Document Type : Primary Research paper
Department of Zoology, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam University, Indore, M.P., India
A. cerana versus A. mellifera A. cerana, termed the ‘Asian honey bee’ in Australia, is one of nine currently recognised honey bee species of the genus Apis. Eight of these, including A. cerana, are endemic to Asia. The only Apis species naturally occurring outside Asia is A. mellifera, the ‘European honey bee’. A. cerana has been termed the Asian equivalent of A. mellifera, as both are cavity nesting bees that build a series of parallel combs with identical life cycles. Both can be domesticated and cover huge geographical areas with a large range of ecological and climatic conditions. Furthermore, both species can be morphologically and genetically subdivided into several strains, with tropical strains being smaller than, and different in behaviour to, temperate strains. Tropical strains of both species have very similar behaviours, in that they collect less honey and are more prone to swarming and absconding. A. cerana differs from A. mellifera in that A. cerana is generally slightly smaller, lives in smaller colonies and nests in smaller cavities. A. cerana is often found nesting in human-made structures where available (possibly due to their smaller colony size and cavity requirements), whereas wild A. mellifera tend to nest in tree cavities. A. cerana also has a smaller foraging range, possibly due to its smaller size. A. cerana is more prone to swarming and absconding when disturbed, whereas managed European A. mellifera tends to hoard large amounts of honey and is less prone to absconding. A. cerana shows greater hygienic behaviour, making it more disease resistant and enabling it to coexist with Varroa mites. Diseases and parasites have been exchanged in both directions between A. mellifera and A. cerana where they have come into contact.