Beekeeping Information

Build Your Own Warre Garden Backyard Top Bar Beehive

The book contains: Detailed pictures and diagrams showing every hive part and component so you can easily visualize your completed beehive as you build it. 8 chapters detailing every part of the beehive to make sure you get all the info you need to build your hive. The types of materials I use to build beehives. These materials are easy to find and also very inexpensive. You can build a complete beehive for less than a night on the town! 56 pages! I don't alloon my books. You get content and a lot of it in a concise, easy to read format. Step by step Point of View pictures look over my shoulder as I build, finish and install a complete beehive. Never worry about getting lost in the instructions again! You'll know exactly what to do and when to do it! Read more here...

Build Your Own Warre Garden Backyard Top Bar Beehive Summary


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Traditional Movablecomb Hive Beekeeping

Movable-comb hive beekeeping was a crucial intermediate step between fixed-comb beekeeping, which had been done in many parts of the Old World, and the movable-frame beekeeping used today. In a book published in 1682 in England, Sir George Wheler recounted his journeys in Greece and provided details of the hives he saw there (Fig. 3). He described the wooden bars shown lying across the top of the hive as broad, flat sticks and said that the bees built a comb down from each top-bar, which may be taken out whole, without the least bruising, and with the greatest ease imaginable. So it was a movable-comb hive. The Greek beekeepers must have placed the bars at the bees' natural spacing of their combs. They made a new colony by putting half the bars and combs from a hive into an empty one the queen would be in one of the hives, and the bees in the other would rear a new queen. In the mountain range that separates Vietnam from China, some of the native peoples use a movable-comb hive for A....

Techniques Of Modern Movableframe Hive Beekeeping With Apis Mellifera

Most of the world's beekeeping is done with A. mellifera. In past centuries, these bees were kept primarily for the production of honey and beeswax. Beekeeping is still done mainly to produce honey, but there are also other specialized types of operation. These include the rearing of queens or package bees for other beekeepers who are producing honey. Another type of beekeeping provides colonies of bees to pollinate crops, since in many areas of large-scale agriculture A colony of honey-storing bees collects nectar from which it makes honey. Nectar is not available continuously, and to store much honey a colony of bees needs many foraging bees (over, say, 10 days old) whenever a nectar flow is available within their flight range. Bees may fly 2 km if necessary, but the greater the distance, the more energy they expend in flight, and the more nectar or honey they consume. Thus, it is often cost-effective for the beekeeper to move hives to several nectar flows in turn during the active...

Origination and World Spread of Movable Frame Beekeeping

The production of a movable-frame hive divided the history of hive beekeeping into two distinct phases. This new hive type was invented in 1851 by Reverend Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth in Philadelphia. He was familiar with the Greek movable-comb hive (discussed later under Traditional Movable-Comb Hive Beekeeping) and with some rectangular hives devised in Europe that contained wooden frames for the bees to build their combs in. These hives, however, had only a very small gap between the frames and the hive walls, and the bees built wax to close it. In 1853 Langstroth described how he had often pondered ways in which he could get rid of the disagreeable necessity of cutting the attachments of the combs from the walls of the hives. He continued, The almost self-evident idea of using the same bee-space as between the centerlines of combs in the frames in the shallow honey chambers came into my mind, and in a moment the suspended movable frames, kept at a suitable distance from each other...

Beekeeping with A cerana in Movable Frame Hives

Bees of most races of A. cerana are smaller than A. mellifera they also build smaller colonies and are less productive for the beekeeper. Unlike A. mellifera, A. cerana does not collect or use propolis. A. cerana was the only hive bee in Asia until A. mellifera was introduced in the late 1800s it had been kept in traditional hives (logs, boxes, barrels, baskets, pottery) since the first or second century A.D. in China and probably from the 300s B.C. in the upper Indus basin, now in Pakistan. The movable-frame hives used for A. cerana are like a scaled-down version of those for A. mellifera. Colony management is similar, except that the beekeeper needs to take steps to minimize absconding by the colonies. In India 30 to 75 of colonies may abscond each year. To prevent this, a colony must always have sufficient stores of both pollen and honey or syrup, and preferably a young queen. Special care is needed to prevent robbing when syrup is fed. Colonies must also be protected against ants...

Hymenoptera Ants Bees Wasps Family Apidae Honey Bees

Honey is prized by many indigenous cultures, and bee pupae mature larvae, sometimes called grubs or brood, are often as highly prized as the honey. In southeast Asia, three species of wild bees, Apis dorsata, A. florea, and A. indica, are important sources of honey, wax, and brood. A. dorsata is the largest species and its nests, in the higher branches of large trees, may be up to 2 m in diameter. Its honey is also the most expensive, but honey from A. florea is most commonly found in the markets. People often eat the grubs uncooked, but they are also fried or put into soup. In Latin America, the grubs of A. mellifera and of species in several genera of stingless bees (subfamily Meliponinae) are used as food, and some of the bees, in Brazil and Mexico, for example, are semidomesticated. Bees, including stingless species, are also important in Africa. In some places, such as the Congo (Kinshasa), honey and brood are still harvested by cutting down the tree although the practice has...

Resources For Beekeepers

There are various sources of information and help for beekeepers. Many countries publish one or more beekeeping journals, and have a beekeepers' or apiculturists' association with regional and local branches. Apimondia in Rome, Italy (http is the international federation of national beekeepers' associations. In many countries, the ministry of agriculture or a similar body maintains a bee department that inspects colonies for bee diseases and often also provides an advisory service for beekeepers. Research on bees and or beekeeping may be carried out under this ministry or by other bodies. The International Bee Research Association in Cardiff, U.K. serves as a world center for scientific information on bees and beekeeping, and publishes international journals, including Apicultural Abstracts, which contains summaries of recent publications worldwide. Information about access to the Association's data banks can be obtained from its Web site (http,...

