Prosopis + bees!

Dear All
Many greetings – I am up at Lake Turkana in a remote site by the Turkwel River in northern Kenya. I have been teaching an ecology course for the last week and there are so many amazing things to talk about…

We spent some time looking at bugs on the invasive Prosopis bushes as part of the course. The Prosopis is a spiny shrub that was introduced from Central America. It is spreading rapidly through the drylands of Kenya.

At Lake Turkana the Prosopis bush is advancing through the deltas of the Kerio and Turkwel Rivers. It is literally a spiny green wall in many places…

Spiny green wall of Prosopis in the Kerio Delta at Lake Turkana
Spiny green wall of Prosopis in the Kerio Delta at Lake Turkana

The plant is so prolific in the Kerio Delta that it has blocked all access to the delta. Women and children have to negotiate their way through the spiny green tangle in order to reach the precious water.

Prosopis grows along the main water courses and blocks access
Prosopis grows along the main water courses and blocks access

Invasive species like Prosopis are a growing issue of concern in many parts of the world. As part of the course we collected insects on the Prosopis. We found a number of different bees using the flowers, including honeybees. This means that even this invasive species may have some potential for supporting beekeeping the area. Here are a couple of photos of one of the more common bees that were visiting the flowers…

Ceratina bee on Prosopis flowers
Ceratina bee on Prosopis flowers
Prosopis flowers have both abundant nectar and pollen
Prosopis flowers have both abundant nectar and pollen

More on the amazing bugs of northern Kenya soon!

1 thought on “Prosopis + bees!

  1. Thanks for the post! I have observed especially honey bees on Prosopis in Baringo. The farmers actually target it for beekeeping.

    Did you find out whether they are contributinmg to pollination. How can one establish this if in the field?

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