“Sinai is one of the very few places in the world (and it may be unique) where no social bees of any kind occur naturally, only solitary bees…Recently hives of domesticated social honeybees have been brought in from Egypt, and scientists are worried about their impact on the wild bees, and hence on the efficiency with which native plants are pollinated. ” ~ Gardens of a Sacred Landscape: Bedouin Heritage and Natural History in the High Mountains of Sinai by Samy Zalat and Francis Gilbert
Top Right: Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa sp), which you can learn more about in this post.
Bottom Right: Leafcutter Bee (Coelioxys sp), which you can learn more about in this post.
There have been several reports in the past year of hives of social bees in Dahab and Nuweiba. After reading the book quoted above, I have been fascinated about their possible impact on the native solitary bees and plants, so I did a bit of research and found two very interesting articles:
- Sinai Wild Bees Under Threat (Scientists warn against the negative impact of honeybees’ introduction on wild bees and native plants in South Sinai.)
- Introduced Honey Bees Could Cause Plant Extinction (Honey bees out-compete local pollinators, which play vital specialist role in plant pollination.
Human interference in the natural order of our ecosystems is not always a good thing. I’ll be thinking twice now about buying honey from St. Katherine’s…