Insect in burned forest provides hope to Turkey’s troubled beekepers

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Marchalina hellenica, also known as a scale insect, may be repulsive, but for beekeepers, this little beetle is a sign of new hope. Believed beekeepers, who have lost acres of forest to the recent fires in southern Turkey, have welcomed the return to the ash forests of a species that is a harbinger of revitalization.

The insect is instrumental in the production of honeydew, an important food source for forest honey bees, which produce pine honey from the burned forests in Muğla. This southwestern Turkish province produces about 80% of the country’s pine honey. Turkey itself accounts for about 92% of the world’s pine honey production.

Wandering beekeepers from all over the country come to Muğla with beehives in tow at this time of year. Many nomadic beekeepers, including some from Muğla, move their beehives to the upper levels of Turkey every spring and come to Muğla for the pine trees from mid-August. These beehives were spared from burning, but their entire production cycle was destroyed. Gone were the “honey forests”, although the beekeepers had found new forest areas in the province to set up their production areas. Your loss is great. Veli Türk, who runs a local beekeeping association, says around 35% of the burned forests in Muğla were among the best harvesting areas for beekeepers. “We are deeply wounded, but we have not lost hope,” he told the Anadolu Agency (AA) on Wednesday. Türk believes in “miracles”, especially after seeing the scale insects on a burned pine tree that collapsed in a fire in the province’s Köyceğiz district. “We toured the burned areas where we used to harvest honey, and I came across this tree. I had a magnifying glass and when I checked the trunk, I saw the insect, ”he says. What added to their hope was that bees were still flying around burned trees. “Local beekeepers have lost less than half of their potential yield, but they expect a production rate of 60%,” he added.