Bees, apiculture and the new world (Abejas, apicultura y el nuevo mundo)

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Abstract
In the New World, some stingless bees were kept by the native population. In Central America, maya beekeepers worked with Mellipona beecheii, in Yucatan and adjacent regions. The arrival in North America of the first beehives was in 1691 and it were sent to Virginia by the Council of the Virginia Company in London. Concerning the introduction to Central and South America the first ones arrived from Spain and Portugal towards the end of the 18th century, probably to Brazil. Prior to 1800, the european breeds taken to America were probably Apis mellifera mellifera and Apis mellifera iberica. At the turn of the century, a new european breed was imported from Italy (Apis mellifera ligustica). American apiculture has used these breeds and crossbreeds virtually up to the present day. In 1956, tropical african queens of the breed Apis mellifera scutellata were introduced to Brazil. Its crosses involving european breeds gave rise to africanized bees, which have spread over almost the whole of South, Central and North America.
Resumen
Los nativos del Nuevo Mundo utilizaban algunas abejas sin aguijón. En América Central los apicultores mayas trabajaron, en el Yucatán y regiones adyacentes, con Mellipona beecheii. Los nativos del Nuevo Mundo utilizaban algunas abejas sin aguijón. En América Central los apicultores mayas trabajaron, en el Yucatán y regiones adyacentes, con Mellipona beecheii. La llegada a América del Norte de las primeras colmenas se produjo en 1691. Fueron enviadas a Virginia desde Inglaterra por la Virginia Company. Las primeras colmenas enviadas a América Central y del Sur, probablemente a Brasil, a finales del siglo XVIII, procedían de España y Portugal. Antes de 1800 las razas europeas llevadas a Amé-rica fueron, probablemente, Apis mellifera mellifera y Apis mellifera iberica. A fin de siglo se introduce otra (Apis mellifera ligustica) procedente de Italia. La apicultura americana ha empleado las razas mencionadas y sus cruces, hasta nuestros días. En 1956 se introdujeron en Brasil reinas de Apis mellifera scutellata, procedentes de Africa tropical. Las abejas procedentes de su cruce con razas europeas, ?africanizadas?, se han extendido por casi la totalidad del continente americano.

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AMERICAN APICULTURE
BEES, APICULTURE AND THE NEW WORLD
ABEJAS, APICULTURA Y EL NUEVO MUNDO
Padilla, F., F. Puerta, J.M. Flores and M. Bustos.
Departamento de Ciencias Morfológicas. Facultad de Veterinaria. Universidad de Córdoba. 14005
Córdoba. España.
Palabras clave adicionalesAdditional Keywords
Apis mellifera. América. Colonización.Apis mellifera. America. Colonization.
SUMMARY
In the New World, some stingless bees were regiones adyacentes, con Mellipona beecheii. La
kept by the native population. In Central America, llegada a América del Norte de las primeras col-
maya beekeepers worked with Mellipona beecheii, menas se produjo en 1691. Fueron enviadas a
in Yucatan and adjacent regions. The arrival in Virginia desde Inglaterra por la Virginia Company.
North America of the first beehives was in 1691 Las primeras colmenas enviadas a América Cen-
and it were sent to Virginia by the Council of the tral y del Sur, probablemente a Brasil, a finales del
Virginia Company in London. siglo XVIII, procedían de España y Portugal. Antes
Concerning the introduction to Central and de 1800 las razas europeas llevadas a Amé-rica
South America the first ones arrived from Spain fueron, probablemente, Apis mellifera mellifera y
thand Portugal towards the end of the 18 century, Apis mellifera iberica. A fin de siglo se introduce
probably to Brazil. Prior to 1800, the european otra (Apis mellifera ligustica) procedente de Italia.
breeds taken to America were probably Apis La apicultura americana ha empleado las ra-
mellifera mellifera and Apis mellifera iberica. At the zas mencionadas y sus cruces, hasta nuestros
turn of the century, a new european breed was días. En 1956 se introdujeron en Brasil reinas de
imported from Italy (Apis mellifera ligustica). Apis mellifera scutellata, procedentes de Africa
American apiculture has used these breeds tropical. Las abejas procedentes de su cruce con
and crossbreeds virtually up to the present day. razas europeas, “africanizadas”, se han extendi-
In 1956, tropical african queens of the breed Apis do por casi la totalidad del continente americano.
mellifera scutellata were introduced to Brazil. Its
crosses involving european breeds gave rise to
africanized bees, which have spread over almost BEES: ORIGIN AND BREEDS
the whole of South, Central and North America.
