Discovery of Apis florea colonies in northeastern Egypt
Department of Plant Protection, Faculty of Agriculture, Suez Canal University, Ismailia 41522, Egypt.
In this note, attention is focused on Apis species in
particular the dwarf honeybees, while in previous
studies we studied non-Apis bees (Shebl et al. 2013,
2014, 2015). Apis florea is widely distributed on the
Asian continent, extending 7000 km from the east
in Vietnam and China across Asia westwards to
south of Oman (Hepburn et al. 2005). The species
was accidentally introduced into Saudi Arabia and
Sudan (Maa 1953; Hepburn et al. 2005). It is known
only from Sudan in Africa and recently in Ethiopia
(Bezabih et al. 2014) and has not been recorded
previously in northern Africa. Apis florea was
expected to invade Africa when it was first
recorded on the eastern border of the Red Sea,
around Aqaba, Jordan (Haddad et al. 2008). The
Jordanian populations appear to have two origins
with one linked to populations from Pakistan,
Sudan, Oman then Saudi Arabia and Iran. The
second one is linked to southern Indian and Sri
Lankan populations (Haddad et al. 2009). It was
predicted that the Jordanian and Sudanese popu-
lations would probably move into the Sinai Penin-
sula (Hepburn et al. 2011).
Here I present the first records of A. florea in
Suez, northeastern Egypt, closer to the African
continent, River Nile and the Egyptian Delta.
The colonies were found at a location on the
road between Ismailia and Hurghada, close to
Ataka Mountains in Suez (29°89’50”N 33°45’66”E),
km from Suez City and has a port and extensive
shipping activities. Several colonies were discovered
in the area, building their nests in the trees on the
Suez Gulf such as Ficus nitida,Eucalyptus sp., Guava
sp., Mangifera indica and palm trees. There are no
agriculture crops in the area but some flowering
plants of Ocimum basilicum, sunflower, citrus and
Lantana camara occur.
A number of field expeditions were conducted
in 2016 to examine the colonies, and about 32
workers were collected around their nests using a
sweep net. The workers were foraging on basil
and citrus. Bees were killed in normal cyanide jars,
pinned and stored in wooden boxes at the Insect
Museum in the Department of Plant Protection,
Faculty of Agriculture, Suez Canal University.
Labels recording the collecting time and date,
area of collection and scientific name of the host
plant were associated with each specimen. The
specimens were identified morphologically and
compared with materials collected from Saudi
Arabia in 2015.
The migrant dwarf honey bee A. florea has been
recorded on the continent in Sudan, Ethiopia and
Eritrea. The species is said to be moving at around
27 km annually in a southerly direction (Bezabih
et al. 2014; Mogga 1994; El Shafie et al. 2002). Apis
florea was expected to be found in the Sinai Penin-
sula but recently colonies were discovered in Suez
(Fig. 1). The bees were recorded in Jordan in 2008
in Aqaba (Haddad et al. 2008) and recently in Suez,
a movement to the west of around 45 km every
year. Probably the dwarf honeybee was present in
the Sinai Peninsula at the same time when it was
recordedin Jordan, but due to limited field expedi-
tions the species was not successfully collected.
On the other hand, further investigation could
clarify the movements of the bees from north to
the south and from east towards west. The move-
ment from east towards west is probably faster
than from north to south. Based on this, it is
expected that within the next five years A.florea
will move towards Cairo and other parts of north-
west Egypt, especially the Nile Delta. The dwarf
honey bees prefer to build their nests in Ficus nitida
trees followed by guava, mango, palm and camphor
trees at a high elevation.
in the area but mostly forage on citrus, Ocimum
basilicum,Helianthussp.andLantana camara (Fig. 1).
Further studies on the impact of the invasion of
the dwarf honey bees on the local honey bees
should be carried out. In addition, determining
the origin of the Egyptian population in relation to
that of neighbouring populations in Jordan and
Saudi Arabia needs to be done.
I am grateful to all who helped me during the
ISSN 1021-3589 [Print]; 2224-8854 [Online]
25(1): 248–249 (2017)
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4001/003.025.0248 ©Entomological Society of Southern Africa
collection of the dwarf honey bees from Suez,
Adabia, Gulf of Suez, Egypt. Special thanks and
appreciation go to M. Khallaf and M. Ibrahim. My
deep thanks also go to the chief editor and two
anonymous referees for their comments.
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Short communications 249
Fig. 1.A, Colony of
on a guava tree;B, old nest comb on a
tree;C, a worker of
on a citrus flower; D, a worker of
Accepted 14 June 2016