Bee-eaters (Meropidae) are considered agricultural pests and their presence provokes conflicts with beekeepers and farmers who rely on the pollination services of honey bees. This problem is often deal with through the mass killing of the birds, even though the quantitative evidence on the impact of bee-eaters on honey bee colonies is scarce. The current paper reports the performance of honey bee colonies protected with mist nets from migrating flocks of European bee-eaters Merops apiaster in Israel. In the study the weight gains of bee hives surrounded by mist nets were 6.44 times higher than that of unprotected hives (26.4 kg vs. 4.1 kg). The results confirmed that bee-eaters locally pose a problem to apiaries and potentially to the crops that require pollination. Mist- netting appeared to be an effective mitigation method for alleviating conflicts between beekeepers and bee-eaters. However, the study also showed that bees were able to differentiate between their main predator and other avian species trapped in mist nets and stung only bee-eaters. Moreover, the bees were targeting the most vulnerable body parts of birds which resulted in some bird fatalities. Therefore, due to accidental mortal- ity of birds, mist-netting is recommended only on the migratory routes in cases when bee hives cannot be moved to other areas.
Alfallah, H.M., Alfituri, M., & Hmuda M. (2010). The impact of bee-eater Merops apiaster on the behavior of honey bee Apis mellifera L. during foraging. Journal of Plant Protection and Pathology, Mansoura University, 1, 1023-1034.
Al-Ghzawi, A.A.A., Zaitoun, S.T., & Shannag, H.K. (2009). Incidence and geographical distribution of honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) pests in Jordan. Annales de la Société Entomologique de France (N.S.), 45, 305-308. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00379271.2009.10697615
Ali, M.A. (2012). Definition, survey, monitoring and efficiency of directions of bird-trapping nets for trapping the bee-eating birds (Merops: Meropidae) attacking honey bee colonies. International Journal of Scientific and Engineering Research, 3(1), 1-8.
AL-Samie, M.A., Ali, M., & Taha, E.L.-K.A. (2012). Bee-eating birds (Coraciiformes: Meropidae) reduce virgin honey bee queen survival during mating flights and foraging activity of honey bees (Apis mellifera L.). International Journal of Scientific and Engineering Research, 3(6), 1-8.
Belina, D., Daba, T., Eshetu, A., & Giro, B. (2016). Identification of major honeybee pests and predators’ and associated risk factors: Emphasis to bee-eater birds (Meropidae) in west Shewa zone of Oromia regional state, Ethiopia. Livestock Research for Rural Development, 28, Article #217.
Bellis, G.A., & Profke, A.M. (2003). Rainbow bee-eaters (Merops ornatus) as a monitoring tool for honeybees (Apis mellifera L.; Hymenoptera: Apidae). Australian Journal of Entomology, 42, 266-270. DOI: 10.1046/j.1440-6055.2003.00356.x
Brochet, A.-L., Van Den Bossche, W., Jour, S., Ndang’ang’a, P.K., Jones, V.R., Abdou, W.A.L.I., ... Butchart, S.H.M. (2016). Preliminary assessment of the scope and scale of illegal killing and taking of birds in the Mediterranean. Bird Conservation International, 26, 1-28. DOI: 10.1017/S0959270915000416
Chirosa, M. & Orantes, F.J. (2003). Estudio de la incidencia del abejaruco (Merops apiaster) en los colmenares de la Comunidad Autónoma andaluza [CD]. Consejería de Medio Ambiente, Junta de Andalucía.
Cramp, S., & Simmons, K. (1985). Handbook of the Birds of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa: The Birds of the Western Palearctic: Terns to Woodpeckers. Volume 4. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
De Jong, D. (1990). Insects: Hymenoptera (ants, wasps, and bees). In Honey bee pests, predators, and diseases. (pp. 135-155). Ithaca, New York, USA: Cornell University Press.
Dhindsa, M.S., & Saini, H.K. (1994). Agricultural ornithology: an Indian perspective. Journal of Biosciences, 19, 391-402. DOI: 10.1007/BF02703176
Dukas, R. (2001). Effects of predation risk on pollinators and plants. In Cognitive ecology of pollination. (pp. 214-236). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
El-Sarrag, M.S.A. (1993). Studies of Some Factors Affecting Rearing of Queen Honeybees (Apis mellifera L.) Under Riyadh Conditions. Agricultural Research Centre, King Saud University, Research Bulletin, 41, 30-41.
Esmaili, M. (1974). Bee-eaters - a problem for bee-keepers in Iran. American Bee Journal, 114, 136-137.
Fry, C.H. (1983). Honeybee predation by bee-eaters, with economic considerations. Bee World, 64, 65-78.
Fry, C.H., & Fry, K. (2010). Kingfishers, bee-eaters and rollers. A&C Black.
Galeotti, P., & Inglisa, M. (2001). Estimating predation impact on honeybees Apis mellifera L. by European bee-eaters Merops apiaster L. Revue d’Ecologie (la Terre et la Vie), 56, 373-388.