Other Aspects Of Modern Hive Beekeeping World Spread of A mellifera

In Asian countries where A. cerana was used for beekeeping, A. mellifera was introduced at the same time as movable-frame hives. Some probable dates of introduction were 1875-1876 in Japan, 1880s in India, 1896 in China, and 1908 in Vietnam. Between 1850 and 1900 there was widespread activity among beekeepers in testing the suitability of different races ofA. mellifera for hive beekeeping. The most favored race was Italian (A. m. ligustica), named from Liguria on the west coast of Italy, south of Genoa.

Other Honey Bee Viruses

Arkansas bee virus (ABV) was originally detected in honey bees in Arkansas by injecting apparently healthy adult bees with extracts of locally gathered pollen loads of foraging bees. Individuals injected with the virus die after about 14 days but otherwise show no sign of disease.

Future Perspectives

The recent recognition of virus infections as a primary cause of mortality in honey bee colonies infested with the parasitic mite V. jacobsoni has stimulated increased interest and awareness of honey bee viruses worldwide. A more extensive capability to detect and Although almost all of the viruses of bees have been shown to be widespread and to shorten the lives of individuals, their effects under most circumstances are not striking. Indeed, the persistence of a number of distinct and occasionally virulent viruses in apparently healthy, perennial colonies emphasizes the powerful innate ability of bees to resist their multiplication and spread. This natural propensity is most evident when colonies of bees are allowed to develop and undertake their normal activities unhindered - an ideal which is increasingly difficult to attain with the demands of modern intensive beekeeping, particularly migratory and pollination work. Some honey bee viruses may still be localized but their ability...

Division Of Labor Among Workers

Age-related division of labor is the most common form of worker organization. Workers typically work inside the nest when they are young and shift to defending the nest and foraging outside when they are older. In the more elaborate forms of age-related division of labor, such as in honey bee colonies, workers perform a sequence of jobs in the nest before they mature into foragers. Physiological changes accompany this behavioral development to increase the efficiency with which particular tasks are performed. Among these are changes in metabolism, diet, and glandular secretions. A third form of division of labor among workers involves individual variability independent of age or morphology that results in an even finer grained social system. There are differences in the rate at which individual workers grow some show precocious behavioral development, while others mature more slowly. There also are differences between individuals in the degree of task specialization. For example,...

Symbolism And Reverence

Because of the perceived similarities between human and insect societies, social insects figure prominently in the symbolic representation of insects. Social insects such as ants, termites, and some bees represent desirable qualities such as unity, cooperation, and industriousness. For example, ants represent the benefits of teamwork and cooperation for the good of all. Many symbolic depictions feature the ancient activities of honey hunting and beekeeping. In Europe, bees and hives also are widely used in various signage and as heraldic emblems, perhaps extolling various qualities of bees upon their bearer. A fine example of the latter is found on the coat of arms of Pope Urban VIII, Maffeo Barberini, who consecrated the present church in St. Peter's Basilica in 1626. The three Barberini bees adorn various ornamentations at the church and many papal objects located in the Vatican museum, including the building itself. In the United States, honey bees are used to symbolize virtuous...

Plasticity In Colony Division Of Labor

Mechanisms of worker behavioral integration often involve social interactions. For example, in many species, including Polybia wasps and honey bees, nest workers routinely relieve the foragers of their newly acquired loads, whether nest material or food. Foragers that are unloaded Social inhibition is a potent mechanism of integration in insect colonies. In colonies of honey bees, social inhibition acts to keep the division of labor synchronized with changes in colony age demography. Older workers inhibit the rate of maturation of younger workers. Some young workers in a colony deficient in older workers, for example, exposed to lower levels of social inhibition, respond by becoming precocious foragers. The specific honey bee worker factor that causes this inhibition has not yet been identified, but other sources of social inhibition have, emanating from the queen and the brood. The regulation of the size of the soldier force in Pheidole colonies also is based on a process of social...

Stingless Bees Meliponinae in the Tropics

In the Old World tropics, much more honey could be obtained from honey bees than from stingless bees, and the latter were seldom used for beekeeping. But in the Americas, where there were no honey bees, hive beekeeping was developed especially with the stingless bee, Melipona beecheii, a fairly large species well suited for the purpose. It builds a horizontal nest with brood in the center and irregular cells at the extremities, where honey and pollen are stored. The Maya people in the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico still do much beekeeping with this bee. The hive is made from a hollowed wooden log, its ends being closed by a wooden or stone disk. To harvest honey, one of the disks is removed to provide access to honey cells these are broken off with a blunt object, and a basket is placed underneath the opening to strain the honey into a receptacle below. Many similar stone disks from the 300s B.C. and later were excavated from Yucatan and from the island of Cozumel, suggesting that the...

Insects As Omens And Soothsayers

Because humans have practiced honey hunting and beekeeping for thousands of years, it is not surprising that there is much folklore surrounding these activities. The discovery and collection of honey is reason for merriment and joy in many hunter gatherer societies and much significance has been attributed to the presence of bees and their role as makers of honey. The activities of foraging honey bees are used to predict the weather. When bees forage far from the hive, good weather is expected, but when they forage nearby, poor weather is sure to come. In ancient Rome, swarms of bees foretold impending misfortune. The significance of the timing of bee swarms is exemplified by the following rhyme This saying is relevant to the beekeeper whose summer swarms of bees heading off into the distance mean lost assets.

