Bee-eaters are neither tropical nor invasive species
Reaction to the article published in Nezavisne Novine
After Nezavisne novine 03.06.2016. published the article “Tropical birds eating Sana bees”, three environmental organizations from BiH sent their response.
The text superficially and sensationally represents bee-eaters as a tropical bird, which is a threat to bees. At the same time, not a moment is not presented the actual scientific facts about the abundance and distribution of this kind in Bosnia and Herzegovina, her life, or the current threat (from the article: “Most likely it is a tropical bee-eater birds, because their appearance is identical to what can be seen on the Internet “explains Ceric.)
The bee-eater is a bird that is native to Bosnia and Herzegovina and it is not about any kind of invasion or colonization by new species, as the media and the public likes to report. Its estimated abundance in BiH is between 500 and 1 200 animals and is registered on the Red List of endangered species of flora and fauna of the Serbian Republic.
The article lacks a set of necessary information which causes a completely wrong assessment of the role of this important species in nature. Nowhere is it highlighted that bee-eaters eat wasps, bumblebees, hornets, and many other types of insects that people are not so fond of, and make it much more often than they eat only bees. Bee-eaters thus control the number of insects and of course, like every other species in nature, have a clear and important role. Data on the amount eaten bees journalists report from Wikipedia without quoting scientific data, and if we talk about the amount eaten insects, we need to know that the average is always quoted, and that this is not the rule. Studies from the region who have greater problems with bee-eater (Middle East, Cyprus and the like) shows that the distance from the apiary power lines, fences, trees without leaves and similar structures that serve as an observation bee-eater, is the best defense against the harmful effects of the apiaries. Also reflective strips proved to be effective in repelling birds and their intimidation.
On the other hand, beekeepers should take action to control the use of chemical agents that are used in massive and uncontrolled scale in agriculture which poison the bees, and all spontaneous pollinators, and finally us humans. In addition, a much larger problem for the bees are a variety of viral, fungi and bacterial diseases, particularly varroasis, so in all this, problem with a bee-eater is really minor.
After all, since it is a legally protected species, and the species is rare in BIH, it is important to mention that the birds are not guilty because of their lifestyle, but the pressure should be put on the relevant agencies, that in a case of damage, they forme the commission that will professionally and objectively determine the possible damage and compensate for it, if it is determined, and not to let the locals assess the possible damage, which is total nonsense, and it is unacceptable. At any rash action and illegal destruction of some species in nature must be responded adequately.
We emphasize that without proper scientific data and information, is very dangerous to appeal to kill such valuable species of bird, thereby spreading disinformation. Our organizations for some time now, have activities for the protection and monitoring of birds in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and we are available to all institutions, journalists and the general public with our knowledge and information. Therefore, the Centre for Environment from Banja Luka, Association for Research and Conservation of Biodiversity of Banja Luka and the Ornithological Society “Our Birds” from Sarajevo appealed to the competent institutions and associations of beekeepers to stop the spread of misinformation, and journalists are invited to work in a professional and objective manner.
The statement was delivered to the following institutions:
– The Federation of Beekeepers Association RS
– Federal Association of the Beekeepers Association of the Federation of BiH
– Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management of F BiH
The Ministry of Physical Planning, Civil Engineering and Ecology
Ministry of Environment and Tourism
Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations