Coordinator of the Bee Research Unit. National Center for
Agriculture Research and Technology Transfer, bee. (NCARTT).
639-Baq'a 19381. Jordan, Tel.: (06)4725411, Fax (06)4726049
Jordan located at the crossroads
of three continents, between Europe, Asia, and Africa. Jordan is
located between 290° 11' N and 330° 22' E. bordered by Syria in
the north, Iraq to the east, Saudi Arabia on both eastern and
Although Jordan's size is limited
(89,213 Sq. Km),
the landscape reveals great diversity within short distance;
Jordan is subjected to the eastern Mediterranean climate, which
is characterized by mild and moderately rainy winter and hot
rainless summer. The country is composed of four
eco-geographical regions: Mediterranean region;
Irano-Turanian region; Eastern Desert region
"Badia". Sudanian region;
All of aforementioned Jordan's
eco-geographic regions hold rich and divers natural resources of
wild flora, cultivated plants, fruit trees, and forest trees,
most of these plants are foraging plant for bee as source of
nectar and pollen grain. In the Jordan valley honey bee forages
places are mainly the citrus orchard the source of light colored
honey, Christ throne jujube, Eucalyptus, Syrian thistle and
Mesquite. In the uplands fruit trees such as stone fruit, poem
fruit, and cultivated crops like legumes and crucifers are the
main feeding sources for honeybee.
Wild flora, bushes, and shrub
comprises the main foraging plants for honeybee in the arid and
semi arid region, greenish and tanned color honey is produced
from this plants.
According to the Ministry of
Agricultural Statistics Reports (2003), 65% of the total numbers
of the hives are located in the northern parts and 25% in the
central parts and the rest (10%) in the southern parts of
The statistics also showed that
the number of beekeeper in Jordan reach over 1000 with about
60,000 beehives (in 2003) distributed in the following
categories: hobbyist beekeeper-nonprofessional- (who owns
less than 10 beehives) 60% of the total beekeeper, part-time
beekeeper (10 -25 beehives) 10%, full-time beekeeper
(25-100) 20%, professional beekeepers (more than 1000
Hive, equipment and production
in 1979, more than 80% of the
hives were kept in traditional clay hives ( Hand made
cylindrical tubes of mud and straw 26 inches long in 12 inches
in diameter internally, the walls are a full 2 inches thick),
the honeybee hived in this primitive hive will build comb,
rather relying on removable frame as in modern Langstroth hives.
Considerable efforts have been
made in the past two decades to introduce the modern hive into
Jordan, in 2005 more than 98% of the bees are kept in modern
Langstroth type, while 2% are still following traditional ways.
There is few manufacturing or
production of beekeeping equipments and supplies (except for the
wooden hive boxes and removable frame) and Most of the
beekeeping requirements such as honey extractors, ripeners,
queen excluders, wax foundation, smokers, and beekeeper
clothes are imported from countries like New Zealand, China,
Syria, Europe, USA
In 1980-1998 the average honey
production was 50-200 tons per year. The average consumption
reached 379 Tons per year, the Kingdom imports about 282 Tons a
year which means that the production covers only 20% of national
consumption. (The directory of animal production documents
Jordanians prefer local honey
because of the diversity of Jordan flora acting as honeybee
foraging places were its believed that local honey has more
medical value than imported. The price of imported honey reaches
(5 $)/kg. But the price of local honey is about (10-15 $/kg).
Other products of the bee hive
are limited for a number of professional beekeepers and
commercial apiaries. Pollen grain, propolis, wax and royal jelly
production is generally small.
The native honeybee of Jordan is
Apis mellifera syriaca exist in the east of Mediterranean
region (Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Syria and Lebanon). It's
characterized by a bright yellow color, small size, and
construction of several swarm cells. Most notably, A. m.
syriaca is a nervous bee, which is notorious for high
For commercial beekeepers there
seems to be good practical reasons for replacing A. m.
syriaca by less defensive strains, including strains of
Italian, Carniolan, Buckfast or Caucasian origin. This tendency
has increased and was complemented by introducing other
successful breeder, in combination with the increased
transportation of colonies, which is part of modern beekeeping,
A. m. syriaca
As a bee of the dry-hot regions,
it is much better adapted to survive extreme summer temperatures
without small honey flow, and adjusts its brood pattern showing
a depression between the spring and autumn maxima.
The Syrian honeybees shows more
defensive behavior also against the parasite Varroa jacobsoni
it is also better adapted to withstand attacks from Vespa
orientalis (Haddad and Fuchs2004, Fuchs and Haddad 2005)
A. m. syriaca
constitute a fertile subject to study; since researches done on
the biology, behavior, and genetics of this strain of honeybee
are very limited.
Only few systematic
investigations on the specific traits of A. m. syriaca
have so far been conducted to verify the potential traits,
nevertheless more than half a century of foreign bee importation
has passed, it might not be too late to find pure or almost pure
A. m. syriaca. Therefore The Bee Research Unit NCARTT
started intensive investigations in cooperation with "Institut
Fur Biebebkunde" in Oberursel Germany, to fiend the A. m.
syriaca and establish a gene bank apiary for this local
strain having in mined that the spices of today might be the
solution of tomorrow problems (Grant by the DFG & GTZ), the
results were that the Jordanian samples are the closest in the
Middle East to the reference samples collected in 1952 by
Brother Adam A.
This is the first bank for A.
m. syriaca in the Middle East where queens are mated in
natural flits and with artificially inseminated mother queens in
order to serve as origin for further investigations.
The ministry of Agriculture in
Jordan have a beekeeping department which is responsible for the
import – export regulations and as will responsible for the
yearly statistics reports, as will this department in
cooperation with the extension service are responsible for
training the beekeepers and supporting with extension
American foul brood
(Paenibacillus larvae), European foul brood (Melissococcus
pluton), Acarine. In certain areas the symptoms of Nosema (Nosema
apis) and Viral diseases might be found but there is no
existed surveys in this areas.
Honey Bee pests
Wax moth (Galleria mellonella),
Oriental hornet (Vespa orientalis), Varroa mite (V.
destructor) and the Bee Eater (Merops sp. are the
main pests if honey be suitable
es not only in Jordan but in all
the Middle East countries, as will the poisoning of bees by
pesticides remains very serious problem for beekeeper specially
in the Jordan Valley.
Bees for Development
The bees are used for development
by the Bee Research Unit and some other organizations for
example, the Bee Research Unit had distribute several beehives
and helped in establishment new apiary's which income is used to
support poor families, as will with the purpose of developing of
income of the women in rural areas many workshops and training
programs for women are conducted yearly.
The future of beekeeping in
In order to enhance beekeeping in
Jordan there are some important thing need to be done,
establishment of a "Honey Board" responsible for organizing the
distance between the apiary. More efforts in bee selection, bee
breading and queen rearing need to be carried out not only by
the Bee Research Unit and the Beekeeping department at the MoA
but by some privet honey bee queen breeders which are
unfortunately not availably yet on professional level in Jordan
in order to protect the honey bees from pests and diseases, new
research projects need to be started. From our experience the
future of beekeeping in Jordan will be only for the beekeepers
that have less than 30 beehives or them who have over 1000
beehives because of the problem of honey marketing, and it is
for these two groups because beekeepers that have less than 30
beehives can sell the honey for there relatives, neighbor and
friends. In the other hand the professional beekeepers with over
1000 hives can open a special shop to market not only hive
productions but as will beekeepers equipments and as will get
some income from the pollination service.