Honey Bee Diseases Parasites Predators and Poisoning

Since the 1950s it has been increasingly easy to move honey bees (queens with attendant workers, and then packages of bees) from one country or continent to another. One result has been that diseases and parasites of the bees have been transmitted to a great many new areas, and to species or races of honey bee that had little or no resistance to them. The development of large-scale agriculture has involved the use of insecticides, many of which are toxic to bees and can kill those taken to pollinate crops. In California alone, insecticides killed 82,000 colonies in 1962 in 1973 the number was reduced to 36,000, but in 1981 it had risen again, to 56,000. More attention is now paid to the use of practices that protect the bees, including selecting pesticides less toxic to beneficial insects, using pesticides in the forms least toxic to honey bees (e.g., granular instead of dust), spraying at night when bees are not flying, spraying only when the crop is not in flower, and using systemic...

Package Bee Production

Package bees are normally produced at relatively low latitudes where spring comes early, and are sold at higher latitudes where it is difficult to keep colonies over the winter many northern beekeepers find it more cost-effective to kill some or all of their colonies when they harvest the season's honey, and to buy package bees next spring. (If they overwinter no colonies, they can follow another occupation for 6 months or more at least one beekeeper spends the Canadian winter beekeeping in New Zealand, where it is then summer.) The site where the packages are produced should be earlier weatherwise, by 2 months or more, than the site where the bees are used. A package bee industry is most likely to be viable where a single country stretches over a sufficient north-south distance (at least 1000 km, and up to 2000 or even 2500 km). But in New Zealand, package bees are produced at the end of the bees' active season and sent by air to Canada, where the season is just starting.

Tales That Explain Observed Phenomena

Many folk tales dealing with insects are based on fanciful explanations of natural phenomena. The ancient tale of the bugonia apparently originated from such confusion. Bugonia comes from a Greek word that means ox progeny, and is based on the notion that a swarm of honey bees could be spontaneously generated from the rotting carcass of an ox (Fig. 1). This was not merely a description of something perceived to occur in nature, but was a means whereby people could generate many new individuals of these beneficial insects. For this to be successful, precise instructions had to be followed regarding the proper methods and timing of the slaughter and preparation of the ox carcass. This European tale is also found in Chinese and Japanese folklore, and similar beliefs existed for the generation of other bee-like insects from the FIGURE 1 A 16th century depiction of spontaneous generation of honey bees from a dead ox. Illustration modified from Bodenheimer (1928). FIGURE 1 A 16th century...

Division Of Labor For Reproduction

In many species of social insects, queens and workers are distinguished by striking morphological differences. A queen can have huge ovaries and a sperm storage organ that maintains viable sperm for years. The most striking morphological differences between queens and workers occur as a result of caste determination, which occurs during preadult stages. Caste determination has an endocrine basis. Research on the honey bee, Apis mellifera, and the bumble bee, Bombus terrestris, has shown that a high hemolymph titer of juvenile hormone (JH) during a critical period of larval development induces queen development. JH and presumably other hormones trigger a variety of processes that ultimately result in the production of either a worker or a queen. For example, caste-specific apoptosis (cell death) occurs in the ovaries of worker-destined honey bees and is associated with low titers of JH and ecdysteroid. Molecular analyses of endocrine-mediated caste determination have just begun. Some...

A mellifera in the Middle East Europe and Africa

Humans have obtained honey and wax from bees' nests in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa since very early times. Beekeeping with A. mellifera was probably initiated in an area when the human population increased so much that it needed more honey or wax than was available at existing nest sites, or when some change occurred that reduced the number of nest sites for instance, when trees were felled to clear land for agriculture. In the Middle East, population increase was linked with the development of civilizations. The earliest known hive beekeeping was done in ancient Egypt, and similar traditional beekeeping is still carried out in Egypt. In Abu Ghorab, near Cairo, an Old Kingdom bas-relief from around 2400 B.C. shows a kneeling beekeeper working at one end of hives built into a stack smoke is used to pacify the bees, and honey is being transferred into large storage pots. Over time, In the forests of northern Europe, where honey bees nested in tree cavities, early humans obtained...

Function Of The Circadian System

In addition to its role in generating daily rhythms, the cir-cadian clock has been shown to be involved in photoperiodic time measurement for seasonal regulation of reproduction, development, and diapause in many insects. In honey bees (Apis mellifera), it is also involved in time measurement necessary for time-compensated sun orientation and in Zeitgedachtnis, which is the ability to return at the appropriate time to a food source that is available only at particular times of day. Thus the circadian system functions as a biological clock, capable of providing the individual with information on the time of day and with the ability to measure lapse of time.

Historical Development

The study of the diseases of insects started not for purposes of killing pest insects, but rather for protecting economically important species such as silkworms and honey bees. In the mid- to late nineteenth century, microscopes made it possible to observe bacteria and microscopic fungi, and the study of these organisms as pathogens of domesticated insects initiated insect pathology. The infectious nature of insect diseases was first demonstrated by Agostino Bassi of Italy, who in 1835 studied a fungal disease of silkworm larvae caused by the fungus Beauveria bassiana. Louis Pasteur continued work on silkworm diseases in France in the 1860s. The first attempt to use pathogens to destroy pest insects was made in 1884 by the Russian entomologist Elie Metchnikoff, who reared Metarhizium anisopliae, a fungal pathogen, and attempted to suppress the sugar beet curculio, Cleonus punctiventris, with application of the fungal spores. In 1911 the German scientist Berliner observed a bacterial...

