A renewed start of bee research in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Eastern Europe Regional Trialogue on Pollinators, Food Security was held in Sarajevo in October 2017 with the objective to reach a common agenda for action regarding pollinators in Eastern Europe. It was also  an opportunity to highlight  the fact that data about solitary bees for Bosnia and Herzegovina are outdated or missing. The only data regarding solitary bees was published by Apfelbeck (1896) and the faunistic list contains information about 120 bee species. This may suggest that  the number of bee species is lower in Bosnia and Herzegovina than in Croatia where 400 bee species were recorded on a list published by Vogrin (1916).
 
In December 2017, the National Geographic Grant program provided support to investigate the diversity of solitary bees and bumblebees on high mountain habitats and relict plant communities of Bosnia and Herzegovina; to develop monitoring programs and action plans for solitary bee conservation; and to raise public awareness about solitary bees. Thanks to the grant, we were able to purchase laboratory and field equipment along with taxonomic keys for bee identification. We also developed storage capacities for sampling at the Biology Department Sarajevo. We started collecting bees on-field, as well as laboratory identification of the collected bee species at the Biology Department, Faculty of Science and Mathematics Sarajevo.
 
The project will run until the end of 2019. So far, we have collected and listed 700 solitary bee and bumblebee specimens in the database. After we finish processing and identifying the material, we expect to have an additional 200 bee species on the fauna list for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
 
After the BES-Net Dialogue, it was a logical step to start bee studies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, yet some persistent challenges remain to be addressed. We have to motivate young scientists and students to start basic field and taxonomic work to learn more about native bee fauna taxonomy, ecology and distribution. In Bosnia, we do not have monitoring programs for bees, thus we cannot estimate the degree of threat to our bee species. Another problem is that in Bosnia and Herzegovina we have no early record data on their distribution and diversity. Also, there is no stable funding for bee studies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is essential for scientific work and development of identification and monitoring programs.
 
For further details, please contact Adis Vesnić at vesnicadi@gmail.com
 

Article By: 
University of Sarajevo