The earliest bee fossils date from
is assumed that social behavior andRESUMEN
Los nativos del Nuevo Mundo utilizaban algu-
nas abejas sin aguijón. En América Central los
apicultores mayas trabajaron, en el Yucatán y
Arch. Zootec. 41 (extra): 563-567. 1992. Archivos de zootecnia, vol. 41, núm. 154 (extra), p. 563.
A. mellife- cies; the common honey bee
includes five spe- Apis The genus
tandem.
worker morphology have evolved in
approximately 40 million years ago. ItPADILLA et al.
A.
and the small honey bee A.
florea (probably the closest living teristics that indicate its relation to
Apis mellifera is thought to have
originated in the African tropics or
subtropics and migrated later to
extends from the southern tip of Apis mellifera iberica (Goetze,
Africa though the savannah, rain
is found in the Iberian peninsula. It
the Mediterranean, before reaching
the limits of its range in northern They are generally larger in size,
Europe and southern Scandinavia.
bital index drastically reduced to
that numerous subspecies of honey
Apis mellifera ligustica
divides it into three distinct groups:
Only two European breeds ( A.
mellifera mellifera and A. mellifera with relatively long tongues (6.3 to
6.6 mm) and abdomens with bright
breed ( A. mellifera ligustica ) began
century. In 1956 a new breed from
Apis mellifera scutellata (Le-
was to have a great influence on the peletier, 1836). This bee, from the
actual state of apiculture in the savannahs of central and equatorial
A. mellifera mellifera
1758). Found from the Pyrenees to
the Urals, from Scotland and South The movement of the breeds of
Scandinavia to Provence. They are honey bees all over the world for
beekeeping has changed the natural
(5.7 to 6.4 mm) and a cubital index range of each breed and resulted in
below 2.0. The common names are
.
Archivos de zootecnia, vol. 41, núm. 154 (extra), p. 564.
considerable hybridization
large bees, with relatively short tongues
absconds frequently.
is highly aggressive and swarms and (Linnaeus,
short tongue, forewing and hind leg;
East Africa, is small with a relatively American continent.
), which A. mellifera escutellata Africa (
to varying environments. to be introduced at the end of the 19th
and have a high capacity for adapting
yellow bands. They tend to be docile by the first colonizers. Other European
) were introduced to America iberica
throughout the world. They are small,
most popular honey bee for beekeeping Oriental (little known).
(Iatly) of distribution, it has been the European (well studied), African and
1806). With the smallest original area
(Spinola, . Ruttner (1988) A. mellifera breeds of
We know 24 taxonomic groups or
and an excessive use of propolis. characteristics adapted to each region.
tendency, a high stinging propensity bees are found, each with distinctive
cribed as nervous with high swarming
values below 2.0. Its behaviour is des- conditions and flora, it is not surprising
With such a variety of habitats, climatic
with relatively short wings and a cu-
has never been properly described.
forest, desert, and the mild climate of
1964). This mediterranean honeybee
western Asia and Europe. The breed
well behaved in severe climates.
derable use of propolis. In winter it is
irritable, aggressive and have consi-
the North African bee; it is nervous, descendant of the earliest honey bees).
This bee shows behavioural charac- cerana
Dark Bee or Brown , German or , the Indian honey bee A. laboriosa
French , English or European Black Bee and A. dorsata , the giant honey bee raAMERICAN APICULTURE
BEES AND THE COLONIZA- records about beekeeping were kept
TION OF AMERICA.
Various insects and bees around the
european bees combine high honey
In America some stingless bees taining the so-called castilian bees)
were kept by the native population.
The maya codex Tro-Cortesianus at the beginning of the 19 century
(the first hives probably arrived in
contained the breed A. mellifera
with the specie Mellipona beecheii,
the transportation of the beehives
zers the indians of Yucatan were
Crown was obliged to provide the
The arrival in North America of
In a letter dated 5 December 1621,
and Cuba was scarce and of poor
quality, it had to be imported from
and Council in Virginia it states
have by this ship and the Discovery Wax was exported from Spain in
sent you... and beehives , probably
these beehives contained the A.
portance from the mid 17 century
gressed rapidly. The climate in the
quickly. The rapid expansion of the
european bees was probably due to
their predominance over the indige-
nous insects, or more likely to the ru from there. Bees are presumed to
Between the arrival of european le, specifically Mendoza province,
bees to America and the end of the
18th century, few and contradictory to distinguish them from the italian
17..