General Functions Of Biogenic Amines

The physiological role of OA at different levels of the organism is well documented. As a stress hormone in the periphery and in the central nervous system OA prepares the animal for energy-demanding behaviors. This monoamine stimulates glycogenolysis, modifies muscle contraction, supports long-term flight, and regulates arousal in the central nervous system. OA and OA agonists can enhance behavioral responses, like escape or aggressive behavior in crickets and sucrose responsiveness in honey bees. Injection of OA can elicit flight motor behavior in locusts, even in isolated thoracic ganglia. It is assumed that in insects OA has functions similar to those of the adrenergic system in vertebrates.

Production Secretion And Use Of Beeswax By A Mellifera

Beeswax is secreted by four pairs of wax glands situated on the anterior part of the worker's last four normal sternal plates (i.e., the ventral portion) the secreted wax hardens into thin scales. In A. mellifera workers, the glands increase in secretory activity during the first 9 days or so after the adult bee has emerged from her cell. They usually start to regress at 17 days of age, but may be regenerated later if the colony needs new comb. Honey bees construct their combs of beeswax and also use this substance with propolis to seal small cracks in their nest structure or hive. The requirements of the colony largely determine the amount of wax secreted by its bees. Calculations have shown that an A. mellifera worker is likely to have the potential to secrete about half her body weight in wax during her lifetime.

Biotechnology and Insects

Biotechnology can be broadly defined to include all practical uses of living organisms. As such, biotechnology has been practiced since the beginning of recorded history through endeavors such as fermentation of microorganisms for production of beer, selective breeding of crops, beekeeping

Conservation Of Speciesrich Grasslands

Insect diversity in grassland ecosystems can be best predicted by floral diversity or related characteristics of vegetation structure, especially biomass and structural heterogeneity of the plant community. Species richness of butterflies, wild bees, phytophagous beetles, true bugs, etc., was found to be positively related to the species richness of plants. However, age of the habitat as well as fragment size is known to disproportionally enhance the number of species in higher trophic levels. The fraction of specialized predators and parasitoids increases greatly with area and age of grasslands, although the plant species richness may respond little.

Mating and How Reproductive Isolation Is Achieved

Honey bees mate in flight the process has been studied in detail in A. mellifera, and involves three stages. A queen flies out when only a few days old, and drones that are flying in the area, attracted by the pheromones she produces, follow her. If a drone succeeds in clasping the queen with his legs, FIGURE 1 Worker honey bees (Apis mellifera) on honeycomb. (Photograph courtesy of P. Kirk Visscher.) FIGURE 1 Worker honey bees (Apis mellifera) on honeycomb. (Photograph courtesy of P. Kirk Visscher.)

Communication Of Distance And Direction In The Dance

The waggle dance of honey bees can be thought of as a miniaturized reenactment of the flight from the hive to the food source (Fig. 1). As the flight distance to the food becomes longer, the duration of the waggle portion of the dance also becomes longer. The angle that a bee flies during the flight to the food, relative to the sun azimuth (the horizontal component of the direction toward the sun), is mirrored in the angle on the comb at which the waggle portion of the dance is performed. If the food is to be found directly toward the sun, a bee will dance straight upward. If the food is directly away from the sun, the bee will dance straight downward. If food is at 35 to the right of the sun, then the dance is performed with the waggle run at 35 to the right of vertical, and so forth. Bees make a transition from round dances for food sources near the nest to waggle dances at greater distance, with the transitional distance varying somewhat between different subspecies of A. mellifera.

Germ Anlage Formation

The size of the germ anlage varies relative to the length of the egg. In nearly all species, the nuclei arrive at the periphery to form a blastoderm that encompasses the whole surface of the egg. In metamorphic species, such as fruit flies and honey bees, the germ anlage forms from nearly the entire blastoderm surface. However, in direct developing species (such as the grasshopper and cricket), after the formation of a uniform synctyial blastoderm, nuclei migrate and aggregate near the posterior pole, where the germ anlage forms. The germ anlage thus forms from a relatively small proportion of the blastoderm. In the former case, called long-germ-type embryos, the complete body pattern (head, gnathal, thoracic, and abdominal segments) is patterned at the blastoderm stage and all segments appear nearly simultaneously in development. In contrast, in short-germ-type embryos, the head lobes, the most anterior trunk segments, and the posterior terminus are patterned first. Additional...

Brain and Optic Lobes

The first definition of the brain includes neuropils of the subesophageal ganglion, which is composed of the fused ganglia from three postoral segmental neuromeres. These are located ventrally with respect to the digestive tract, as are ganglia of the thorax and abdomen. In most hemimetabolous insects, and in many paleopterans, the subesophageal ganglion is connected by paired circumesophageal commissures to the supraesophageal ganglion. In many crown taxa (those representing more recent evolved lineages) the subesophageal and supraesophageal ganglia are fused, as is the case in honey bees or the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, which is the taxon here used to summarize the major divisions of the brain (Figs. 1-6). A consequence of fusion is that tracts of axons that would otherwise form the circumesophageal commissures are embedded within a contiguous neuropil.

Harvesting And Processing

When a beekeeper harvests combs of honey from the hives, the honey is first extracted from the combs. Then the wax is melted and the liquid wax separated from any contaminants. On a small scale, clean wax from hives may be melted and strained through cloth, or a solar wax extractor may be used, in which the wax pieces are spread out on a sloping metal base in a shallow container with a double glass top, to be melted by radiation from the sun. The liquid wax flows into a container any contaminants settle at the bottom, and clear wax flows out through an outlet near the top.

