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Discovery of Apis florea Colonies in Northeastern Egypt

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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 populations would probably move into the Sinai Peninsula (Hepburn et al. 2011).
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Discovery of Apis florea colonies in northeastern Egypt
M.A. Shebl
Department of Plant Protection, Faculty of Agriculture, Suez Canal University, Ismailia 41522, Egypt.
E-mail: mohamedshebl2002@hotmail.com
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),
northeastEgypt.TheareaiscalledAdabiaandis11
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.
Theworkersforageondifferentforageresources
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.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I am grateful to all who helped me during the
ISSN 1021-3589 [Print]; 2224-8854 [Online]
African Entomology
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.
REFERENCES
BEZABIH, G., ADGABA, N., HEPBURN, H.R. & PIRK,
C.W.W. 2014. The territorial invasion of Apis florea in
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EL SHAFIE, H.A.F., MOGGA, J.B.B. & BASEDOW, T.2002.
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the honey bee, Apis mellifera sudanensis, and the
imported dwarf honey bee Apis florea (Hym., Apidae)
in North-Khartoum (Sudan). Journal of Applied Ento-
mology 126(10): 557–562.
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HADDAD, N., DE MIRANDA, J.R. & BATAEHNA, A.
2008. Discovery of Apis florea in Aqaba Jordan. Journal
of Apiculture Research 47(2): 173174.
DOI 10.3896/IBRA.1.47.2.17
HADDAD,N.,FUCHS,S., HEPBURN, H.R. & RADLOFF,
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population. Apidologie 40(4): 508–512.
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HEPBURN, H.R. & HEPBURN, C. 2005. Bibliography of
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HEPBURN, H.R. & RADLOFF, S.E. 2011. Biogeography
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SHEBL, M.A., KAMEL S. & MAHFOUZ, H. 2013. Bee
fauna (Apoidea: Hymenoptera) of the Suez Canal Re-
gion, Egypt. Journal of Apiculture Science 57(1): 33–44.
DOI: 10.2478/jas-2013-0004.
SHEBL, M.A., PATINY, S. & MICHEZ, D. 2015. Supple-
mentary note on the solitary bee fauna from the Suez
Canal region of Egypt (Hymenoptera: Apoidea).
Journal of Melittology 47: 1–5.
DOI: 10.17161/jom.v0i47.4835.
SHEBL, M.A. & FARAG, M. 2015. The bee diversity
(Hymenoptera: Apoidea) visiting broad bean (Vicia
faba L.) flowers in Egypt. Zoology in the Middle East
61(3): 256–263.
DOI: 10.1080/09397140.2015.1069245.
Short communications 249
Fig. 1.A, Colony of
Apis florea
on a guava tree;B, old nest comb on a
Ficus nitida
tree;C, a worker of
A.florea
foraging
on a citrus flower; D, a worker of
A. florea
foraging on
Ocimum basilicum
.
Accepted 14 June 2016
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This bibliography of the literature on Apis florea Fabricius was compiled from 791 references, written by 774 authors and published in 212 different periodicals, conference proceedings, theses, reports, books and patents covering the period 1787–2004. The literature shows greater strength in the applied aspects of beekeeping than in basic biology. Growth of the literature on A. florea has been exponential over the past five decades.
Discovery of Apis florea in Aqaba Jordan
  • N Haddad
  • J R De Miranda
  • A Bataehna
HADDAD, N., DE MIRANDA, J.R. & BATAEHNA, A. 2008. Discovery of Apis florea in Aqaba Jordan. Journal of Apiculture Research 47(2): 173-174. DOI 10.3896/IBRA.1.47.2.17
Bee fauna (Apoidea: Hymenoptera) of the Suez Canal Region
  • M A Shebl
  • Kamel S
  • H Mahfouz
SHEBL, M.A., KAMEL S. & MAHFOUZ, H. 2013. Bee fauna (Apoidea: Hymenoptera) of the Suez Canal Region, Egypt. Journal of Apiculture Science 57(1): 33-44. DOI: 10.2478/jas-2013-0004.