Starting Beekeeping

Discover Beekeeping A Beginner Beekeepers Guide

Beekeeping Is The Big Buzz Word Right Now, Learn How To Become A Beekeeper With This Easy To Follow Guide. Author Provides Full Email Support And Owns One Of The Largest Beekeeping Forums On The Internet. This ebook contains: Beekeeping 101 is a detailed, illustrated training manual that covers the most important aspects of beekeeping such as the most popular type of bee and the ideal size and location for your colony. A list of the equipment needed to launch your beekeeping operation and the approximate cost is extensively covered in Beekeeping 101. As a beekeeper myself, I have numerous books on the subject and I have found that there are many beekeeping books out there that are difficult to understand and may give only a portion of the information needed to start a successful beekeeping operation. For the aspiring new beekeeper it is essential to have a comprehensive manual that takes you by the hand and walks you through every phase of beekeeping. Beekeeping 101 discusses the best time to set your hives, when to harvest the honey, various methods used to harvest honey, and how to prepare your bees for the cold winter months.and that is just a short list of what this eBook contains! Are you worried the information covered may not apply to your area? Don't be! There are separate downloads for the Usa as well as a European / Uk version to make sure you are getting the most current information for your area. Pictures throughout the entire eBook illustrate ideas that make it even easier to understand! The anatomy of a bee and hive construction will no longer be a mystery with the included diagrams. It also includes the most common bee diseases and how to recognize and treat them. As a bonus you will also receive a truly fascinating crash course in hive behavior! Read more here...

Discover Beekeeping A Beginner Beekeepers Guide Overview


4.7 stars out of 12 votes

Format: Ebook
Price: $27.00

Access Now

My Discover Beekeeping A Beginner Beekeepers Guide Review

Highly Recommended

All of the information that the author discovered has been compiled into a downloadable book so that purchasers of Discover Beekeeping A Beginner can begin putting the methods it teaches to use as soon as possible.

This ebook does what it says, and you can read all the claims at his official website. I highly recommend getting this book.

Techniques Of Modern Movableframe Hive Beekeeping With Apis Mellifera

Most of the world's beekeeping is done with A. mellifera. In past centuries, these bees were kept primarily for the production of honey and beeswax. Beekeeping is still done mainly to produce honey, but there are also other specialized types of operation. These include the rearing of queens or package bees for other beekeepers who are producing honey. Another type of beekeeping provides colonies of bees to pollinate crops, since in many areas of large-scale agriculture A colony of honey-storing bees collects nectar from which it makes honey. Nectar is not available continuously, and to store much honey a colony of bees needs many foraging bees (over, say, 10 days old) whenever a nectar flow is available within their flight range. Bees may fly 2 km if necessary, but the greater the distance, the more energy they expend in flight, and the more nectar or honey they consume. Thus, it is often cost-effective for the beekeeper to move hives to several nectar flows in turn during the active...

Other Aspects Of Modern Hive Beekeeping World Spread of A mellifera

In Asian countries where A. cerana was used for beekeeping, A. mellifera was introduced at the same time as movable-frame hives. Some probable dates of introduction were 1875-1876 in Japan, 1880s in India, 1896 in China, and 1908 in Vietnam. Between 1850 and 1900 there was widespread activity among beekeepers in testing the suitability of different races ofA. mellifera for hive beekeeping. The most favored race was Italian (A. m. ligustica), named from Liguria on the west coast of Italy, south of Genoa.

Origination and World Spread of Movable Frame Beekeeping

The production of a movable-frame hive divided the history of hive beekeeping into two distinct phases. This new hive type was invented in 1851 by Reverend Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth in Philadelphia. He was familiar with the Greek movable-comb hive (discussed later under Traditional Movable-Comb Hive Beekeeping) and with some rectangular hives devised in Europe that contained wooden frames for the bees to build their combs in. These hives, however, had only a very small gap between the frames and the hive walls, and the bees built wax to close it. In 1853 Langstroth described how he had often pondered ways in which he could get rid of the disagreeable necessity of cutting the attachments of the combs from the walls of the hives. He continued, The almost self-evident idea of using the same bee-space as between the centerlines of combs in the frames in the shallow honey chambers came into my mind, and in a moment the suspended movable frames, kept at a suitable distance from each other...

Beekeeping with A cerana in Movable Frame Hives

Bees of most races of A. cerana are smaller than A. mellifera they also build smaller colonies and are less productive for the beekeeper. Unlike A. mellifera, A. cerana does not collect or use propolis. A. cerana was the only hive bee in Asia until A. mellifera was introduced in the late 1800s it had been kept in traditional hives (logs, boxes, barrels, baskets, pottery) since the first or second century A.D. in China and probably from the 300s B.C. in the upper Indus basin, now in Pakistan. The movable-frame hives used for A. cerana are like a scaled-down version of those for A. mellifera. Colony management is similar, except that the beekeeper needs to take steps to minimize absconding by the colonies. In India 30 to 75 of colonies may abscond each year. To prevent this, a colony must always have sufficient stores of both pollen and honey or syrup, and preferably a young queen. Special care is needed to prevent robbing when syrup is fed. Colonies must also be protected against ants...

Traditional Movablecomb Hive Beekeeping

Movable-comb hive beekeeping was a crucial intermediate step between fixed-comb beekeeping, which had been done in many parts of the Old World, and the movable-frame beekeeping used today. In a book published in 1682 in England, Sir George Wheler recounted his journeys in Greece and provided details of the hives he saw there (Fig. 3). He described the wooden bars shown lying across the top of the hive as broad, flat sticks and said that the bees built a comb down from each top-bar, which may be taken out whole, without the least bruising, and with the greatest ease imaginable. So it was a movable-comb hive. The Greek beekeepers must have placed the bars at the bees' natural spacing of their combs. They made a new colony by putting half the bars and combs from a hive into an empty one the queen would be in one of the hives, and the bees in the other would rear a new queen. In the mountain range that separates Vietnam from China, some of the native peoples use a movable-comb hive for A....

Resources For Beekeepers

There are various sources of information and help for beekeepers. Many countries publish one or more beekeeping journals, and have a beekeepers' or apiculturists' association with regional and local branches. Apimondia in Rome, Italy (http is the international federation of national beekeepers' associations. In many countries, the ministry of agriculture or a similar body maintains a bee department that inspects colonies for bee diseases and often also provides an advisory service for beekeepers. Research on bees and or beekeeping may be carried out under this ministry or by other bodies. The International Bee Research Association in Cardiff, U.K. serves as a world center for scientific information on bees and beekeeping, and publishes international journals, including Apicultural Abstracts, which contains summaries of recent publications worldwide. Information about access to the Association's data banks can be obtained from its Web site (http,...

Hymenoptera Ants Bees Wasps Family Apidae Honey Bees

Honey is prized by many indigenous cultures, and bee pupae mature larvae, sometimes called grubs or brood, are often as highly prized as the honey. In southeast Asia, three species of wild bees, Apis dorsata, A. florea, and A. indica, are important sources of honey, wax, and brood. A. dorsata is the largest species and its nests, in the higher branches of large trees, may be up to 2 m in diameter. Its honey is also the most expensive, but honey from A. florea is most commonly found in the markets. People often eat the grubs uncooked, but they are also fried or put into soup. In Latin America, the grubs of A. mellifera and of species in several genera of stingless bees (subfamily Meliponinae) are used as food, and some of the bees, in Brazil and Mexico, for example, are semidomesticated. Bees, including stingless species, are also important in Africa. In some places, such as the Congo (Kinshasa), honey and brood are still harvested by cutting down the tree although the practice has...

Preface To The Fourth Edition

The updated chapter texts are supplemented with an additional 18 new boxes, including on the topical subjects of the African honey bee and Colony collapse disorder (of bees) in the sphere of apiary, beewolf microbial defense, and the use of bed nets and resurgence of bed bugs, Dengue fever, and West Nile virus in relation to human health. New boxes are provided on how entomologists recognize species, on important aquatic insects and energy fluxes, and on evolutionary relationships of flamingo lice. Some case studies in emergent plant pests are presented, including the Emerald ash borer that is destroying North American landscape trees, and other insects (light brown apple moth, citrus psyllid and fruit flies) that threaten US crops. We relate the astonishing success story in classical biological control of the glassy-winged sharpshooter in the Pacific that provides hope for rejuvenation of this method of pest control.