World Production And Trade

Beekeeping with modern movable-frame hives aims to maximize honey production, and wax production is suppressed by providing the bees with sheets of ready-built wax comb foundation in frames. In experiments in Egypt, wax production in modern hives was only 0.4 to 0.6 of honey production, whereas in traditional hives it was 9 to 11 .

Learning Characterized Characteristics

In classical conditioning, an unconditioned stimulus (US) that elicits an unconditioned response is paired in time and space with a novel stimulus, the conditioned stimulus (CS). As a consequence of the pairing, the CS subsequently elicits a conditioned response. Both appetitive and aversive forms of classical conditioning have been documented in insects. Most of what we know about classical conditioning in insects has involved classical conditioning of the proboscis extension reflex (PER), principally in honey bees. Spatial learning is an important component of insect navigation. Commonly traversed routes are learned during homing by ants, bees, and wasps, and traplining is learned by bees and butterflies. Honey bees may additionally possess a topographically organized landscape memory that allows them to navigate along a novel route. Spatial learning is useful in contexts other than movement of the whole organism for instance, bees learn to discriminate textures with their antennae...

Classes of Carbohydrates

Natural foods with high carbohydrate levels can be carriers of naturally occurring toxicants. For example, honey can contain materials toxic to humans because of the varieties of plants the honey bees may visit. Honey producers take extreme care to see that their bees avoid potentially problematic plants and do not become contaminated with toxicants.

Subspecies and Their Distribution

During the Ice Ages, geographical features in Europe such as mountains confined A. mellifera to several separate areas, where they diversified into a number of subspecies or races. The most important in world beekeeping, and their native areas, are A. mellifera ligustica (Italian) in northwestern Italy south of the Alps, A. mellifera carnica (Carnolian) in the eastern Alps and parts of the Balkans, A. mellifera caucasica (Caucasian) in Georgia and the Caucasus mountains between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, and also A. mellifera mellifera north of the Alps. The first introductions of A. mellifera from Europe to new continents, after 1600, enabled future beekeeping industries to build up and flourish in many countries. Some of the subsequent introductions of A. mellifera carried diseases or parasites not previously present, and these caused much damage. From the late 1800s, after the movable-frame hive was devised, there was great interest in breeding more productive honey bees,...

Apis Mellifera Colony Life

Many aspects of the beekeeping cycle and social behavior of honey bee colonies have been studied in detail (see Further Reading). In the tropics, temperatures are never too low for plants to flower or for bees to fly, and colony activity is governed by rainfall rather than temperature. There are two seasonal cycles in the year, so colonies do not grow as large, or store as much honey, as they do in temperate zones. If the stores of a colony of A. mellifera become low in a dearth period, the colony may leave its hive and fly to a nearby area where plants are starting to bloom, rebuilding its combs in a nest site there. Such movements are referred to as absconding or migration, and preventing them is an important part of beekeeping in tropical Africa.

Functions In Learning And Memory

Biogenic amines are involved in different forms of learning and memory formation in Drosophila and honey bees. However, it has not been unequivocally proven that the same biogenic amines serve identical functions in both species. Research on the neuronal and molecular bases of learning and memory over the past two decades in insects has focused on the mushroom bodies and antennal lobes of the brain. These two structures are involved primarily in processing of olfactory stimuli. Experimental evidence suggests that DA signals the presence of reinforcers and modulates intrinsic mushroom body neurons during conditioning in Drosophila. Thus DA could trigger signaling cascades that affect the storage of information about the conditioned stimulus.

Use Of The Dance Language

Honey bees are known to use the dance language to recruit nestmates in several contexts. In the context of foraging, bees dance to indicate the location of sources of nectar, pollen, water, and propolis (a resinous material collected from plants and used to seal cracks and waterproof the nest cavity). As far as is known, the dances for these different materials are the same, but this area has not been systematically investigated. The sharing of information about food sources makes it possible for a honey bee colony to serve as an information center, pooling the reconnaissance of its many foragers, surveying a vast area around the nest, and focusing the bulk of its foraging force on the best sources discovered. In the 1980s a study by Kirk Visscher and Tom Seeley decoded the dances of a colony living in a deciduous forest in New York State to show the dynamics of colony food patch use that result from these interactions. Research by Seeley has shown that integration of foraging...

The Postoral Brain Subesophageal Ganglion

Various functions have been ascribed to the subesophageal ganglion, including arousal prior to motor actions and sensory convergence from the brain. Generally, the three neuromeres of the subesophageal ganglion relate to the metameric identity of the mouthparts. Edgecomb and Murdock describe from flies that the labial neuromere of the subesophageal ganglion receives sensory axons from the dorsal cibarial organ, labellar sensilla, and labral sense organs and possibly some intersegmental inputs arrive from the tarsi. Stocker and Schorderet have supplied evidence from Drosophila that mechanosensory and gustatory chemo- (taste) receptors segregate out in the labral neuromere into discrete modality-specific zones. In honey bees, inputs from the mandibles invade the mandibular neuromere, which has been suggested to be absent in flies. However, it is unlikely that an entire neuromere has been eliminated and anatomical evidence for it is indeed present. In 1992 Shanbhag and Singh made the...

Castes In The Worker Force Morphological Castes

Workers can be assigned to behavioral castes when they specialize on a subset of the tasks that the colony needs. In some eusocial insect species such as Bombus and Polistes, workers exhibit a great deal of flexibility, switching among tasks often, and behavioral castes are weakly defined. In honey bees (Apis mellifera) and swarm-founding paper wasps (Polybia spp.), on the other hand, workers specialize more consistently.

