Author Topic: Definition, Survey, Monitoring and Efficiency of Directions of Bird-Trapping Net  (Read 4311 times)

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Author : Ali, M. A. M.
International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research Volume 3, Issue 1, January-2012
ISSN 2229-5518
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Abstract- Experiment was carried out during 2009 and 2010 in two honey bee apiaries belong to Agricultural Extension Department, Ministry of Agriculture, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The results showed that there were three species of bee-eaters belonging to family (Meropidae) in the considered location, European bee-eater (Merops apiaster Linnaeus, 1758); Olive bee-eater (Merops superciliosus Linnaeus, 1766) and Green bee-eater (Meropa orientalis Latham, 1802). The three species recorded were migratory and they were found in the apiaries during two seasons (spring and autumn). In spring, they were first appearance in the bird-trapping nets on March 28, 2009, and on April 02, 2010, meanwhile, they were last time in the bird-trapping nets on May 01, 2009 and April 20, 2010. In autumn season, they appeared in the considered apiaries on September 23, 2009 and October 11, 2010, meanwhile, the last time they were appeared in the apiaries on November 04, 2009 and November 01, 2010. Results suggest that the direction of bird-trapping nets significantly affected the number of trapped bee-eaters, the placing of bird-trapping nets in the east side of the apiary and above the apiary led to a significant trapping of  more of bee-eaters than when placed in west, north and south directions. In addition, no significant difference was found in trapped bee-eaters during the two inspection periods, in the morning (9 am) and in the evening (5 pm).

Key words- Honey bees, Apis mellifera, bee-eating birds, Merops, Merobidae, European bee-eater (Merops apiaster), Olive bee-eater (Merops superciliosus), Green bee-eater (Merops orientalis), definition, survey, monitoring, bird-trapping nets.
Bee-eating birds belong to the genus Merops constitute a characteristic part of the bird fauna. Most species are to be found in the savanna biotope and are approximately equally distributed through the tropical part of the continent. The staple diet consists of hymenopters (Order: Hymenoptera), principally honey bees which are captured in flight. The morphological and ecological differences within the group are remarkably small with consideration to the large number of species (18 African). [1] stated that the family: Meropidae includes 24 species, which are divided among seven genera. However, [2] has proposed a reduction from seven to only three genera. They are widely distributed and listed as a problem to beekeepers and beekeeping endeavors in many parts of the world, particularly in Africa and Asia, where they preying on bee yards and in conjunction with honey bee queen-rearing operations [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9]. [10] reported that the bee-eaters particularly dangerous to the beekeeping operation because of the tendency of some of the species to attack bees in an apiary in flocks of up to 250 birds. They are found throughout the temperate and tropical areas of the old world; most species are migratory, at least on a local basis [11]. [12] observed 47 species bee-eating birds near the apiaries in Thailand, over 47 species observed nine of the m consumed honey bees, but Merops leschenaulti and M. orientalis ate appreciable numbers. [13] stated that the birds Nectarina asiatica and Merops orientalis, were major predators of A. mellifera in India. [14] studied bee-eaters at sites in southern and central Slovakia, samples of pellets and food remains revealed the presence of 1786 prey objects from over 160 insect species. Although diet diversity was high, honey bees were (28.2-42.4%) and bumble bees, Bombus spp. (16.1-39.5%), constituted the main part of the diet at all sites. He also concluded that of the honey bees (Apis mellifera) caught, 53.5% were drones and 46.5% were workers. [15] found that the birds preyed upon drones extremely sporadically and not in a specific way. Hence, their findings had decisive consequences for apiculture, especially for the evolution of drone accumulation in congregation areas.
European bee-eaters (Merops apiaster) are migratory, diurnal birds that spend most of their time foraging for food. They have a broad distribution covering much of Europe and Africa with range estimates up to 11,000,000 square km. These migratory birds can be found as far north as Finland and range as far south as South Africa, extending east into some Asiatic countries as well. Most commonly, European bee-eaters usually breed and nest in southern Europe, then migrate south during autumn and winter [16], [17]. They may cause significant damage to a hive if they prey upon the queen [18], meanwhile, [19] listed European bee-eaters as a species of least concern by IUCN. Although their numbers have been declining over the past decade, the population (480,000 to 1,000,000 breeding individuals) is still well above any level of threat. [20], [21] found that European bee-eater (M. apiaster) has been documented to live up to 5.9 years in the wild, and [22], [23] stated that mixed colonies of European bee-eaters and blue-cheeked bee-eaters can be found foraging together without competition because of minimal diet overlap.
Green bee-eater (Meropa orientalis) feed on flying insects and can sometimes be nuisance to beekeepers [24], their preferred prey was mostly beetles followed by hymenopterans, but Orthopterans appear to be avoided [25], they are sometimes known to take crabs [26]. Like most other birds, they regurgitate the hard parts of their prey as pellets [27], an endoparasitic nematodes (Torquatoides balanocephala) that live in the gizzard has been found [28].
Different methods were used to protect honey bee (A. mellifera) colonies against predation by Merops sp. These methods included scaring the birds by drum beating and stone pelting loud noises, scarecrows scaring the birds, including various sound-producing devices and recorded, amplified distress calls made by an injured bee-eater; shooting the birds, poisoning, killing some of them and using net made from nylon [8], [12], [29], [30]. [31] applied three control measures to protect honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies against predation by Merops orientalis. These included (A) scaring the birds by drum beating and stone pelting, (B) killing some of them and (C) keeping the colonies in poplar (Populus deltoides) plantations. The latter practice was found to be the most effective, and measures at A and B were completely ineffective.
The aim of the presence study was to identify the species of bee-eating birds attack honey bee colonies in the Central Region of Saudi Arabia. It also aimed to monitor the bee-eater for recording their appearance in the apiaries in the considered locations, and the time when they spend in the area. It was planned to evaluate the efficiency of the direction of bird-trapping nets for trapping the bee-eaters to protect honey bees from their attack.