Beneficial Insects And Spiders

Beekeeping and silkworm culture were the first forms of insect farming, but today many other insects are raised and sold for use as research animals, fish bait, and pet food. Others are used to combat weeds and insect pests. Butterflies and other tropical insects are raised and shipped alive to insect zoos and butterfly houses around the world. Money earned by butterfly farmers in Central and South America, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea is used to support families, to maintain the farm, and to preserve or improve butterfly habitats.

Mating and How Reproductive Isolation Is Achieved

Honey bees mate in flight the process has been studied in detail in A. mellifera, and involves three stages. A queen flies out when only a few days old, and drones that are flying in the area, attracted by the pheromones she produces, follow her. If a drone succeeds in clasping the queen with his legs, FIGURE 1 Worker honey bees (Apis mellifera) on honeycomb. (Photograph courtesy of P. Kirk Visscher.) FIGURE 1 Worker honey bees (Apis mellifera) on honeycomb. (Photograph courtesy of P. Kirk Visscher.)

Apis Mellifera Colony Life

Many aspects of the beekeeping cycle and social behavior of honey bee colonies have been studied in detail (see Further Reading). In the tropics, temperatures are never too low for plants to flower or for bees to fly, and colony activity is governed by rainfall rather than temperature. There are two seasonal cycles in the year, so colonies do not grow as large, or store as much honey, as they do in temperate zones. If the stores of a colony of A. mellifera become low in a dearth period, the colony may leave its hive and fly to a nearby area where plants are starting to bloom, rebuilding its combs in a nest site there. Such movements are referred to as absconding or migration, and preventing them is an important part of beekeeping in tropical Africa.

Subspecies and Their Distribution

During the Ice Ages, geographical features in Europe such as mountains confined A. mellifera to several separate areas, where they diversified into a number of subspecies or races. The most important in world beekeeping, and their native areas, are A. mellifera ligustica (Italian) in northwestern Italy south of the Alps, A. mellifera carnica (Carnolian) in the eastern Alps and parts of the Balkans, A. mellifera caucasica (Caucasian) in Georgia and the Caucasus mountains between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, and also A. mellifera mellifera north of the Alps. The first introductions of A. mellifera from Europe to new continents, after 1600, enabled future beekeeping industries to build up and flourish in many countries. Some of the subsequent introductions of A. mellifera carried diseases or parasites not previously present, and these caused much damage. From the late 1800s, after the movable-frame hive was devised, there was great interest in breeding more productive honey bees,...

Package Bee Production

Package bees are normally produced at relatively low latitudes where spring comes early, and are sold at higher latitudes where it is difficult to keep colonies over the winter many northern beekeepers find it more cost-effective to kill some or all of their colonies when they harvest the season's honey, and to buy package bees next spring. (If they overwinter no colonies, they can follow another occupation for 6 months or more at least one beekeeper spends the Canadian winter beekeeping in New Zealand, where it is then summer.) The site where the packages are produced should be earlier weatherwise, by 2 months or more, than the site where the bees are used. A package bee industry is most likely to be viable where a single country stretches over a sufficient north-south distance (at least 1000 km, and up to 2000 or even 2500 km). But in New Zealand, package bees are produced at the end of the bees' active season and sent by air to Canada, where the season is just starting.

Honey Bee Diseases Parasites Predators and Poisoning

Since the 1950s it has been increasingly easy to move honey bees (queens with attendant workers, and then packages of bees) from one country or continent to another. One result has been that diseases and parasites of the bees have been transmitted to a great many new areas, and to species or races of honey bee that had little or no resistance to them. The development of large-scale agriculture has involved the use of insecticides, many of which are toxic to bees and can kill those taken to pollinate crops. In California alone, insecticides killed 82,000 colonies in 1962 in 1973 the number was reduced to 36,000, but in 1981 it had risen again, to 56,000. More attention is now paid to the use of practices that protect the bees, including selecting pesticides less toxic to beneficial insects, using pesticides in the forms least toxic to honey bees (e.g., granular instead of dust), spraying at night when bees are not flying, spraying only when the crop is not in flower, and using systemic...

A mellifera in the Middle East Europe and Africa

Humans have obtained honey and wax from bees' nests in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa since very early times. Beekeeping with A. mellifera was probably initiated in an area when the human population increased so much that it needed more honey or wax than was available at existing nest sites, or when some change occurred that reduced the number of nest sites for instance, when trees were felled to clear land for agriculture. In the Middle East, population increase was linked with the development of civilizations. The earliest known hive beekeeping was done in ancient Egypt, and similar traditional beekeeping is still carried out in Egypt. In Abu Ghorab, near Cairo, an Old Kingdom bas-relief from around 2400 B.C. shows a kneeling beekeeper working at one end of hives built into a stack smoke is used to pacify the bees, and honey is being transferred into large storage pots. Over time, In the forests of northern Europe, where honey bees nested in tree cavities, early humans obtained...

Stingless Bees Meliponinae in the Tropics

In the Old World tropics, much more honey could be obtained from honey bees than from stingless bees, and the latter were seldom used for beekeeping. But in the Americas, where there were no honey bees, hive beekeeping was developed especially with the stingless bee, Melipona beecheii, a fairly large species well suited for the purpose. It builds a horizontal nest with brood in the center and irregular cells at the extremities, where honey and pollen are stored. The Maya people in the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico still do much beekeeping with this bee. The hive is made from a hollowed wooden log, its ends being closed by a wooden or stone disk. To harvest honey, one of the disks is removed to provide access to honey cells these are broken off with a blunt object, and a basket is placed underneath the opening to strain the honey into a receptacle below. Many similar stone disks from the 300s B.C. and later were excavated from Yucatan and from the island of Cozumel, suggesting that the...

Production Secretion And Use Of Beeswax By A Mellifera

Beeswax is secreted by four pairs of wax glands situated on the anterior part of the worker's last four normal sternal plates (i.e., the ventral portion) the secreted wax hardens into thin scales. In A. mellifera workers, the glands increase in secretory activity during the first 9 days or so after the adult bee has emerged from her cell. They usually start to regress at 17 days of age, but may be regenerated later if the colony needs new comb. Honey bees construct their combs of beeswax and also use this substance with propolis to seal small cracks in their nest structure or hive. The requirements of the colony largely determine the amount of wax secreted by its bees. Calculations have shown that an A. mellifera worker is likely to have the potential to secrete about half her body weight in wax during her lifetime.

Harvesting And Processing

When a beekeeper harvests combs of honey from the hives, the honey is first extracted from the combs. Then the wax is melted and the liquid wax separated from any contaminants. On a small scale, clean wax from hives may be melted and strained through cloth, or a solar wax extractor may be used, in which the wax pieces are spread out on a sloping metal base in a shallow container with a double glass top, to be melted by radiation from the sun. The liquid wax flows into a container any contaminants settle at the bottom, and clear wax flows out through an outlet near the top.

General Functions Of Biogenic Amines

The physiological role of OA at different levels of the organism is well documented. As a stress hormone in the periphery and in the central nervous system OA prepares the animal for energy-demanding behaviors. This monoamine stimulates glycogenolysis, modifies muscle contraction, supports long-term flight, and regulates arousal in the central nervous system. OA and OA agonists can enhance behavioral responses, like escape or aggressive behavior in crickets and sucrose responsiveness in honey bees. Injection of OA can elicit flight motor behavior in locusts, even in isolated thoracic ganglia. It is assumed that in insects OA has functions similar to those of the adrenergic system in vertebrates.

Functions In Learning And Memory

Biogenic amines are involved in different forms of learning and memory formation in Drosophila and honey bees. However, it has not been unequivocally proven that the same biogenic amines serve identical functions in both species. Research on the neuronal and molecular bases of learning and memory over the past two decades in insects has focused on the mushroom bodies and antennal lobes of the brain. These two structures are involved primarily in processing of olfactory stimuli. Experimental evidence suggests that DA signals the presence of reinforcers and modulates intrinsic mushroom body neurons during conditioning in Drosophila. Thus DA could trigger signaling cascades that affect the storage of information about the conditioned stimulus.

World Production And Trade

Beekeeping with modern movable-frame hives aims to maximize honey production, and wax production is suppressed by providing the bees with sheets of ready-built wax comb foundation in frames. In experiments in Egypt, wax production in modern hives was only 0.4 to 0.6 of honey production, whereas in traditional hives it was 9 to 11 .

