring, either workers or queens. If fed a diet rich in royal jelly, the female larva will develop into a queen, with the reciprocal true for the development of workers.

Drones result from unfertilized eggs and consequently only inherit genetic material from their mother they have no father. Developmental time varies by caste member see the development time table and favor African honey bees because they generally develop faster than European bees. When bee colonies decide to make a new queen, newly-emerged female larvae are fed royal jelly constantly. Because Africanized offspring, including queens, develop faster than European offspring, a queen having an African genotype is more likely to emerge earlier than a queen with a European genotype.

The first queen to emerge kills her queen sisters that have not yet emerged from their cells.

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The Africanized virgin proceeds to mate in an area having higher densities of African drones. Over time, this results in the colony becoming more African with the European behavior being replaced almost altogether. This process is exacerbated further due to the dominance of many African genetic traits over European ones.