Naturwissenschaften

, Volume 88, Issue 5, pp 214–216

Social encapsulation of beetle parasites by Cape honeybee colonies (Apis mellifera capensis Esch.)

  •  P. Neumann
  •  C. Pirk
  •  H. Hepburn
  •  A. Solbrig
  •  F. Ratnieks
  •  P. Elzen
  •  J. Baxter
Short Communication

DOI: 10.1007/s001140100224

Cite this article as:
Neumann, P., Pirk, C., Hepburn, H. et al. Naturwissenschaften (2001) 88: 214. doi:10.1007/s001140100224

Abstract.

Worker honeybees (Apis mellifera capensis) encapsulate the small hive beetle (Aethina tumida), a nest parasite, in propolis (tree resin collected by the bees). The encapsulation process lasts 1–4 days and the bees have a sophisticated guarding strategy for limiting the escape of beetles during encapsulation. Some encapsulated beetles died (4.9%) and a few escaped (1.6%). Encapsulation has probably evolved because the small hive beetle cannot easily be killed by the bees due to its hard exoskeleton and defensive behaviour.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  •  P. Neumann
    • 1
  •  C. Pirk
    • 2
  •  H. Hepburn
    • 2
  •  A. Solbrig
    • 2
  •  F. Ratnieks
    • 3
  •  P. Elzen
    • 4
  •  J. Baxter
    • 4
  1. 1.Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Institut für Zoologie/Molekulare Ökologie, Kröllwitzerstrasse 44, 06099 Halle/Saale, Germany
  2. 2.Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
  3. 3.Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, Sheffield University, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK
  4. 4.USDA, Kika de la Garza Subtropical Agricultural Research Center, Weslaco, TX 78596, USA