Box 12 Tramp ants and biodiversity

No ants are native to Hawai'i yet there are more than 40 species on the island - all have been brought from elsewhere within the last century. In fact all social insects (honey bees, yellowjackets, paper wasps, termites, and ants) on Hawai'i arrived with human commerce. Almost 150 species of ants have hitchhiked with us on our global travels and managed to establish themselves outside their native ranges. The invaders of Hawai'i belong to the same suite of ants that have invaded the rest of the world, or seem likely to do so in the near future. From a conservation perspective one particular behavioral subset is very important, the so-called invasive tramp ants. They rank amongst the world's most serious pest species, and local, national, and international agencies are concerned with their surveillance and control. The big-headed ant (Pheidole megaceph-

Historical Development

The study of the diseases of insects started not for purposes of killing pest insects, but rather for protecting economically important species such as silkworms and honey bees. In the mid- to late nineteenth century, microscopes made it possible to observe bacteria and microscopic fungi, and the study of these organisms as pathogens of domesticated insects initiated insect pathology. The infectious nature of insect diseases was first demonstrated by Agostino Bassi of Italy, who in 1835 studied a fungal disease of silkworm larvae caused by the fungus Beauveria bassiana. Louis Pasteur continued work on silkworm diseases in France in the 1860s. The first attempt to use pathogens to destroy pest insects was made in 1884 by the Russian entomologist Elie Metchnikoff, who reared Metarhizium anisopliae, a fungal pathogen, and attempted to suppress the sugar beet curculio, Cleonus punctiventris, with application of the fungal spores. In 1911 the German scientist Berliner observed a bacterial...

Biotechnology and Insects

Biotechnology can be broadly defined to include all practical uses of living organisms. As such, biotechnology has been practiced since the beginning of recorded history through endeavors such as fermentation of microorganisms for production of beer, selective breeding of crops, beekeeping

Brain and Optic Lobes

The first definition of the brain includes neuropils of the subesophageal ganglion, which is composed of the fused ganglia from three postoral segmental neuromeres. These are located ventrally with respect to the digestive tract, as are ganglia of the thorax and abdomen. In most hemimetabolous insects, and in many paleopterans, the subesophageal ganglion is connected by paired circumesophageal commissures to the supraesophageal ganglion. In many crown taxa (those representing more recent evolved lineages) the subesophageal and supraesophageal ganglia are fused, as is the case in honey bees or the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, which is the taxon here used to summarize the major divisions of the brain (Figs. 1-6). A consequence of fusion is that tracts of axons that would otherwise form the circumesophageal commissures are embedded within a contiguous neuropil.

The Postoral Brain Subesophageal Ganglion

Various functions have been ascribed to the subesophageal ganglion, including arousal prior to motor actions and sensory convergence from the brain. Generally, the three neuromeres of the subesophageal ganglion relate to the metameric identity of the mouthparts. Edgecomb and Murdock describe from flies that the labial neuromere of the subesophageal ganglion receives sensory axons from the dorsal cibarial organ, labellar sensilla, and labral sense organs and possibly some intersegmental inputs arrive from the tarsi. Stocker and Schorderet have supplied evidence from Drosophila that mechanosensory and gustatory chemo- (taste) receptors segregate out in the labral neuromere into discrete modality-specific zones. In honey bees, inputs from the mandibles invade the mandibular neuromere, which has been suggested to be absent in flies. However, it is unlikely that an entire neuromere has been eliminated and anatomical evidence for it is indeed present. In 1992 Shanbhag and Singh made the...

Castes In The Worker Force Morphological Castes

Workers can be assigned to behavioral castes when they specialize on a subset of the tasks that the colony needs. In some eusocial insect species such as Bombus and Polistes, workers exhibit a great deal of flexibility, switching among tasks often, and behavioral castes are weakly defined. In honey bees (Apis mellifera) and swarm-founding paper wasps (Polybia spp.), on the other hand, workers specialize more consistently.

Function Of The Circadian System

In addition to its role in generating daily rhythms, the cir-cadian clock has been shown to be involved in photoperiodic time measurement for seasonal regulation of reproduction, development, and diapause in many insects. In honey bees (Apis mellifera), it is also involved in time measurement necessary for time-compensated sun orientation and in Zeitgedachtnis, which is the ability to return at the appropriate time to a food source that is available only at particular times of day. Thus the circadian system functions as a biological clock, capable of providing the individual with information on the time of day and with the ability to measure lapse of time.

Oxygen challenges in winter

Although there are some unique insect solutions for dealing with winter (e.g. migration of monarch butterflies to Mexico or shivering thermogenesis to provide central heating for honey bee colonies), terrestrial insects generally employ three basic options (sometimes in combination) to survive the cold winter months - underground hibernation below the frostline (in burrows or by digging), freeze-avoidance by supercooling, or freeze-tolerance. Oxygen challenges may be

The Tracheal System And Gas Exchange

Fig. 3.11 Some basic variations in the open (a-c) and closed (d-f) tracheal systems of insects. (a) Simple tracheae with valved spiracles, as in cockroaches. (b) Tracheae with mechanically ventilated air sacs, as in honey bees. (c) Metapneustic system with only terminal spiracles functional, as in mosquito larvae. (d) Entirely closed tracheal system with cutaneous gas exchange, as in most endoparasitic larvae. (e) Closed tracheal system with abdominal tracheal gills, as in mayfly nymphs. (f) Closed tracheal system with rectal tracheal gills, as in dragonfly nymphs. (After Wigglesworth 1972 details in (a) after Richards & Davies 1977, (b) after Snodgrass 1956, (c) after Snodgrass 1935, (d) after Wigglesworth 1972.)

Farming Insects For Their Products And Byproducts

Honey One can hardly think of insects as a source of human food without envisioning honey, diligently produced by worker bees. Honey was used as a sweetener in ancient Egypt and continues to be popular today, both in cooking and for sweetening foods to be consumed immediately. Entire industries are built around honey bees both as crop pollinators and as master producers of honey. The latter industry ends with the sale of honey products on the supermarket shelf, but the intermediaries are varied and include, beyond those involved in rearing honey bees, equipment for extracting honey from combs, devices for straining and clarifying honey, and beekeeping books and magazines that keep the honey producer up to date on the latest developments in the industry. royal jelly Royal jelly, a substance secreted by the salivary glands of worker honey bees, stimulates the growth and development of queen honey bees. It is one of the most difficult of all foods to harvest, commanding astronomical...

The Remaining Endopterygote Orders

The subfamily APINAE, a cosmopolitan group of about 1000 species, includes all of the highly social bees and a few neotropical solitary species. The subfamily includes orchid bees (tribe EUGLOSSINI), bumble bees (BOMBINI), honey bees (APINI), and stingless bees (MELIPONINI). Orchid bees are neotropical, mostly solitary species, males of which are pollinators of many orchid species. Bumble bees (Figure 10.36F) are common, large, hairy bees, found mainly in the holarctic region. The social organization of bumblebees is primitive, and workers frequently differ from the queen only in size. They do not construct a true comb but rear larvae in pots. Often, these are sealed off after egg laying, and only older larvae are fed regularly. Only the queen overwinters, and new nests are produced annually. Some female Bombini (Psithyrus spp., cuckoo bumble bees) lay their eggs in the nests of other bumble bees, occasionally killing the host queen but more often living side by side. Bumble bee...

Communication Of Distance And Direction In The Dance

The waggle dance of honey bees can be thought of as a miniaturized reenactment of the flight from the hive to the food source (Fig. 1). As the flight distance to the food becomes longer, the duration of the waggle portion of the dance also becomes longer. The angle that a bee flies during the flight to the food, relative to the sun azimuth (the horizontal component of the direction toward the sun), is mirrored in the angle on the comb at which the waggle portion of the dance is performed. If the food is to be found directly toward the sun, a bee will dance straight upward. If the food is directly away from the sun, the bee will dance straight downward. If food is at 35 to the right of the sun, then the dance is performed with the waggle run at 35 to the right of vertical, and so forth. Bees make a transition from round dances for food sources near the nest to waggle dances at greater distance, with the transitional distance varying somewhat between different subspecies of A. mellifera.

Use Of The Dance Language

Honey bees are known to use the dance language to recruit nestmates in several contexts. In the context of foraging, bees dance to indicate the location of sources of nectar, pollen, water, and propolis (a resinous material collected from plants and used to seal cracks and waterproof the nest cavity). As far as is known, the dances for these different materials are the same, but this area has not been systematically investigated. The sharing of information about food sources makes it possible for a honey bee colony to serve as an information center, pooling the reconnaissance of its many foragers, surveying a vast area around the nest, and focusing the bulk of its foraging force on the best sources discovered. In the 1980s a study by Kirk Visscher and Tom Seeley decoded the dances of a colony living in a deciduous forest in New York State to show the dynamics of colony food patch use that result from these interactions. Research by Seeley has shown that integration of foraging...

