Yellow Saharan Bee

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The Yellow Saharan bee (Apis mellifera sahariensis) is called so because of its yellow-red color. It is an ancient, quite productive and non-aggressive bee found in the area of the oases of southern Morocco (particularly the Tafilalt Oasis), and it is believed to have arrived in the area over 2000 years ago. The oases areas are isolated due to the natural barriers of the Sahara in the south and the Atlas Mountains to the north. This particular location allowed the Yellow Saharan bees to survive and reproduce as a particular population, adapting to local climate conditions and dry air. In this area, about 700 meters above sea level, there are large differences between day and night time temperatures and from season to season. Frost can occur during winters, and summer temperatures can reach up to 48°C (118°F) even in the shade.   Locally, honey from the Yellow bees is used in many different dishes, such as cakes for religious events or other festivities or added to hot beverages. It is a honey popular for its nutrition and curative properties. In traditional local medicine, stings from the bees were also used to treat rheumatic pain. There is even a special festival held in the Oasis to celebrate this bee. Beekeepers harvest the honey mainly for their personal or family use, with just a small quantity of the excess honey being sold on the local market.   In recent years, beekeepers moving to the southern Moroccan oases areas during rainy years brought with them more aggressive Tellian Black bees, which crossbred with the Yellow Saharan bee. The introduction of this new species to the area means that many Yellow bees are crossbreeding or being wiped out, and the pure Yellow Saharan bee breed, along with honey made exclusively by this breed, is at risk of being lost. Furthermore, the local bees are being negatively affected by the use of treatments designed to kill off the periodic locust invasions, which also decimates the bee populations. 

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