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Beekeeping in Parts of the Levant Region

  • Nizar Haddad
  • Lisa Horth
Chapter

Abstract

Beekeeping in the Levant region, a historical geographic area that lies east of the Mediterranean Sea and now comprises several countries, has a very long and colorful apiculture history. In ancient times, bees were revered by humans. They have been included in hieroglyphic writings and were often found associated with royalty. A variety of Apis mellifera subspecies currently persist in the Levant region. Historically and presently, these bees have been tended by beekeepers using an assortment of ancient and modern home types. This relationship has allowed humans to reap the benefits of bees including honey, wax, and other valuable products, in addition to pollination services. Some of the subspecies in the region now appear to be locally adapted to harsh environmental conditions and may warrant conservation. Today, genetic introgression among subspecies, as well as the purchase of queens from outside of the region may facilitate the transmission of novel diseases to susceptible colonies and to new geographic regions. Preserving natural honey bee genetic assemblages across the region may prove beneficial not only from a conservation standpoint, but also from an evolutionary and ecological one, when considering the value of locally adapted traits, stable community structure, and species diversity. The reverence for this majestic creature may need to be rekindled if we are to continue to tend honey bees for the economic benefits they provide to our society. Otherwise, they may continue to decline in abundance, perhaps as a result of a disease, movement induced by humans, migration, queen importation, and a myriad of additional disruptive anthropogenic factors that negatively impact their health and welfare.

Keywords

Honey bees Jordan Palestine Lebanon Syria Disease Pollination Agriculture Genetic Apis 

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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bee Research DepartmentNational Center for Agricultural Research and ExtensionBaqa’aJordan
  2. 2.Department of Biological ScienceOld Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA

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