Paper wasps umbrella wasps

Petiolate paper wasp, Mischocyttarus flavitarsis Workers are 16-20 mm long, and the body is black, with orange-yellow and reddish brown markings. The petiole is primarily black, and the abdomen (metasoma) is primarily yellow. It occurs in southwestern USA, including California. Species in this genus are distributed from northern Argentina to British Columbia in the west and through the West Indies to Florida in the east. Females overwinter under bark, and they have been found with Polistes fuscatus aurifer and P. dorsalis californica. They have also been found in an abandoned nest ofVespula arenaria.Thenests of M. flavitarsis may be established under the eaves of houses and branches of trees, and are very similar to the nests ofPolistes,but smaller. A related species, M. drewseni,inGuyanaattacks honey bee hives and causes problems with beekeepers. M. phthisicus and M. mexicanus are neotropical, and extend into Texas and Florida M. flavitarsis has been introduced into Hawaii.

Integrated Management of Rice Stem Borers in the Yangtze Delta China

ABSTRACT The rice striped stem borer Chilo suppressalis (Walker), the yellow stem borer Scirpophaga incertulas (Walker), and the pink stem borer Sesamia inferens (Walker) are the most injurious insect pests of rice in the Yangtze Delta, one of the country's rice bowls and a region undergoing rapid economic development. In recent years, the population densities of C. suppressalis and S. inferens, and associated yield losses and costs of control have reached the highest recorded levels. This is attributed to the combination of a large-scale shift from pure double cropping to single-double mixed cropping, the increased yield potential of new varieties, and the development of high levels of resistance of stem borers to dimehypo, triazophos, and other insecticides. The risk of resistance developing to the few current very effective insecticides (e.g. fipronil), coupled with the harmful effects of such insecticides on freshwater shrimps, crabs and honey bees makes it imperative that...

Occurrence of Rice Stem Borers and Main Causes

Fipronil is one of the most effective insecticides developed in the last decade to control rice stem borers. Nevertheless, there is a high risk of resistance to this compound also developing in rice stem borers. The resistant levels of some striped stem borer populations in locations in the Zhejiang Province was detected as high as 3.1-fold. Also, there are strong possibilities that this insecticide has harmful effects on fresh-water shrimps, crabs, and honey bees, which are the other main sources of income for Zhejiang farmers. Additionally, the high price of these insecticides increases the costs of rice production for farmers. All of these factors require researchers, local technical extension staff and farmers to explore and implement alternative approaches to the current reliance on insecticides.

Division Of Labor For Reproduction

In many species of social insects, queens and workers are distinguished by striking morphological differences. A queen can have huge ovaries and a sperm storage organ that maintains viable sperm for years. The most striking morphological differences between queens and workers occur as a result of caste determination, which occurs during preadult stages. Caste determination has an endocrine basis. Research on the honey bee, Apis mellifera, and the bumble bee, Bombus terrestris, has shown that a high hemolymph titer of juvenile hormone (JH) during a critical period of larval development induces queen development. JH and presumably other hormones trigger a variety of processes that ultimately result in the production of either a worker or a queen. For example, caste-specific apoptosis (cell death) occurs in the ovaries of worker-destined honey bees and is associated with low titers of JH and ecdysteroid. Molecular analyses of endocrine-mediated caste determination have just begun. Some...

Division Of Labor Among Workers

Age-related division of labor is the most common form of worker organization. Workers typically work inside the nest when they are young and shift to defending the nest and foraging outside when they are older. In the more elaborate forms of age-related division of labor, such as in honey bee colonies, workers perform a sequence of jobs in the nest before they mature into foragers. Physiological changes accompany this behavioral development to increase the efficiency with which particular tasks are performed. Among these are changes in metabolism, diet, and glandular secretions. A third form of division of labor among workers involves individual variability independent of age or morphology that results in an even finer grained social system. There are differences in the rate at which individual workers grow some show precocious behavioral development, while others mature more slowly. There also are differences between individuals in the degree of task specialization. For example,...

Plasticity In Colony Division Of Labor

Mechanisms of worker behavioral integration often involve social interactions. For example, in many species, including Polybia wasps and honey bees, nest workers routinely relieve the foragers of their newly acquired loads, whether nest material or food. Foragers that are unloaded Social inhibition is a potent mechanism of integration in insect colonies. In colonies of honey bees, social inhibition acts to keep the division of labor synchronized with changes in colony age demography. Older workers inhibit the rate of maturation of younger workers. Some young workers in a colony deficient in older workers, for example, exposed to lower levels of social inhibition, respond by becoming precocious foragers. The specific honey bee worker factor that causes this inhibition has not yet been identified, but other sources of social inhibition have, emanating from the queen and the brood. The regulation of the size of the soldier force in Pheidole colonies also is based on a process of social...

Box 44 Biological clocks

Biological clocks allow solar orientation - the use of the sun's elevation above the horizon as a compass - provided that there is a means of assessing (and compensating for) the passage of time. Some ants and honey bees use a light-compass, finding direction from the sun's elevation and using the biological clock to compensate for the sun's movement across the sky. Evidence came from an elegant experiment with honey bees trained to forage in the late afternoon at a feeding table (F) placed 180 m northwest of their hive (H), as depicted in the left figure (after Lindauer 1960). Overnight the hive

Tales That Explain Observed Phenomena

Many folk tales dealing with insects are based on fanciful explanations of natural phenomena. The ancient tale of the bugonia apparently originated from such confusion. Bugonia comes from a Greek word that means ox progeny, and is based on the notion that a swarm of honey bees could be spontaneously generated from the rotting carcass of an ox (Fig. 1). This was not merely a description of something perceived to occur in nature, but was a means whereby people could generate many new individuals of these beneficial insects. For this to be successful, precise instructions had to be followed regarding the proper methods and timing of the slaughter and preparation of the ox carcass. This European tale is also found in Chinese and Japanese folklore, and similar beliefs existed for the generation of other bee-like insects from the FIGURE 1 A 16th century depiction of spontaneous generation of honey bees from a dead ox. Illustration modified from Bodenheimer (1928). FIGURE 1 A 16th century...

Conservation Of Speciesrich Grasslands

Insect diversity in grassland ecosystems can be best predicted by floral diversity or related characteristics of vegetation structure, especially biomass and structural heterogeneity of the plant community. Species richness of butterflies, wild bees, phytophagous beetles, true bugs, etc., was found to be positively related to the species richness of plants. However, age of the habitat as well as fragment size is known to disproportionally enhance the number of species in higher trophic levels. The fraction of specialized predators and parasitoids increases greatly with area and age of grasslands, although the plant species richness may respond little.

Behavior And Ecology

Behavior among hymenopteran species is extremely diverse. It varies from individuals that are solitary, with little or no interaction among nesting females, to species that are highly social, forming large colonies. Many species have intermediate levels of social behavior in which the parent cares for its offspring and may even share a common nesting area. The highest level of sociality is represented by eusocial species, which exhibit a reproductive division of labor, a worker caste caring for the young, and overlapping generations in which the offspring assist the parents in rearing the brood. Ants, honey bees, bumble bees, and vespid wasps are eusocial species. worker of alarm chemicals released by another defending worker. Dark, moving objects are often attacked by honey bees and vespid wasps when defending their colonies. Vibrations of the ground or substrate near the nest stimulate alarm and attack in most species. Pheromones alerting nestmates to defend the colony are a common...

Prevention And Control

Certain colors of clothing should be avoided. Foraging yellowjackets and bees are attracted to yellows, light blues, and many bright or fluorescent colors. Dark-colored objects are more attractive to attacking wasps. It is advisable to wear long pants, preferably with the legs tucked into boots, and to wear a long-sleeved shirt to protect the arms. Individuals at risk should avoid using perfumes, hair sprays, sweet-smelling lotions, aftershave lotions, hand and body lotions, and even certain suntan lotions. Some of the odors emanating from these materials are highly attractive to flying hymenopterans. Paints containing isoamyl acetate, a component of the honey bee alarm pheromone, should be used with care around honey bees. These materials should not be applied outdoors where stinging bees and wasps are likely to be attracted to them.

