Beekeeping and colony losses in Saudi Arabia

Albarrak, Abdulmajeed and Gray, Alison (2017) Beekeeping and colony losses in Saudi Arabia. In: Royal Statistical Society Conference 2017, 2017-09-04 - 2017-09-07.

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    Abstract

    The most commonly managed honey bee is Apis mellifera, a highly adaptable species found almost worldwide and a highly valuable pollinator of agricultural crops. The total number of managed honey bee colonies worldwide was reported to have increased by 64% from 1961 to 2007. However Europe, North America, and some other parts of the world have since 2006/7 observed sharp declines of managed honey bee colonies. A series of surveys reported that many colonies suddenly disappeared, leaving no or only a few remaining living bees, referred to as "Colony Depopulation Syndrome" (CDS) or "Colony Collapse Disorder" (CCD). Various reported possible causes include parasitic mites, malnutrition, harsh winters, exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides, or a combination of these. No single factor has gained widespread acceptance. The research network COLOSS (Prevention of honeybee COlony LOSSes) was formed in 2008, to investigate honey bee colony losses, and carries out annual loss monitoring surveys in many countries in Europe and beyond. However, CCD has not yet been reported in the Arabian Peninsula and colony loss data are limited. Honey bee races in the Arabian Peninsula are morphologically dissimilar to the European honey bee, use of agricultural pesticides there is low, and infestation by Varroa and other pests is less prevalent. Therefore, investigation of colony losses in the Arabian Peninsula will add to the body of research into causes of colony losses. This work is amassing information on the nature and infrastructure of beekeeping in Saudi Arabia, with the aim of establishing a new survey of beekeepers there to study beekeeping management and experience of colony losses. Results so far will be reported.