Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 65, Issue 5, pp 945–958

Moving home: nest-site selection in the Red Dwarf honeybee (Apis florea)

  • James C. Makinson
  • Benjamin P. Oldroyd
  • Timothy M. Schaerf
  • Wandee Wattanachaiyingcharoen
  • Madeleine Beekman
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00265-010-1095-9

Cite this article as:
Makinson, J.C., Oldroyd, B.P., Schaerf, T.M. et al. Behav Ecol Sociobiol (2011) 65: 945. doi:10.1007/s00265-010-1095-9

Abstract

The Red Dwarf honeybee (Apis florea) is one of two basal species in the genus Apis. A. florea differs from the well-studied Western Hive bee (Apis mellifera) in that it nests in the open rather than in cavities. This fundamental difference in nesting biology is likely to have implications for nest-site selection, the process by which a reproductive swarm selects a new site to live in. In A. mellifera, workers show a series of characteristic behaviors that allow the swarm to select the best nest site possible. Here, we describe the behavior of individual A. florea workers during the process of nest-site selection and show that it differs from that seen in A. mellifera. We analyzed a total of 1,459 waggle dances performed by 197 scouts in five separate swarms. Our results suggest that two fundamental aspects of the behavior of A. mellifera scouts—the process of dance decay and the process of repeated nest site evaluation—do not occur in A. florea. We also found that the piping signal used by A. mellifera scouts to signal that a quorum has been reached at the chosen site, is performed by both dancing and non-dancing bees in A. florea. Thus, the piping signal appears to serve a different purpose in A. florea. Our results illustrate how differences in nesting biology affect the behavior of individual bees during the nest-site selection process.

Keywords

Apis floreaNest-site selectionGroup decision-makingSwarming

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • James C. Makinson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Benjamin P. Oldroyd
    • 1
    • 2
  • Timothy M. Schaerf
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wandee Wattanachaiyingcharoen
    • 3
  • Madeleine Beekman
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Behaviour and Genetics of Social Insects Lab, School of Biological Sciences A12University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Mathematical BiologyUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceNaresuan UniversityPhitsanulokThailand