The Biotic Environment

Most disease-causing protozoa in insects are Sporozoa, including Coccidia, Gregarinia, and especially Microsporidia for which more than 200 host species are known. The protozoa probably play an important role in regulation of insect populations, though in only a few instances has this been authenticated. Species of the microsporidian Nosema are agents for a number of well-known insect diseases, two examples of which are pebrine disease of silkworms caused by N. bombycis and nosema disease of honey bees (pathogen N. apis). Other species of Nosema known to be highly pathogenic include N. lymantriae primary

Mesostigmata Gamasida

Several mesostigmatid families have free-living species associated with bark beetles, ants, and millipedes. Others are parasites of insects, including the Varroidea mites that infect and injure honey bees. There are species that are ectoparasites of snakes, and several that are internal parasites of domestic animals. The canary lung mite, Sternostoma tracheacolum, invades the lungs of canaries Pneumonyssoides caninum occurs in the sinuses and nasal passages of dogs. Nymphs and adults of the house fly mite, Macrocheles muscaedomesticae (Fig. i8.2e), prey upon the eggs of Fannia canicularis, Musca domestica and M. vetustissima. The mesostigmatid Fuscouropoda vegetans is also a predator of the house fly and little house fly. The yellowish-brown adult attaches itself to the ventral surface of the base of the house-fly abdomen.

Box 43 Reception of communication molecules

Aphrodisiacs Danaus

Nearly two centuries ago it was recognized that workers of honey bees (Apis mellifera) were alarmed by a freshly extracted sting. In the intervening years many aggregating insects have been found to produce chemical releasers of alarm behavior - alarm pheromones - that characterize most social insects (termites and eusocial hymenopterans). In addition, alarm pheromones are known in several hemipterans, including subsocial treehoppers (Membracidae), aphids (Aphididae), and some other true bugs. Alarm phero-mones are volatile, non-persistent compounds that are

Diversity In Genitalic Morphology

Aedeagus Female Organ

Many female insects store the sperm that they receive from one or more males in their sperm storage organ, or spermatheca. Females of most insect orders have a single spermatheca but some flies are notable in having more, often two or three. Sometimes sperm remain viable in the spermatheca for a considerable time, even three or more years in the case of honey bees. During storage, secretions from the female's spermathecal gland maintain the viability of sperm. through the eggshell. The micropyle or micropylar area is orientated towards the opening of the spermatheca during egg passage, facilitating sperm entry. In many insects, the release of sperm from the spermatheca appears to be controlled very precisely in timing and number. In queen honey bees as few as 20 sperm per egg may be released, suggesting extraordinary economy of use. called complementary sex determiner (csd) has been cloned in honey bees (Apis mellifera) and shown to be the primary switch in the sex-determination...

Insects And The Public

Honeybees, mainly Apis mellifera L., remain the most economically valuable pollinators of crop monocultures worldwide (Klein etal. 2007). When wild bees do not visit agricultural fields, managed honeybees are often the only solution for farmers to ensure crop pollination, because they are cheap, convenient, and versatile, although they are not the most effective pollinators on a per flower basis in some crops (Klein et al. 2007). Farmers in the USA pay beekeepers more than 30 million annually for the use of honeybees to pollinate crops valued at 9 billion (Weiss 1989). Honey has valuable nutritional and other benefits (Buchmann and Repplier 2005, Simon etal. 2006). Beeswax has many modern uses in industry and the arts (Bishopp 1952), and even royal jelly has been promoted for its supposed health benefits (Crane 2003). The total value of crops resulting from pollinator activity in 1980 approached 20 billion, compared to the approximately 140 million worth of honey and beeswax produced...

Chemical defence in beetles and moths

In New Guinea, the Polyconoceras millipedes squirt their very toxic quinones covering more than one meter. The quinones burn skin, and eyes, and can be very toxic. One of us (PJ), around Lae, in the east of New Guinea, got the secretions over his body. He came back with a beekeeper equipment and all the plastic was badly burnt. The skin after receiving the spray was disintegrating rapidly. Blind dogs are found in the area, and it is said that criminals among the natives used the extract to poison their enemies. The papuans are terribly afraid of them. Similar cases of quinone projections are known in tropical America among several millipedes, but they are rare. Generally they ooze quinones, on their diplosegments, as in Africa, but do not project it. Centipedes bite, but all millipedes produce secretions, cyanide, proteins, as varied as the group to which they belong. This account of millipede toxins is a little deviation from the topic of this chapter, but it may be accepted, as it...

Box 42 Reception of communication molecules

Tripectinate Antenna Insects

Nearly two centuries ago it was recognized that workers of honey bees (Apis mellifera) were alarmed by a freshly extracted sting. In the intervening years many aggregating insects have been found to produce chemical releasers of alarm behavior - alarm pheromones - that characterize most social insects (termites and eusocial hymenopterans). In addition, alarm pheromones are known in several hemipter-ans, including subsocial treehoppers (Membracidae), aphids (Aphididae), and some other true bugs. Alarm pheromones are volatile, non-persistent compounds that are readily dispersed throughout the aggregation. Alarm is provoked by the presence of a predator, or in many social insects, a threat to the nest. The behavior elicited may be rapid dispersal, such as in hemipterans that drop from the host plant or escape from an unwinnable conflict with a large predator, as in poorly defended ants living in small colonies. The alarm behavior of many eusocial insects is most familiar to us when...

Camponotus marginatus decipiens C rasilis Fig 94g

Florida carpenter ant, bulldog ant, Camponotus floridanus ( C. abdominalis floridanus) (Fig. 9.4a) Workers are 5.5-10 mm long and the head is opaque, but the thorax and gaster are shiny. The head is reddish brown, the thorax and pedicel are yellowish red, while the scape and gaster are blackish brown to black. Gaster segment 1 may be yellowish red. Legs have numerous erect or suberect setae, and the body has abundant, long setae. Nests are in rotting logs and stumps, and sometimes partly in the ground. Indoors the nests may be in kitchens, roofs, and porches. Colonies are moderate to large, and there is one queen. Winged forms emerge from June to August. Natural food includes live and dead insects, honey bee hives, and honeydew workers forage during the day and night. Indoors they feed on a variety of household foods. This species is native to North America, and occurs from Alabama east to North Carolina and Florida it apparently does not occur far inland. The small wasp,

The Abridged Life Table

The abridged life table generally contains the same functions as the complete table. In addition, the duration of each stage is given as n to specify the age interval over which mortality is assessed. An example of an abridged life table is given in Table 2-3 for worker honey bees, Apis mellifera.

Learning Characterized Characteristics

In classical conditioning, an unconditioned stimulus (US) that elicits an unconditioned response is paired in time and space with a novel stimulus, the conditioned stimulus (CS). As a consequence of the pairing, the CS subsequently elicits a conditioned response. Both appetitive and aversive forms of classical conditioning have been documented in insects. Most of what we know about classical conditioning in insects has involved classical conditioning of the proboscis extension reflex (PER), principally in honey bees. Spatial learning is an important component of insect navigation. Commonly traversed routes are learned during homing by ants, bees, and wasps, and traplining is learned by bees and butterflies. Honey bees may additionally possess a topographically organized landscape memory that allows them to navigate along a novel route. Spatial learning is useful in contexts other than movement of the whole organism for instance, bees learn to discriminate textures with their antennae...

Insects Whose Products Are Commercially Valuable

Bee management was probably first carried out by the ancient Egyptians. Honey bees were brought to North America by colonists in the early l600s, and today honey and beeswax production is a billion dollar industry. In 2001 world honey production was estimated at about 1.25 million tonnes and a value of about US 4 billion. China is the world's largest honey producer, accounting for almost 20 of the total the United States lies in third place (behind the former USSR), producing about 100,000 tonnes (with a value of about US 330 million) honey.htm). Beeswax is produced at the rate of about 1 kg for every 50-100 kg of honey its value per kilogram varies between one and three times that of honey. There is a significant world trade, perhaps worth about US 10 million annually, in pollen which is used not only by beekeepers to supplement the reserves in the hive but also in the health-food industry. Other products that are collected include propolis (bee glue), venom (used to desensitize...

Interesting ways of bees and dung beetles

It is well known now, through Jean-Henri Fabre's observations, that many Hymenoptera hunt spiders, caterpillars, locusts and grasshoppers, which they paralyse with their sting to feed their offspring. The paralysed prey remains fresh and without any rot for a long period. This preservation of the prey, which is in a state of prolonged coma, is a primitive substitute of the modern refrigeration. The honey bees (Apis melifera) amass honey, which they collect and produce from the nectar and pollen harvested from flowers. Honey with pollen is used to feed the larvae and the adults in their colony, and, according to the quality of the food, larvae will become workers or queens. The honey includes the worker bee's saliva, which has preservative quality. Hence the honey remains free from fermentation and decay indefinitely. The larva, which is meant to develop into a queen, gets a special food richer in proteins, the royal jelly, secreted by labial glands. Sex is mostly determined by the...

