IberiaNature A guide to the natural history of Spain
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Bees in Spain /Beekeeping in Spain

The earliest known record of humans harvesting honey in the world is from La Cueva de la Araña in Bicorp, Valencia from 7,000-8,000 years ago.

There are reckoned to be some 720,000 million domestic bees in Spain, the largest bee herd in Europe, which pans out at 18,000 bees per inhabitant. These are divided among 2.4 million hives -around 30,000 bees per hive. Total honey production is around 30,000 metric tons a year (2003 figures), the largest producer in Europe. Multifloral (milflores- a thousand flowers) is the most common type. Orange blossom, thymes, rosmary and heathers are typical local single flower varities, some which are protected by 'Denominaciones de Origen' . There are some 26.000 beekeepers of which 6,000 are professional

Unfortunately these figures have been decimated between 2004 and 2005 by a mysterious diesease, excellently known in Castilian as desabejación or desabejamiento (de-beeing) which has wiped out 40% of Spain's bee flock. In parts of Spain 70% of hives have been affected, though the strange geography of epidemics means that there are areas where just 10% of bees have died right next to pockets of 90% mortality. Adapted from this excellent article with much more details on bee disappearance here. 40% of Spanish bees die in unknown circumstances (FAPAS- Spanish). Beekeeping is also increasingly beset by rock bottom honey imports from China, selling at 1 euro a kilo, well below anything Spanish bee-keepers can compete with.

  • bee: abeja; abella (Cat.)
  • bubble bee : abejorro; borinot (Cat)
  • honeybee : abeja melera
  • drone: zángano; abellot (Cat.)
  • honeycomb; panel; bresca (Cat)
  • beehive : colmena : truébanu (Ast.); rusc (Cat.); arna (Cat.)
  • place with beehives : colmenar
  • bee-keeper : apicultor (Cast and Cat)
  • bee-keeping : apicultura (Cast and Cat)
  • cortines (Gal.) : dry stone walls built around beehives to protect them from bears.
  • nurse bee: obrera nodriza; obrera dida (Cat)
  • carpenter bee: abeja carpintero; xilocopa (Cat)
  • bee-eater: abejaruco común : abellerol (Cat): Merops apiaster

External links

  • Beekeeping in Spain (comprehensive and worth reading with things like this" the Spanish bee is 'somewhat aggressive'.... To the beekeeper, it is small, black, and a good honey producer, but you don't beekeep in shorts and a T shirt.)
  • Mallorcan bee-keeping page (Spanish - lots of info on bee-keeping in Spain)

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