Glaiim, M.K. (2014). Occurrence and status of bee-eaters, Merops spp. (Coraciiformes: Meropidae), and their attacks on honey bee colonies in Kerbala Province, Iraq. Journal of Apicultural Research, 53, 478-488. http://dx.doi.org/10.3896/IBRA.1.53.4.04
Goulson, D., Nicholls, E., Botías, C., & Rotheray, E.L. (2015). Bee declines driven by combined stress from parasites, pesticides, and lack of flowers. Science, 347, 1435–1445. DOI: 10.1126/science.1255957
Gulbahar, O., Mete, N., Ardeniz, O., Onbasi, K., Kokuludag, A., Sin, A., Sebik, F. (2003). Laryngeal edema due to European bee-eater (Merops apiaster) in a patient allergic to honeybee. Allergy, 58, 453. DOI: 10.1034/j.1398-9995.2003.00125.x
Gyurácz, J., Nagy, K., Fuisz, T.I., Karcza, Z., Szép, T. (2013). European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster Linnaeus, 1758) in Hungary: a review. Ornis Hungarica, 21(2), 1-22. https://doi.org/10.2478/orhu-2014-0001
Hussein, M.H. (2000). Beekeeping in Africa. I – North, East, North-East and West African Countries. Apiacta, 1, 32-48.
Hussein, M.H., Rateb, S.H., Ali, A.M., & Morsi, M.A. (2001). Seasonal activity of some predators of honeybee colonies in Assiut region, Egypt. In Proceedings of 1st Conference on Safe Alternative Pesticides for Pest Management (329-348). Assiut University, Egypt.
Potts, S.G., Biesmeijer, J.C., Kremen, C., Neumann, P., Schweiger, O., Kunin, W.E. (2010). Global pollinator declines: trends, impacts and drivers. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 25, 345-353. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2010.01.007
Ranabhat, N.B., & Tamrakar, A.S. (2009). Natural enemies of honey bees Apis cerana F and associated problems in beekeeping in Kaski, W Nepal. Journal of Natural History Museum, 24, 89-95.
Robertson, H.M., & Wanner, K.W. (2006). The chemoreceptor superfamily in the honey bee, Apis mellifera: Expansion of the odorant, but not gustatory, receptor family. Genome Research, 16, 1395-1403. DOI: 10.1101/gr.5057506
Robinson, W.S. (1981). Beekeeping in Jordan. Bee World, 52, 57-67.
Siefferman, L., Wang, Y.-J., Wang, Y.-P., & Yuan, H.W. (2007). Sexual dichromatism, dimorphism, and condition dependent coloration in blue-tailed bee-eaters. Condor, 109, 577-584.
Spotswood, E.N., Roesch Goodman, K., Carlisle, J., Cormier, R.L., Humple, D.L., Rousseau, J., ... Barton, G.G. (2012). How safe is mist netting? evaluating the risk of injury and mortality to birds. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 3, 29-38. DOI: 10.1111/j.2041-210X.2011.00123.x
Tucker, G.M. & Heath, M.F. (1994). Birds in Europe: their conservation status. Cambridge, U.K.
Tutkun, E. (1982). Research on the definition, distribution, bioecology, economic importance and a new control method of Merops apiaster, harmful to honeybees in Central Anatolia. Bitki-Koruma-Bulteni, 22, 148-159.
Yirga, G., Koru, B., Kidane, D., & Mebrahatu, A. (2012). Assessment of beekeeping practices in Asgede Tsimbla district, Northern Ethiopia: Absconding, bee forage and bee pests. African Journal of Agricultural Research, 7, 1-5. DOI: 10.5897/AJAR10.1071
Yosef, R. (2004). Resolving the apiculture and migratory bee-eater (Merops apiaster) conflict in the Arava valley, Israel. In Advances in Vertebrate Pest Management, Vol. III. (pp. 117-122). Filander Verlag.
Yosef, R., & Markovets, M. (2009). Spring bird migration phenology in Eilat, Israel. Zookeys, 31, 193-210. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.31.107
Yosef, R., Markovets, M., Mitchell, L., & Tryjanowski, P. (2006). Body condition as a determinant for stopover in Bee-eaters on spring migration in the Arava Valley, southern Israel. Journal of Arid Environments, 62, 401-411. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaridenv.2005.06.012
Bortolotti, G.R. (2006). Natural selection and avian coloration: protection, concealment, advertisement or deception? In Bird Coloration. Volume 2: Function and Evolution (pp. 3-35) Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Cramp, S., & Simmons, K. (1985). Handbook of the Birds of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa: The Birds of the Western Palearctic: Terns to Woodpeckers. Volume 4. Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Cunard, S.J., & Breed, M.D. (1998). Post-stinging behavior of worker honey bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 91, 754-757. https://doi.org/10.1093/aesa/91.5.754
Kastberger, G., & Sharma, D.K. (2000). The predator-prey interaction between blue-bearded bee eaters (Nyctyornis athertoni Jardine and Selby 1830) and giant honeybees (Apis dorsata Fabricius 1798). Apidologie, 31, 727-736. https://doi.org/10.1051/apido:2000157
Negro, J.J., Bortolotti, G.R., & Sarasola, J.H. (2007). Deceptive plumage signals in birds: manipulation of predators or prey? Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 90, 467-477.