Traditional Beekeeping in Sudan (1-3)

M. A. Eisa, M. Roth

Agricultural crops are cotton, peanuts, sorghum, barley, sesame, wheat and gum Arabic produced from Acacia senegal trees. Moreover, traditional beekeeping as a type of land use activity offers a great potential for socio-economic development of residents and thus, plays regionally an important role in Sudan. There are thousands of beekeepers in Sudan. Beekeeping can provide valuable food and medicine for local resident. Moreover, honey and beeswax are important cash crops offered on local markets. Thus, beekeeping gives local people an economic incentive for the protection of natural habitats such as forests and therefore it is an ideal activity in any forest conservation program. Beekeeping is a family activity which has a plenty of advantages compared to other types of agriculture: it needs a relatively small investment and depends on little land without specific demands on the quality of the land. It is a flexible activity for both sexes of any age. Beekeeping can be carried out as a productive secondary activity with low-level technology, or as a primary undertaking with more complicated techniques.
In addition beekeeping does not compete for resources with other types of agriculture – the nectar and pollen of plants are a true bonus. Distribution of honey bees Worldwide, there are perhaps 20,000 species of bees, of which 500 are social bees mostly in the family Apidae. In sub-saharan Africa, there are over 3,000 species of bees, many being endemic. Most important among the African Apidae are the stinging (Apis) and stingless honey bees (Trigona). Within the genus Apis, A. mellifera is the most useful species, and is therefore known best by scientific studies on several aspects. The honey bee, Apis mellifera L., occurs naturally in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, which is the largest area where Apis mellifera original lived. This diverse range of habitats has required adaptation to a variety of ecological and climatic conditions and historical separation has caused the evolution of over 24 named sub-species.
On the basis of morphology, these subspecies have been grouped into four distinct evolutionary branches, namely the African, the western and northern European, the southeastern European, as well as the Middle Eastern. Molecular analyses have broadly supported this 2 classification. Some of the most commonly referred African races of honeybees (Apis mellifera) which have been identified, including aspects of their behaviour areApis mellifera intermissa,Apis mellifera lamarckii (Egyptian bees found in North East Africa primarily in Egypt and the Sudan along the Nile Valley), Apis mellifera scutellata, Apis mellifera adansonii, Apis mellifera monticola and Apis mellifera capensis. The borderlines between the different races are not well known (2). The distribution of honey bees in Sudan depends on environmental conditions. Northern Sudan is desert, and indigenous honeybees do not exist north of Khartoum. In South, rainfall increases, and so does vegetation through savannah until finally the lush rain-forest near Sudan southern boundaries. Along the two Niles in Sudan honeybees (Apis mellifera) occur rarely north of Ed Dueim and Wad Medani. At Kosti, they are compelled to utilise densely foliaged mango trees and build combs on horizontal branches.

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