Honey Processing

In a beekeeper's hives the bees store honey in the combs of an upper honey box that is removed when it is full. Bees may be cleared from combs in the honey box by various methods brushing and shaking bees off combs, using a bee-escape board through which bees can leave the honey box but not return, using a bee repellent, or blowing the bees out of the boxes with a stream of air. The processing of honey for sale either liquid or granulated is obviated if honey combs themselves are sold. Traditionally, sections were miniature wooden frames fitted with a very thin wax comb foundation on which the bees built cells, filled them with honey and the beekeeper hoped completely sealed them the weight of honey in each section sold was usually 0.5 kg or 1 lb. However, perfectly sealed sections are difficult to produce, and in the 1900s several easier ways were devised to prepare honey in the comb for sale. One alternative is cut-comb honey. To produce it the beekeeper inserts large frames fitted...

Wax From Other Bees

Because the waxes of different species of social bees differ slightly, if A. mellifera wax is mixed with that of other bees, its characteristics are altered. Melting points have been reported as follows for wax from other species of honey bees A. dorsata, 60 C A. florea, 63 C A. cerana, 65 C stingless bees, Meliponinae Trigona spp. (India), 66.5 C T. beccarii (Africa), 64.6 C T. denoiti (Africa), 64.4 C and bumble

Honeydew As Food

Honeydew has been used as a source of food by people. Encrustations of honeydew produced by scale insects have been eaten since biblical times in the Middle East. Certain groups of Australian Aborigines and American Indians also used lerp from psyllids and honeydew from scale insects as a source of sugar. In Central Europe, large amounts of honeydew are consumed indirectly, because the honeydew of aphids on conifers is the principal, and sometimes sole, source of food for some honey bees. The honey produced from this source, often referred to as Wald Honig (forest honey), is considered of inferior in quality to floral honey but is, nevertheless, consumed extensively.


Protein is required by young adult honey bees, and it is an important component of the food they give to larvae. It is obtained from pollen (microspores of seed plants) that older bees collect from flowers and store in the nest. In one study on A. mellifera in the United States, bee-collected (air-dried) pollens contained 7 to 30 crude protein and 19 to 41 carbohydrates (mostly sugars from honey that bees mixed with the pollen). Pollen also contains minerals (it has an ash content of 1 6 ), vitamins, enzymes, free amino acids, organic acids, flavonoids, and growth regulators. It is relatively easy for a beekeeper to collect the pollen being brought into hives by bees a pollen trap, fixed over the hive entrance, incorporates a grid (or two grids) through which incoming bees must push, and while they do this most pollen loads are knocked from their hind legs and drop into a tray below, although some bees get through the trap with their pollen loads. The beekeeper needs to ensure that...


Beeswax is secreted by workers of most Apidae, which use it to build combs of cells in their nests, for rearing brood, and for storing food. Workers are female members of a colony of bees, active in foraging or nesting, but laying no eggs or only a few compared with a queen. The term beeswax is commonly used for the wax from honey bees (Apis),

Apis Species

(Honey Bees) Honey bees (genus Apis) are social insects in the family Apidae, order Hymenoptera they are among the Aculeata (i.e., those having stingers). They evolved after the separation of the Americas and Australia from Eurasia Africa and are native only in the Old World. The genus Apis probably first appeared in the Eocene, about 55 mya. Tropical species A. dorsata and A. florea existed by the end of the Oligocene 25 mya, and cavity-nesting A. mellifera and A. cerana, which can also live outside the tropics, were separate species by the end of the Pliocene about 2 mya. Therefore, the highly advanced cavity-nesting species have existed only perhaps a tenth as long as the open-nesting species, which were confined to the warmer tropics. The most important species to humans is A. mellifera, which has been introduced all over the world for use in beekeeping.


If a saucer of honey is placed outdoors, many hours or days may go by before a bee finds it and feeds on it. Soon after this first visit, however, large numbers of bees will arrive. Interest in honey bees goes back to prehistory, because their colonies provided human ancestors' most concentrated source of sugar. At least as far back as Aristotle, people have inferred that the bees that first discover a food source must recruit their nestmates to share in the collection of the food, thus accounting for the rapid buildup once a discovery has been made. The same kind of buildup occurs at flowers, bees' natural source of their sugary food.

Reproductive Castes

In contrast, consistent reproductive caste differences in body size and shape have evolved in several lineages of social insects. Most eusocial insects with wingless workers, such as ants and termites, retain a morphologically distinct reproductive caste with wings. In species with flying workers, developmental allometry can still result in the production of distinct, nonoverlapping body forms for reproductives and workers. Morphologically discrete reproductive castes are found among honey bees, stingless bees, and some paper wasps. Reproductives are often larger than workers, but also differ in body proportions (hence shape) in ways that suggest specialization in egg laying, such as relatively enlarged abdomens. The degree of morphological differentiation between reproductive castes probably evolves in response to a complex array of natural selection pressures. For example, the degree to which the colony occupies a defensible, long-lasting nest site may in part determine the whether...

Societal Growth

In 1956, Curtis Sabrosky published a near-exhaustive list of entomological societies that had existed and or were still in existence. By 1956, at least 70 entomological societies had begun, blossomed (or not), and then faded away. That year, there were 96 active regional or national entomological societies (not counting those devoted to applied aspects such as apiculture or pest control). Only 10 specialty societies, devoted to a taxonomic group or some other special, non-applied aspect, were listed 3 devoted to Coleoptera (in Austria, the United States, and Japan), 4 for Lepidoptera (3 in Japan and 1 in the United States), and 1 international society for the study of social insects. The post-1956 period has seen a huge development of specialty societies. Today, there are at least 92 specialty societies (including 1 for conservation of invertebrates in general and 1 devoted to young entomologists). There has been increased worldwide interest in Lepidoptera at least 22 new societies...

