Apiculture in Israel
Honey bee (Apis mellifera) has a thousand years of history in this part of Asia. The native honey bee race is considered to be A. mellifera syriaca. This subspecies was generally replaced by a more docile subspecies A. mellifera ligustica, but members of other subspecies are also occasionally introduced. Only about parts of the country area are suitable for honey bees due to very limited vegetation arid conditions in the southern part of the country. The majority of the colonies are concentrated at the center and north of the country reaching density of more than 14 colonies per square kilometers. To supplement bee forage, Eucalyptus trees are planted intensively around the country. Local beekeepers practice modern methods of beekeeping using Langstroth hive boxes. All professional beekeepers usually treat their colonies preventively against Varroa destructor mites and foulbrood diseases. Many beekeepers also treat preventively against Nosema disease. Despite regular management, Varroa and viruses remain a major obstacle for successful beekeeping.
KeywordsEuropean honey bee Apis mellifera Pests Bee diseases
The authors thank very much Dr. Eitan Eilon and Mr. Moshe Peer for teaching us about history and culture of beekeeping in the region. To Inna Goldenberg for the figure preparation and assistance in data collection and to all the beekeepers for devoting their time to complete questionnaires providing the data about current practices and colony loss data. NC was supported by a Grant of the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Agriculture number 131-1723.
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