Marketing Living Insects

Flowering plants are fertilized by several groups of insects. By far the most common pollinators are bees, and the honey bee, Apis mellifera, plays the dominant role in pollinating large tracts of agriculture. The domestication of the honey bee for pollinating crops had its beginnings at least 4000 years ago. Since that time, beekeeping has flourished and is now a thriving industry. In the United States alone, 15 billion worth of crops (fruits, vegetables, flowers) are pollinated by domesticated honey bees each year. Commercial apiaries lease their beehives to growers who need their crops pollinated. The keepers manage the hives, moving the bees from field to field to ensure crop pollination (Fig. 1). Although worker bees are not sold as such, their labor is. Moreover, the commercial interdependency of the honey bee industry is complex. Keepers buy high-quality queen bees from specialized suppliers, who, along with the keepers, purchase bee-tending equipment from other specialized...

Symbolism And Reverence

Because of the perceived similarities between human and insect societies, social insects figure prominently in the symbolic representation of insects. Social insects such as ants, termites, and some bees represent desirable qualities such as unity, cooperation, and industriousness. For example, ants represent the benefits of teamwork and cooperation for the good of all. Many symbolic depictions feature the ancient activities of honey hunting and beekeeping. In Europe, bees and hives also are widely used in various signage and as heraldic emblems, perhaps extolling various qualities of bees upon their bearer. A fine example of the latter is found on the coat of arms of Pope Urban VIII, Maffeo Barberini, who consecrated the present church in St. Peter's Basilica in 1626. The three Barberini bees adorn various ornamentations at the church and many papal objects located in the Vatican museum, including the building itself. In the United States, honey bees are used to symbolize virtuous...

Germ Anlage Formation

The size of the germ anlage varies relative to the length of the egg. In nearly all species, the nuclei arrive at the periphery to form a blastoderm that encompasses the whole surface of the egg. In metamorphic species, such as fruit flies and honey bees, the germ anlage forms from nearly the entire blastoderm surface. However, in direct developing species (such as the grasshopper and cricket), after the formation of a uniform synctyial blastoderm, nuclei migrate and aggregate near the posterior pole, where the germ anlage forms. The germ anlage thus forms from a relatively small proportion of the blastoderm. In the former case, called long-germ-type embryos, the complete body pattern (head, gnathal, thoracic, and abdominal segments) is patterned at the blastoderm stage and all segments appear nearly simultaneously in development. In contrast, in short-germ-type embryos, the head lobes, the most anterior trunk segments, and the posterior terminus are patterned first. Additional...

Insects As Omens And Soothsayers

Because humans have practiced honey hunting and beekeeping for thousands of years, it is not surprising that there is much folklore surrounding these activities. The discovery and collection of honey is reason for merriment and joy in many hunter gatherer societies and much significance has been attributed to the presence of bees and their role as makers of honey. The activities of foraging honey bees are used to predict the weather. When bees forage far from the hive, good weather is expected, but when they forage nearby, poor weather is sure to come. In ancient Rome, swarms of bees foretold impending misfortune. The significance of the timing of bee swarms is exemplified by the following rhyme This saying is relevant to the beekeeper whose summer swarms of bees heading off into the distance mean lost assets.

Apis Species

(Honey Bees) Honey bees (genus Apis) are social insects in the family Apidae, order Hymenoptera they are among the Aculeata (i.e., those having stingers). They evolved after the separation of the Americas and Australia from Eurasia Africa and are native only in the Old World. The genus Apis probably first appeared in the Eocene, about 55 mya. Tropical species A. dorsata and A. florea existed by the end of the Oligocene 25 mya, and cavity-nesting A. mellifera and A. cerana, which can also live outside the tropics, were separate species by the end of the Pliocene about 2 mya. Therefore, the highly advanced cavity-nesting species have existed only perhaps a tenth as long as the open-nesting species, which were confined to the warmer tropics. The most important species to humans is A. mellifera, which has been introduced all over the world for use in beekeeping.

Honey Production

Beekeeping is the establishment and tending of colonies of social bees of any species, an activity from which the beekeeper obtains a harvest or reward. This reward is usually honey, but it may be some other bee product, or bees themselves (e.g., queens, or colonies for pollination). In beekeeping, each colony is usually in a hive, but some beekeeping is done with honey bees that build their nests in the open. Beekeeping is also done with certain nonsocial bees that are reared for pollinating crops.

Crop Pollination

Colonies taken to pollinate crops should be strong, with many foraging bees, and also much unsealed brood (to stimulate the bees to forage for pollen), and space for the queen to lay more eggs. Hives should not be taken to the crop before it comes into bloom, or the bees may start foraging on other plants and continue to do so when the crop flowers. If the hives are in a greenhouse, four to eight frames of bees in each may be sufficient, but the beekeeper must check regularly that the bees have enough food alternatively, each hive may be provided with two flight entrances, one into the greenhouse and one outside. Beekeepers who hire out hives of bees for crop pollination need to have a sound legal contract with the crop grower they should also be aware of the risks of their bees being poisoned by insecticides. In addition to honey bees, certain native bees are especially efficient in pollinating one or more crop species, and several

Bee Venom

Bee venom is by far the most pharmacologically active product from honey bees. The general mechanism of its action on humans who are not hypersensitive is as follows. Hyaluronidase breaks down hyaluronic acid polymers that serve as intercellular cement, and the venom spreads through the tissue. (Protective antibodies that develop in the serum of most beekeepers can effectively neutralize hyaluronidase, preventing the spread of the venom.) A protease inhibitor prevents enzymatic destruction of the hyaluronidase. Simultaneously, the mast cell degranulating peptide penetrates the membrane of the mast cells, creating pores. This releases histamine, which (in combination with some small molecules of the venom) contributes to the swelling and flare, and the local itching and burning sensation. As venom penetrates blood vessels and enters the circulatory system, phospholipase A and mellitin (as a micelle, a colloidal-sized aggregate of molecules) act synergistically to rupture blood cells....


Protein is required by young adult honey bees, and it is an important component of the food they give to larvae. It is obtained from pollen (microspores of seed plants) that older bees collect from flowers and store in the nest. In one study on A. mellifera in the United States, bee-collected (air-dried) pollens contained 7 to 30 crude protein and 19 to 41 carbohydrates (mostly sugars from honey that bees mixed with the pollen). Pollen also contains minerals (it has an ash content of 1 6 ), vitamins, enzymes, free amino acids, organic acids, flavonoids, and growth regulators. It is relatively easy for a beekeeper to collect the pollen being brought into hives by bees a pollen trap, fixed over the hive entrance, incorporates a grid (or two grids) through which incoming bees must push, and while they do this most pollen loads are knocked from their hind legs and drop into a tray below, although some bees get through the trap with their pollen loads. The beekeeper needs to ensure that...


Propolis is the material that honey bees and some other bees can collect from living plants, which they use alone or with beeswax in the construction and adaptation of their nests. Most of the plant sources are trees and bushes. The material collected may be a wound exudate (resin and latex) or a secretion (lipophilic substances, mucilage, and gum). Propolis thus has a much more varied origin than any other material collected by honey bees. Analyses of various samples (mostly of unknown plant origin) have shown the presence of over 100 compounds, including especially flavonoids. To collect propolis from a hive, the beekeeper inserts a contrivance, such as a flat horizontal grid having slits 2 3 mm wide that will stimulate the bees to close up the gaps with propolis. On removal from the hive, the contrivance is cooled in a freezer. The propolis then becomes brittle, and a sharp blow fractures it off in pieces, which can be stored for up to a year in a plastic bag. Propolis has various...


Beeswax is secreted by workers of most Apidae, which use it to build combs of cells in their nests, for rearing brood, and for storing food. Workers are female members of a colony of bees, active in foraging or nesting, but laying no eggs or only a few compared with a queen. The term beeswax is commonly used for the wax from honey bees (Apis),

Wax From Other Bees

Because the waxes of different species of social bees differ slightly, if A. mellifera wax is mixed with that of other bees, its characteristics are altered. Melting points have been reported as follows for wax from other species of honey bees A. dorsata, 60 C A. florea, 63 C A. cerana, 65 C stingless bees, Meliponinae Trigona spp. (India), 66.5 C T. beccarii (Africa), 64.6 C T. denoiti (Africa), 64.4 C and bumble

Reproductive Castes

In contrast, consistent reproductive caste differences in body size and shape have evolved in several lineages of social insects. Most eusocial insects with wingless workers, such as ants and termites, retain a morphologically distinct reproductive caste with wings. In species with flying workers, developmental allometry can still result in the production of distinct, nonoverlapping body forms for reproductives and workers. Morphologically discrete reproductive castes are found among honey bees, stingless bees, and some paper wasps. Reproductives are often larger than workers, but also differ in body proportions (hence shape) in ways that suggest specialization in egg laying, such as relatively enlarged abdomens. The degree of morphological differentiation between reproductive castes probably evolves in response to a complex array of natural selection pressures. For example, the degree to which the colony occupies a defensible, long-lasting nest site may in part determine the whether...

