Social encapsulation of beetle parasites by Cape honeybee colonies (Apis mellifera capensis Esch.)
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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.
KeywordsEncapsulation Apis Mellifera Propolis Defensive Behaviour Honeybee Coloni
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