Insect Zoos Defined

Most facilities contain a series of terrariums, where species are displayed in naturalistic mini-environments. A major insectarium is a comprehensive coverage of the class Insecta, representing many different orders such as Coleoptera, Hymenoptera, Orthoptera, and Mantodea. Observation honey bee hives, ant and termite colonies, walkingsticks, katydids, lubber grasshoppers, and assassin bugs are a few examples of typical displays. These facilities can be distinguished from collections of a few species of arthropod housed in a reptile house or aquarium or included in an exhibit that focuses on the interpretation of a particular ecosystem. Many tropical rain forest exhibits today include a few displays of insects, often a leafcutter ant exhibit and a few other invertebrates as nominal representatives of the vast diversity of invertebrates. However, overall these exhibits emphasize the vertebrate fauna of rain forests and present a relatively minor treatment of the subject of...

The Origin Of Honey

Certain social insects produce and store honey as a non-perishable food for use in dearth periods. The insects include all honey bees (Apis spp.) and stingless bees (Melipona and Trigona spp.) and also certain species of social wasps in South America (Nectarina) and honey ants, e.g., Melophorus inflatus in Australia. Honey-producing species whose colonies die out at the end of the active season, which are most social wasps and bumble bees (Bombus spp.), store comparatively little honey, and it is not economically important.

Colony Growth

In seasonal habitats, the proper conditions for nest foundation can be constrained to a narrow window of time. This can select for a high degree of synchrony among colonies in a population in the timing of release of reproductives. In some species, reproductive offspring that depart from their natal nest must mate and either overwinter or initiate a new nest or perish. This pattern is apparently common to many ants and termites. In other species, reproductive females (honey bees, some bumble bees) and males (other bumble bees, some tropical Mischocyttarus wasps) can leave to find mates, but then return to the natal nest.


The European sevenspotted lady beetle (Coccinella septempunctata), introduced to the United States for control of the Russian wheat aphid (Diuraphis noxia), has locally outcompeted several native lady beetles. European honey bees outcompete the native bee Osmia pumila for pollen in New York State. Introduced insects can even outcompete vertebrates. The introduced wasps Vespula germanica and V. vulgaris in New Zealand outcompete an endemic parrot for honeydew produced by a scale insect (Ultracoelostoma assimile) and have locally lowered parrot populations.

Instructional Tales

In addition to being entertaining, some folk tales serve as a useful means of instruction. Many tales are told to convey a moral message or pass on useful information in an interesting, amusing, and hence more easily remembered format. An example is that of Aesop's fable of the ant and the grasshopper. While the ant concerned himself all summer with gathering provisions for the upcoming winter, the grasshopper spent his time in leisure and song. The grasshopper even derided the ant for spending so much of his time at work instead of play. When winter came, the grasshopper was not prepared and suffered the consequences of his folly. The ant on the other hand, lived comfortably through the winter on the stores he gathered all summer. The activities of these insects in this story are used to show the importance of preparation for future times of necessity. In addition to ants, the behavior of other social insects such as termites, honey bees, and wasps is commonly used to exemplify the...


Propolis is the material that honey bees and some other bees can collect from living plants, which they use alone or with beeswax in the construction and adaptation of their nests. Most of the plant sources are trees and bushes. The material collected may be a wound exudate (resin and latex) or a secretion (lipophilic substances, mucilage, and gum). Propolis thus has a much more varied origin than any other material collected by honey bees. Analyses of various samples (mostly of unknown plant origin) have shown the presence of over 100 compounds, including especially flavonoids. To collect propolis from a hive, the beekeeper inserts a contrivance, such as a flat horizontal grid having slits 2 3 mm wide that will stimulate the bees to close up the gaps with propolis. On removal from the hive, the contrivance is cooled in a freezer. The propolis then becomes brittle, and a sharp blow fractures it off in pieces, which can be stored for up to a year in a plastic bag. Propolis has various...

Honey Production

Beekeeping is the establishment and tending of colonies of social bees of any species, an activity from which the beekeeper obtains a harvest or reward. This reward is usually honey, but it may be some other bee product, or bees themselves (e.g., queens, or colonies for pollination). In beekeeping, each colony is usually in a hive, but some beekeeping is done with honey bees that build their nests in the open. Beekeeping is also done with certain nonsocial bees that are reared for pollinating crops.

Function Of Learning

In a sense, the function of associative learning is obvious. Animals learn by association to orient toward stimuli predicting positively rewarding resources (such as sugar, pollen, food plant, hosts) and away from stimuli predicting negatively rewarding events (shock, heat, toxins, predators). Likewise, habituation is a means for reducing energy-wasteful, time-consuming responses to meaningless stimuli. In either case, however, learning is needed only if the appropriate responses cannot be predicted without benefit of experience, else an insect could respond (or not respond) innately. Even in an unpredictable environment, whether learning yields higher fitness than innate behavior depends on the relative costs of learning. A robust assessment of costs and benefits of learning has proved elusive, perhaps in part because individual fitness in nature is especially difficult to measure in Drosophila and honey bees, the systems in which learning processes and mechanisms have been best...