Nontarget arthropods

A number of guidelines for sequential testing schemes have been devised (Hassan, 1989 Oomen, 1998) however, for non-target organisms other than honey bees, the exact sequence of tests required, the criteria for moving between them and the interpretation of data obtained at each stage, are still subject to much debate (Denholm et al., 1998). Appropriate test procedures are incorporated into risk assessment schemes (e.g. Table 4.8) which ultimately define the methodology for regulatory risk management. Table 4.8. The step-by-step development of the risk assessment scheme for honey bees (after Oomen, 1998). Table 4.8. The step-by-step development of the risk assessment scheme for honey bees (after Oomen, 1998). Honey bees

Colony Growth

In seasonal habitats, the proper conditions for nest foundation can be constrained to a narrow window of time. This can select for a high degree of synchrony among colonies in a population in the timing of release of reproductives. In some species, reproductive offspring that depart from their natal nest must mate and either overwinter or initiate a new nest or perish. This pattern is apparently common to many ants and termites. In other species, reproductive females (honey bees, some bumble bees) and males (other bumble bees, some tropical Mischocyttarus wasps) can leave to find mates, but then return to the natal nest.


This family comprises medium-sized to large bees with long tongues, and setae that are branched or feathery and give a dense covering on the body. They usually live in large, well-organized communities consisting of sexually functioning females or queens, nonreproductive workers, and sexual males or drones. Queens and workers originate from fertilized eggs, and males from infertile eggs. These bees pollinate a variety of economically important crops and tree fruits. In this family are the well-known bumble bees and honey bees. These bees are widespread and common in the urban environment. Their biology and habits are similar to honey bees within the nests there are pollen and honey pots and brood cells. These bees often rob pollen and honey from other bee species. In some habitats, they are very common, with densities of 600 colonies per square kilometer. The common name is derived from the fact that their sting is reduced. Despite their inability to sting, they may be aggressive, and...


If a saucer of honey is placed outdoors, many hours or days may go by before a bee finds it and feeds on it. Soon after this first visit, however, large numbers of bees will arrive. Interest in honey bees goes back to prehistory, because their colonies provided human ancestors' most concentrated source of sugar. At least as far back as Aristotle, people have inferred that the bees that first discover a food source must recruit their nestmates to share in the collection of the food, thus accounting for the rapid buildup once a discovery has been made. The same kind of buildup occurs at flowers, bees' natural source of their sugary food.

Optic Lobes

The optic lobes of palaeopteran and neopteran insects consist of three retinotopic neuropils. These are the lamina, medulla, and lobula complex. In certain orders of insects (e.g., Diptera Lepidoptera, Coleoptera) the lobula complex is divided into two separate neuropils a lenticular lobula that is mainly composed of columnar neurons and a tectum-like lobula plate that is hallmarked by wide-field tangential neurons. However, in insects with an undivided lobula, deeper layers comprise tangential neurons that probably have the same functions as tangential neurons in the lobula plate. Connections between the medulla and the lobula plate in Diptera are homologous to connections between the medulla and the deep lobula layers in honey bees. The lobula plate or its equivalent supports achromatic motion vision, whereas the lobula is thought to support object and color vision. The lobula plate sends axons to dorsal neuropil of the lateral and medial protocerebrum from which descending neurons...

Johnstons Organ

Johnston's organ, that is, one or more groups of chordotonal sensilla located in the pedicel of the antenna, is present in all adult and many larval insects and generally serves a proprioceptive function, providing information on the position of the antenna with respect to the head, the direction and strength of air or water currents, or, in back swimmers (Notonectidae), the orientation of the insect in the water. However, in male mosquitoes and chironomids, as well as in worker honey bees, the structure has become specialized to perceive sounds, notably those produced by the wings of conspecifics. The waggle dance has long been recognized as the means by which foraging worker honey bees communicate information on the distance to and direction of a food source on their return to the hive (see also Section 7.1.4). However, only recently was it realized that sounds produced during the dance provide the information on distance. Low frequency (up to 500 kHz) sounds produced by wing...

Defensive Ploys

Stereotyped warnings are used to threaten and intimidate predators. Paper wasps (Polistes spp.) on their nest face large adversaries with raised wings, waving front legs, abdomens curved toward the predator, and wings flipped, fluttered, or buzzed. These threats inform the predator that it is spotted and an attack will ensue if the advance continues. Hissing cockroaches (Grophadorhina portentosa) threaten by hissing, which resembles the defensive hiss of a snake. Many flies and harmless bees and wasps buzz loudly when grabbed. These aposematic buzzes sound similar to those of painfully stinging honey bees and wasps and often serve as effective warnings. Protection can be achieved by living near or associating with a defended or noxious species. The tropical paper wasp, Mischocyttarus immarginatus, prefers to make its small nest with few individuals near the much larger nest of stinging Polybia occidentals, a common social wasp. The arrangement seems to provide protection for the...


The most complex form of learning in insects, latent learning, is the ability to relate two or more environmental stimuli, though this does not confer an immediate benefit. For insects, visual and chemosensory (especially olfactory) cues are especially important in latent learning. For example, Microplitis spp. learn to associate color, shape, and pattern with successful oviposition Locusta associates odor or visual cues with food quality and mosquitoes learn to recognize (and return to) sites where they have successfully fed and or oviposited (McCall and Kelly, 2002). Perhaps the best-studied example oflatent learning is the recognition and use oflandmarks by social Hymenoptera, enabling these insects to return to their nest or a food source. Foraging honey bees, wasps, and ants, on leaving a newly discovered food source, undertake a series of turn-back-and-look (TBL) manoeuvres (Lehrer, 1991 Judd and Collett, 1998 Lehrer and Bianco, 2000). In this activity the insect, when just a...

Societal Growth

In 1956, Curtis Sabrosky published a near-exhaustive list of entomological societies that had existed and or were still in existence. By 1956, at least 70 entomological societies had begun, blossomed (or not), and then faded away. That year, there were 96 active regional or national entomological societies (not counting those devoted to applied aspects such as apiculture or pest control). Only 10 specialty societies, devoted to a taxonomic group or some other special, non-applied aspect, were listed 3 devoted to Coleoptera (in Austria, the United States, and Japan), 4 for Lepidoptera (3 in Japan and 1 in the United States), and 1 international society for the study of social insects. The post-1956 period has seen a huge development of specialty societies. Today, there are at least 92 specialty societies (including 1 for conservation of invertebrates in general and 1 devoted to young entomologists). There has been increased worldwide interest in Lepidoptera at least 22 new societies...


Dried fruits, and are also found in wild and commercial honey bee hives, especially in the debris at the bottom and, less often, in the combs. This species is cosmopolitan. Adult wing span is 28-30 mm the gray or pale brown body is marked with black tubercles on the fore wing, and the tips ofthe wings are gray. Males are smaller than females and lack maxillary palps. Full-grown caterpillars are 23-28 mm long, and the body color ranges from yellowish white to brown, with a dark brown to black prothoracic region and dorsum. The head is dark brown, with four pairs of ocelli. The thoracic spiracle has a yellow peritreme of uniform thickness. It infests abandoned or weakened bee nests, and can enter buildings from nests behind walls or in attics. It is an Old-World species, but is distributed in the USA and other regions where honey bees are kept. Eggs are laid atnighton or near the comb, and hatching is in 10-12 days. The caterpillar burrows through the hive comb and feeds on wax,...

Instructional Tales

In addition to being entertaining, some folk tales serve as a useful means of instruction. Many tales are told to convey a moral message or pass on useful information in an interesting, amusing, and hence more easily remembered format. An example is that of Aesop's fable of the ant and the grasshopper. While the ant concerned himself all summer with gathering provisions for the upcoming winter, the grasshopper spent his time in leisure and song. The grasshopper even derided the ant for spending so much of his time at work instead of play. When winter came, the grasshopper was not prepared and suffered the consequences of his folly. The ant on the other hand, lived comfortably through the winter on the stores he gathered all summer. The activities of these insects in this story are used to show the importance of preparation for future times of necessity. In addition to ants, the behavior of other social insects such as termites, honey bees, and wasps is commonly used to exemplify the...

