Using the biological and chemical diversity in Iranian honey for successful beekeeping and bee care

In arid and semi-arid countries like Iran honey bees always face the risk of food shortage and beekeeping is threatened by economic loss. Despite these natural obstacles Iran has been among the top 15 honey producers of the world during the recent years showing the importance of beekeeping and the high potential of honey production in the country. The traditional beekeeping practices in Iran however, suffer from the lack of knowledge about the pollination and foraging behaviors of bees. Beekeepers and farmers both are willing to increase their harvest but beekeepers know little about the plants which bees need to produce more honey and farmers are not aware of the positive effects of pollination on their crops, herbs and trees. In Iran many farmers refuse to accept beekeepers as they think bees harm their plants. Furthermore, beekeepers instead of finding the best location to establish their apiaries and the best time and root to migrate during the year, feed their bees with inappropriate food and exotic pollen.
Therefore, investigating the biological (palynological) and chemical diversity in honey can provide the following information that is very beneficial for farmers, beekeepers and bees:

  • The main plant species that bees use to produce honey in Iranian natural and agricultural landscapes. This knowledge helps the beekeepers for a better management of their practices to enhance the yield by locating the hives in the correct landscape and moving their apiaries according to the natural phenology of plant that their bees like. Therefore bees will lose less energy for collecting pollen and nectar.
  • The chemical composition of produced honey according to the diet of bees. This information helps to find if the bees are fed by inappropriate foods and to inform the beekeepers about the effect of this material on the chemical composition, quality and international marketability of their honey as well as the health of their bees.

Principal Investigator:
Dr. Elmira Khansaritoreh

Funded by: Bayer and QSI GmbH