Archivos de zootecnia, vol. 41, núm. 154 (extra), p. 565.
and in time came to be known as criol
have arrived in Argentina from Chi- absence of competitive insects.
and were distributed to Chile and Pe-
The first beehives arrived in Brazil
ted to become important at this time).
(American commercial apiculture star- colonies was good and they developed
century until the beginning of the 18
th
The bees brought to America pro-
th
nish exportations started gaining im- mellifera mellifera
). Spa- Marquetas containers known as
two forms, worked and unworked (in
Spain. We
Company in London to its Governor
sent from the Council of the Virginia
from the indigenous bees of Yucatan
the churches. Because the wax obtained the first beehives is well documented.
wine, oil and wax used during mass in
payment in wax and honey.
, the Spanish Recopilaciones 6 of the and food, although they also allowed
According to Law 3. title 9, book mainly of clothing (mostly blankets)
by the study of the wax trade. obliged to pay tributes which consisted
we can make an indirect approximation
from the Iberian peninsula to America, With the arrival of spanish coloni-
res of clay or stone.
Although no exact data exist about using horizontal logs with end enclosu-
iberica
ked in Yucatan and adjacent regions
Brazil between 1800 and 1839); they honey combs. Maya beekeepers wor-
shows drawings of bees and parts of
th
and Portugal arrived in South America
Beehives coming from Spain (con- ject to manipulation by man.
and crossed the Appalachians. production with the ability to be sub-
setts by 1640 and around 1800 reached
century. Bees reached Massachu- world produce honey, but only some
th
the english colonies at the end of the
Honey became a common food in
on this continent.PADILLA et al.
research and study of these prolific,
probably introduced into Central A- In 1957 some colonies swarmed
merica at the same time, depending
between the african breed and the
Apiculture began in the second american bees. The resulting bees,
half of the 18 century in Cuba. Bi- being different from the local ones,
were referred to by beekeepers as
was the first to introduce it when in , and the term has been
1762, coming back from exile in
Swarms of africanized bees esta-
with him of the type then known as
open cavities (the european breeds
THAMERICAN BEES IN THE 19 grow quickly. The colonies swarm
THAND 20 CENTURIES
The Italian bee ( A. mellifera ce ten times as many swarms as
) was brought to America
from Italy at the end of the 19 cen-
same area, africanized drones drift
into european colonies, whereas
european drones rarely drift into
In this situation a virgin queen of
principally in the USA which intro-
They were first introduced in the area of distribution continually, ad-
vancing 300 km and more per year
Larrain Gandarrillas introduced the and showing that they adapt to the
breed industrially exploited in In 30 years these bees spread
throughout almost all of South and
A. mellifera scutellata breed) from
the south of Brazil (Piracicaba) for
(,africanized.
Archivos de zootecnia, vol. 41, núm. 154 (extra), p. 566.
USA.
tina to Mexico and the border of the Transvaal and Tanzania were sent to
nized bees have spread from Argen-
Central America. At present the africa- In 1956 African honey bee queens
America.
african environment. was the favorite A. mellifera ligustica
american environment as well as the first 50 beehives into Brazil in 1848).
USA, Argentina and Brazil (D. Patricio
The africanized bees increase their that are utilized now.
nized than with european drones. duced innovations and modifications
much more likely to mate with africa-
either africanized or european bees is happened small apicultural revolutions
At the time that italian bees arrived,
zed than european drones are present. and took the place of other breeds.
, many more africani- mixed area in a docile, was adopted by the beekeepers
africanized colonies. For this reason nent and because these bees are very
adapted rapidly to the American conti-
peans emigrated). The ligustica breed
the years 1820-1930 (50 million euro-
and european bees are present in the tury, with the big migrations between
When colonies of both africanized
th
European bees. ligustica
after their establishment) and produ-
when they are smaller (5 to 7 weeks
queens lay more eggs and the colonies
need bigger cavities and closed), the
castillian bees.
blish nests in smaller closed or partially
Florida, he brought several beehives
generally adopted.
shop Morell of Santa Cruz probably
th
on where the colonizers came from.
and as a result there was hybridization
productive and vigorous bees Mellifera and iberica breeds were
bees, which were brought over later.AMERICAN APICULTURE
The beekeepers have problems lations and of honey crops. Another
and absconding from hives create a apiary sites, because the bees are
consequent reduction in hive popu-
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more aggressive.
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