Asian Honey Bees

The Asian Honey Bee which is also called Apis cerana or the Asiatic honey bee is a species that is found in southern, south-eastern, and eastern Asia.

Key Points

  • These are well known for building nests consisting of multiple combs inside cavities, in order to defend against bees of another nest.
  • These species of bees are said to exhibit very high social behavior.
  • The physical characteristics of the Asian Honey bees are similar to other bee species. They are black in color with yellow stripes. They have long and erect hairs that cover the compound eyes.
  • The bees also have differences in Queen, drones, and worker bees. Queen bees i.e. the females have enlarged reproductive organs; Worker bees have pollen press on the leg for transporting pollen and have a stringer (organ for injecting venom). The drones i.e. male bees have larger eyes, blunter abdominal, and no stringer.

Asian Honey Bees use animal faeces to protect their nests

  • A recent discovery has revealed that these bees use animal faeces on to their nests in order to repel attacks from other insects and hornets.
  • Hornets are the largest wasps (insects that are neither bees nor ants).
  • This is said to be a sophisticated defense mechanism and these bees use the faeces mostly from livestock.
  • The study found that the hornets spent less time at the nest with dung spots as compared to the cleaner hives.
  • However, the team does not know why the animal poo is repulsive for hornets.
  • Scientists predict that may be the animal poo blocks the scent that helps the hornets to reach their target honey bee nests. Another reason can be the obvious one that animal faeces are unclean.

This research on the Asian Honey bee was published in the journal Plos One.

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