The Origin Of Honey

Certain social insects produce and store honey as a non-perishable food for use in dearth periods. The insects include all honey bees (Apis spp.) and stingless bees (Melipona and Trigona spp.) and also certain species of social wasps in South America (Nectarina) and honey ants, e.g., Melophorus inflatus in Australia. Honey-producing species whose colonies die out at the end of the active season, which are most social wasps and bumble bees (Bombus spp.), store comparatively little honey, and it is not economically important.

Honey Processing

In a beekeeper's hives the bees store honey in the combs of an upper honey box that is removed when it is full. Bees may be cleared from combs in the honey box by various methods brushing and shaking bees off combs, using a bee-escape board through which bees can leave the honey box but not return, using a bee repellent, or blowing the bees out of the boxes with a stream of air. The processing of honey for sale either liquid or granulated is obviated if honey combs themselves are sold. Traditionally, sections were miniature wooden frames fitted with a very thin wax comb foundation on which the bees built cells, filled them with honey and the beekeeper hoped completely sealed them the weight of honey in each section sold was usually 0.5 kg or 1 lb. However, perfectly sealed sections are difficult to produce, and in the 1900s several easier ways were devised to prepare honey in the comb for sale. One alternative is cut-comb honey. To produce it the beekeeper inserts large frames fitted...


The European sevenspotted lady beetle (Coccinella septempunctata), introduced to the United States for control of the Russian wheat aphid (Diuraphis noxia), has locally outcompeted several native lady beetles. European honey bees outcompete the native bee Osmia pumila for pollen in New York State. Introduced insects can even outcompete vertebrates. The introduced wasps Vespula germanica and V. vulgaris in New Zealand outcompete an endemic parrot for honeydew produced by a scale insect (Ultracoelostoma assimile) and have locally lowered parrot populations.


Associative memory in insects, as in vertebrates and other animals, is time-dependent and phasic. Recent work on fruit flies and honey bees suggests as many as five memory phases (1) an early and (2) a late form of short-term memory eSTM and lSTM , (3) a midterm memory MTM , and two forms of long-term memory (in honey bees, characterized as (4) an early form eLTM and (5) a late form lLTM in Drosophila, characterized as (4) an anesthetic-resistant form and (5) a parallel, susceptible form). STM forms immediately upon association, is short-lived (seconds to minutes), and is relatively easily erased by conflicting information or treatment by cooling or shock. eSTM is characterized by a relatively nonspecific appetitive arousal and is highly suseptible to interference by new, conflicting information or by cooling. lSTM is more stable, is more specific, and takes longer to form than eSTM. The transition from STM to MTM after a single learning trial requires several minutes. MTM is more...

Function Of Learning

In a sense, the function of associative learning is obvious. Animals learn by association to orient toward stimuli predicting positively rewarding resources (such as sugar, pollen, food plant, hosts) and away from stimuli predicting negatively rewarding events (shock, heat, toxins, predators). Likewise, habituation is a means for reducing energy-wasteful, time-consuming responses to meaningless stimuli. In either case, however, learning is needed only if the appropriate responses cannot be predicted without benefit of experience, else an insect could respond (or not respond) innately. Even in an unpredictable environment, whether learning yields higher fitness than innate behavior depends on the relative costs of learning. A robust assessment of costs and benefits of learning has proved elusive, perhaps in part because individual fitness in nature is especially difficult to measure in Drosophila and honey bees, the systems in which learning processes and mechanisms have been best...

Honeydew As Food

Honeydew has been used as a source of food by people. Encrustations of honeydew produced by scale insects have been eaten since biblical times in the Middle East. Certain groups of Australian Aborigines and American Indians also used lerp from psyllids and honeydew from scale insects as a source of sugar. In Central Europe, large amounts of honeydew are consumed indirectly, because the honeydew of aphids on conifers is the principal, and sometimes sole, source of food for some honey bees. The honey produced from this source, often referred to as Wald Honig (forest honey), is considered of inferior in quality to floral honey but is, nevertheless, consumed extensively.


Pest status ofVespa is based on the aggressive behavior and painful sting of some species, and to the damage foraging workers do to ripening fruit and stripping bark off twigs and branches of ornamental plants. V. orientalis in the Middle Eastis aseriouspesttofruitcrops and commercial honey bee colonies. W.basalis, V. mongolica, V. mandarinia, and W.velutina are aggressive species, and it is dangerous to be close to their nests, whether they are disturbed or not. In urban areas, the presence of V. ajjinis, V. analis, and V. tropica nests causes public concern, and there are cases of death from stings. Species of Vespa are also reported to cause damage to ripe fruits ofpapaya, guava, peach, fig, grapes, apricots, and apples. Crops such as tea may remain unpicked because of nests in the branches of the plant. V. crabro vigorously attacks several species of shrubs and trees to obtain plant sap. The plants commonly attacked include lilac, ash, birch, dogwood, rhododendron, and boxwood. In...

Insect Zoos Defined

Most facilities contain a series of terrariums, where species are displayed in naturalistic mini-environments. A major insectarium is a comprehensive coverage of the class Insecta, representing many different orders such as Coleoptera, Hymenoptera, Orthoptera, and Mantodea. Observation honey bee hives, ant and termite colonies, walkingsticks, katydids, lubber grasshoppers, and assassin bugs are a few examples of typical displays. These facilities can be distinguished from collections of a few species of arthropod housed in a reptile house or aquarium or included in an exhibit that focuses on the interpretation of a particular ecosystem. Many tropical rain forest exhibits today include a few displays of insects, often a leafcutter ant exhibit and a few other invertebrates as nominal representatives of the vast diversity of invertebrates. However, overall these exhibits emphasize the vertebrate fauna of rain forests and present a relatively minor treatment of the subject of...

Learning Processes

Many associative learning processes that have been described for vertebrates have also been shown in insects. The following list of selected processes is derived mainly from work on honey bees, unless otherwise noted. Generalization refers to an animal's tendency to respond to stimuli that were not reinforced but that are related to a reinforced stimulus (A+) along some perceptual dimension. Moths and honey bees have been shown to generalize odors according to similarities in functional groups and carbon-chain length. Blocking occurs when an animal that first learns to respond to a stimulus (A+), and is then reinforced on A and a novel stimulus, B, presented together ( AB +), subsequently fails to show a heightened response to B alone, relative to controls. Learning of stimulus B has been blocked by coupling with the previously learned stimulus A. Blocking illustrates that temporal pairing between a CS and a US is not sufficient for associative learning to take place rather, a new CS...

Solitary Bees

FIGURE 19.27 Head of German shepherd dog in fatal case of attack by Africanized honey bees (Apis mellifera). Note the concentration of bee stings about the eye. (Photo by J. Schmidt.) FIGURE 19.26 Honey bees (Apis mellifera) on surface of comb in hive. European honey bee (center), surrounded by Africanized honey bee workers. (Courtesy of Entomological Society of America.) FIGURE 19.26 Honey bees (Apis mellifera) on surface of comb in hive. European honey bee (center), surrounded by Africanized honey bee workers. (Courtesy of Entomological Society of America.) dampened the defensive tendencies of many races, honey bee colonies can still attack and sting intruders in large numbers. The perennial colonies of honey bees usually survive the winter, and in late spring through early summer they reproduce by swarming. Swarms often are seen resting in exposed sites such as trees, shrubs, and under eaves of buildings while they are seeking a suitable cavity in which to establish a new hive....


These flies are 6-12 mm long and brightly colored yellow and black. They are often seen hovering around flowers. Others are 12-20 mm long, brown to dark brown flies associated with decaying organic matter. Many species resemble bees and wasps some look like honey bees and some bumble bees. The drone fly, Eristalis tenax, resembles a honey bee in appearance and sound. Larvae of this species are found in decaying organic matter. Aristotle theorized that honey bees could be generated from the dead carcass of an ox. Indeed, this substrate may have provided a breeding site for the saphrophagous larvae of E. tenax, and the honey bees he saw may have been the adult flies.

Beekeeping for Beginners

Beekeeping for Beginners

The information in this book is useful to anyone wanting to start beekeeping as a hobby or a business. It was written for beginners. Those who have never looked into beekeeping, may not understand the meaning of the terminology used by people in the industry. We have tried to overcome the problem by giving explanations. We want you to be able to use this book as a guide in to beekeeping.

Get My Free Ebook