Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 167–181 | Cite as

The habitat and nesting biology of the African honey beeApis mellifera scutellata in the Okavango River Delta, Botswana, Africa

  • S. Schneider
  • R. Blyther


The habitat and nesting biology were studied for naturally occurring colonies of the African honey bee,Apis mellifera scutellata, in the Okavango River Delta, Botswana. Vegetational surveys revealed that the forage available to Delta colonies was abundant and potentially available year round. Colonies had a density of 7.8 nests/km2. Nest cavities occurred with equal frequency in trees and termite mounds, had a volume of approximately 17 L, were unpropolized, and had south-facing, top-located entrances. Delta colonies were small (ca. 6,500 workers), constructed small amounts of comb (ca. 3,000 cm2), stored little food, devoted 78% of comb space to brood production, exhibited little nest defense, and experienced a 48% predation rate during the 5 month study period. The characteristics observed forscutellata in this study are discussed as adaptations to the hot climate, long foraging season, and high predation rate experienced in the Delta. Data for the Delta colonies are compared to those forscutellata in other tropical areas, and to honey bees in temperate climate regions.


Predation Rate High Predation Vegetational Survey Nest Cavity Nest Defense 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Lebensraum und Nestbiologie der Afrikanischen HonigbieneApis mellifera scutellata, im Delta des Okavango Flusses, Botswana, Afrika


Der Lebensraum und die Nestbiologie der Afrikanischen Honigbiene,Apis mellifera scutellata, wurden an Völkern im natürlichen Verbreitungsgebiet im Delta des Okavango Flusses, Botswana, untersucht. Beobachtungen der Vegetation zeigten, daß den Völkern im Delta das ganze Jahr über reichlich Nahrung zur Verfügung steht. Die Koloniedichte betrug 7.8 Nester/km2. Nesthöhlen fanden sich gleich häufig in Bäumen wie in Termitenhügeln, sie hatten ein Volumen von ca. 17 L, waren nicht propolisiert und hatten nach Süden gerichtete, oben liegende Eingänge. Die Völker im Delta waren klein (ca. 6,500 Arbeiterinnen), sie bauten wenig Waben (ca. 3,000 cm2), speicherten wenig Nahrung, verwendeten 78% der Waben für die Brut und sie verfteidigten ihr Nest nur schwach; die Verlustrate durch Räuber betrug 48%. Die charakteristischen Eigenschaften, die fürscutellata in dieser Untersuchung beobachtet wurden, werden als Anpassungen an das heisse Klima, an die lange Trachtperiode und an die im Delta auftretende hohe Verlustrate diskutiert. Die Ergebnisse, die an Völkern im Delta gewonnen wurden, werden verglichen mit Ergebnissen anscutellata in anderen tropischen Gebieten und mit Ergebnissen anscutellata in anderen tropischen Gebieten und mit Ergebnissen an Honigbienen in gemäßigten Klimazonen.


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Copyright information

© Masson 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Schneider
    • 1
  • R. Blyther
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of North CarolinaCharlotteUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesHumboldt State UniversityArcataUSA

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