The Remaining Endopterygote Orders

FIGURE 10.37. Apoidea. The honey bee, Apis mellifera (Apidae). (A) Queen, (B) worker, and (C) drone. [From G. Nixon. 1959, The World of Bees, Hutchinson. Reprinted by permission of The Random House Group Ltd.]

The ANTHOPHORINAE form a large group (4000 species) of mainly solitary or parasitic bees. Females of solitary forms frequently nest in large numbers close together, usually in holes in the ground (digger bees) or burrow into wood or plant stems (carpenter bees) (Figure 10.36D,E). In some carpenter bees there is a primitive social organization in which the queen, morphologically identical with her offspring (the workers), lays eggs and is long-lived, whereas the workers do not usually lay eggs and live for only a relatively short time.

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 workers then attend to and rear the Psithyrus larvae in preference to those of their own species. Included in the Apini are five species of Apis, of which the most familiar is A. mellifera, the honey bee (Figure 10.37), a native of Europe and Africa, but now cosmopolitan as a result of commerce (see Chapter 24, Section 2.1). Most species of stingless bees are highly social, with well differentiated queens and workers, and a communication system comparable to that of honey bees. However, in Melipona and Trigona mass provisioning of brood cells occurs, and there is no contact between the adults and young. Young queens of Trigona are reared in special cells, as are those of Apis. However, in contrast to Apis, a young queen and attendants form a new nest; the old queen, being too large and heavy to fly, cannot move to a new site as occurs in Apis.

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

Post a comment