Experiment was carried out during 2009 and 2010 in two apiaries belong to Agricultural Extension Department, Ministry of Agriculture, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The honey bee colonies in each apiary are placed in permanent chute (tenet) made from steel columns and its ceiling made from isolated sheets, to keep honey bee colonies from very high air temperature during summer season. Each apiary was about 75 meters in length and 7 meters in width. The number of honey bee colonies in each apiary was 120 colonies of indigenous bees (A. mellifera jemenitica Ruttner). Each colony was about seven frames covered with adult bees and about three frames of brood. The distance between the two apiaries was about 600 m.

2.1 Preparation and Setting the Bird-Trapping Nets In The Apiaries
Sixteen bird-trapping nets made from black nylon, each one gauge 15 meters in length and 2 meters in width were used for survey, monitoring, trapping the bee-eating birds and for evaluation the direction of nets for trapping them. Eight bird-trapping nets were used in each apiary; they were placed and distributed in each apiary in five directions as follows:
1.   Two were placed in front of the apiary (East direction).
2.   Two were placed behind the apiary (West direction).
3.   One was placed in left side of the apiary (North direction).
4.   One was placed in right side of the apiary (South direction).
5.   Two were placed above the apiary (above the chute).
The bird-trapping nets were left in the apiary for trapping bee-eating birds for two years, and they were renewed when damaged. Birds caught were removed from the nets continually as soon as they trapped; they were collected, counted and tabled two times/ day, in the morning (9 am) and in the evening (5 pm) during the presence of the bee-eating birds in the apiaries.

2.2 Species of Bee-Eating Birds Attack Honey Bee Colonies In The Considered Area
The bee-eating birds caught in the bird-trapping nets were described and identified depending on the following characteristics: the shape of the body; length and weight of the bird; the shape of the beak; colours of the feathers; the face, chin, throat, chest, flanks and belly, the shape and colour of eyes, mandible, crown, nape, tail, legs, and the shape of the feet, length of wing [32], [33], [21], [34], [35], [36].

2.3 Survey And Monitoring The Bee-Eating Birds In The Considered Area
Survey and monitoring the bee-eating birds during four seasons (spring, summer, autumn and winter seasons) for two years were studied by recording their first appearance and their numbers were found in the bird-trapping nets, as well as their last date they were found in the nets.

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