The book "Beeplants of South Africa" is launched

Thousands of honey bee colonies are used every year to pollinate important crops across South Africa. More than 50 crops in South Africa reply on insect pollination. However it is often difficult for beekeepers to sustain their colonies after the blossom season is over. For honey bee populations to withstand pests (e.g. Varroa mite) and diseases (e.g. American Foulbrood), as well as some degree of pesticide exposure, a healthy diet is crucial for a fully-functioning immune system. Beekeepers use a variety of flowering plants species to provide forage (food) for their colonies through the year. Eucalyptus trees, certain crop species, indigenous trees and shrubs, and even urban gardens and roadside weeds are used to provide the pollen (protein) and nectar (carbohydrates) that the honeybees need to build a strong and healthy colony.

Beeplants book“Beeplants of South Africa” is a review of plants utilised by honey bees in the region. Data in the book shows a “bee plant value” for each plant species that gives an indication of how valuable the species are as honey bee forage. The book also contains additional information such as the flowering times of species, its common name, its morphology, its distribution and origin. Colour photographs of the main honey plants, as well as some representatives of important beeplant groups, are provided as a first step in plant identification.

The book contains an extensive index to the scientific as well as English and Afrikaans common names used in the publication. This book will assist beekeepers, farmers, landscapers, gardeners and restoration experts with more information about plants they can consider conserving or growing. We also hope that this book is valuable to many other audiences into the future as we learn to protect and grow our honey bee forage resources sustainably.

SANBI and the pollination and honey bee forage projects: This book contributes to the outcomes of the Global Pollination Project and the Honeybee Forage Project, both implemented by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) between 2010 and 2015. The Global Pollination Project (Conservation and Management of Pollinators for Sustainable Agriculture through an Ecosystem Approach) was implemented in 7 countries – Brazil, Ghana, India, Kenya, Nepal, Pakistan and South Africa. . Outputs of both projects are available on www.sanbi.org/pollination-honeybees and include case studies, academic papers, InfoSheets, and a short film. How to order the book: The book (ISBN 978-1-928224-17-4) is available in hardcover A4. Price: R450.00. It can be purchased from the SANBI Bookshop by contacting Thomas Mapheza at bookshop@sanbi.org.za or T.mapheza@sanbi.org.za or Tel: 012 843 5000.