Dwarf Red Honeybee is the ‘only’ naturally growing species in Kuwait PAAAFR has variety of specially grown indigenous plants

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 15: This is the flowering season in Kuwait and Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) is ready with a variety of specially grown indigenous plants to attract the bees and the butterflies.

Speaking to the Arab Times on Tuesday, Entomology Specialist at PAAAFR, Mohammed Marafie, said as a result of a project undertaken four years ago to revive and protect local species of plants, the authority’s premises in Ardiya now have a rich collection of native plants some of which could have gone extinct if not for the timely intervention of environmental experts.

About 13 indigenous species are growing under secure conditions in PAAAFR. These species will be used to rehabilitate Kuwaiti deserts and for landscaping purposes. Some of the most valued plants include Arfaj, Rimth, Artha and Labbaith.

Most of these plants are flowering plants and with onset of the flowering season, entomologists are excited at the prospect of the spurt in insect life. As an apiculturist, Mohammed Marafie sees an opportunity to study more about bees in this season.

The most widely sighted bee in Kuwait is the Dwarf Red Honeybee, which is of a wild type. PAAAFR gets frequent calls from people harassed by this variety of bee. It’s an aggressive bee.

Marafie says that surprisingly these wild bees compete with the cultured bees to gather nectar from the same blossoms, “which is an interesting sight to watch.”

Summer and winter in Kuwait are hard for bees to survive, and so their activities are minimal during these seasons. Marafie said that hobbyists resort to artificial methods to create conducive environments for bees to survive during non-seasons, and produce honey.

The Dwarf Red Honeybee is the only naturally growing bee species in Kuwait. These bees are very hardy bees and are believed to have flown into Kuwait via Saudi Arabia, originally hailing from Thailand.

Artificial

All the other species of bees in Kuwait are grown by apiculturists through artificial methods as there are few trees or plants that bees can subsist on. Bees can’t survive in the deserts. In summer, the bees will die of heat if not placed in climate-controlled environs.

 Apiculturists in Kuwait prefer areas that are shaded and away from wind to pursue their hobby. Thickly wooded areas are ideal for bees as such areas remain cool in summer and warm in winter.

The Dwarf Red Honeybees are spread all over Kuwait and seen in large concentrations in Khaldiya, Bayan, Khaitan and Mishref. They are known to invade houses. They are highly adaptive, and colonize areas of houses such as a window in the kitchen, or places that are cold and moist. They build hives on trees or attics, which are shaded and abandoned. They are also known to build hives on palm trees and different ornamental trees.

Talking about the entomological scene in Kuwait, Marafie noted that deserts in Kuwait are almost fully destroyed, and the indigenous species are probably finding it so hard to survive. When the plants are destroyed, nature is so interconnected that even the fauna gets destroyed.

Marafie said that people don’t have any restrictions, they just go out into the desert and drive over the plants and shrubs and destroy them. “When you kill the plants, you kill the insects. There is a preserve in the North of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Preserve. There are a lot of plants, animals and insects preserved there.

“The recent project undertaken by PAAAFR is an effort to preserve Kuwait’s biodiversity.”

Marafie cited the example of people camping in the deserts. “Earlier the camping period in the deserts was only 15 or 20 days. But now it extends from October to March. So people spend more time in the deserts, and as a result the environment is getting more destroyed.

“It’s a whole natural cycle. When it rains in the desert, there is vegetation, they bear fruits, animals and birds eat them and scatter the seeds. The seeds get buried in the soil and when the next rain comes, they sprout. This way cycle of life continues. But that’s not happening now. The plants are dead before they bear seeds and the cycle is disrupted.”


By: Valiya S. Sajjad Arab Times Staff

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