Defensive Ploys

Stereotyped warnings are used to threaten and intimidate predators. Paper wasps (Polistes spp.) on their nest face large adversaries with raised wings, waving front legs, abdomens curved toward the predator, and wings flipped, fluttered, or buzzed. These threats inform the predator that it is spotted and an attack will ensue if the advance continues. Hissing cockroaches (Grophadorhina portentosa) threaten by hissing, which resembles the defensive hiss of a snake. Many flies and harmless bees and wasps buzz loudly when grabbed. These aposematic buzzes sound similar to those of painfully stinging honey bees and wasps and often serve as effective warnings. Protection can be achieved by living near or associating with a defended or noxious species. The tropical paper wasp, Mischocyttarus immarginatus, prefers to make its small nest with few individuals near the much larger nest of stinging Polybia occidentals, a common social wasp. The arrangement seems to provide protection for the...

Crop Pollination

Colonies taken to pollinate crops should be strong, with many foraging bees, and also much unsealed brood (to stimulate the bees to forage for pollen), and space for the queen to lay more eggs. Hives should not be taken to the crop before it comes into bloom, or the bees may start foraging on other plants and continue to do so when the crop flowers. If the hives are in a greenhouse, four to eight frames of bees in each may be sufficient, but the beekeeper must check regularly that the bees have enough food alternatively, each hive may be provided with two flight entrances, one into the greenhouse and one outside. Beekeepers who hire out hives of bees for crop pollination need to have a sound legal contract with the crop grower they should also be aware of the risks of their bees being poisoned by insecticides. In addition to honey bees, certain native bees are especially efficient in pollinating one or more crop species, and several


Associative memory in insects, as in vertebrates and other animals, is time-dependent and phasic. Recent work on fruit flies and honey bees suggests as many as five memory phases (1) an early and (2) a late form of short-term memory eSTM and lSTM , (3) a midterm memory MTM , and two forms of long-term memory (in honey bees, characterized as (4) an early form eLTM and (5) a late form lLTM in Drosophila, characterized as (4) an anesthetic-resistant form and (5) a parallel, susceptible form). STM forms immediately upon association, is short-lived (seconds to minutes), and is relatively easily erased by conflicting information or treatment by cooling or shock. eSTM is characterized by a relatively nonspecific appetitive arousal and is highly suseptible to interference by new, conflicting information or by cooling. lSTM is more stable, is more specific, and takes longer to form than eSTM. The transition from STM to MTM after a single learning trial requires several minutes. MTM is more...

Slow Paralysis Virus

Until recently, SPV had never been associated with disease in nature. The virus has now been identified as a cause of the death of both adult bees and pupae in honey bee colonies in Britain infested with the parasitic mite V. jacobsoni. SPV may be induced to multiply to lethal levels and be transmitted in a manner similar to that of APV in mite-infested colonies. Adult bees injected with SPV die after about 12 days, typically suffering paralysis of the first pair of legs shortly before death.

Bee Venom

Bee venom is by far the most pharmacologically active product from honey bees. The general mechanism of its action on humans who are not hypersensitive is as follows. Hyaluronidase breaks down hyaluronic acid polymers that serve as intercellular cement, and the venom spreads through the tissue. (Protective antibodies that develop in the serum of most beekeepers can effectively neutralize hyaluronidase, preventing the spread of the venom.) A protease inhibitor prevents enzymatic destruction of the hyaluronidase. Simultaneously, the mast cell degranulating peptide penetrates the membrane of the mast cells, creating pores. This releases histamine, which (in combination with some small molecules of the venom) contributes to the swelling and flare, and the local itching and burning sensation. As venom penetrates blood vessels and enters the circulatory system, phospholipase A and mellitin (as a micelle, a colloidal-sized aggregate of molecules) act synergistically to rupture blood cells....

Optic Lobes

The optic lobes of palaeopteran and neopteran insects consist of three retinotopic neuropils. These are the lamina, medulla, and lobula complex. In certain orders of insects (e.g., Diptera Lepidoptera, Coleoptera) the lobula complex is divided into two separate neuropils a lenticular lobula that is mainly composed of columnar neurons and a tectum-like lobula plate that is hallmarked by wide-field tangential neurons. However, in insects with an undivided lobula, deeper layers comprise tangential neurons that probably have the same functions as tangential neurons in the lobula plate. Connections between the medulla and the lobula plate in Diptera are homologous to connections between the medulla and the deep lobula layers in honey bees. The lobula plate or its equivalent supports achromatic motion vision, whereas the lobula is thought to support object and color vision. The lobula plate sends axons to dorsal neuropil of the lateral and medial protocerebrum from which descending neurons...

Learning Processes

Many associative learning processes that have been described for vertebrates have also been shown in insects. The following list of selected processes is derived mainly from work on honey bees, unless otherwise noted. Generalization refers to an animal's tendency to respond to stimuli that were not reinforced but that are related to a reinforced stimulus (A+) along some perceptual dimension. Moths and honey bees have been shown to generalize odors according to similarities in functional groups and carbon-chain length. Blocking occurs when an animal that first learns to respond to a stimulus (A+), and is then reinforced on A and a novel stimulus, B, presented together ( AB +), subsequently fails to show a heightened response to B alone, relative to controls. Learning of stimulus B has been blocked by coupling with the previously learned stimulus A. Blocking illustrates that temporal pairing between a CS and a US is not sufficient for associative learning to take place rather, a new CS...

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Beekeeping for Beginners

The information in this book is useful to anyone wanting to start beekeeping as a hobby or a business. It was written for beginners. Those who have never looked into beekeeping, may not understand the meaning of the terminology used by people in the industry. We have tried to overcome the problem by giving explanations. We want you to be able to use this book as a guide in to beekeeping.

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