Habit, Habitat,Description, Biology and Distribution of Hymenoptera Insects By Dinesh Dalvaniya

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Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)

Habit, Habitat, Description, Biology and Distribution of Hymenoptera InsectsDinesh DalvaniyaDept: Agricultural EntomologyMob No:09574031169Email Id: dineshdalvaniya@ymail.com

Habit & Habitat:

colony, most of the 60,000 bees are female led by a single queen. Physically larger than the other bees, the queen lays up to 1,500 eggs in one day and as many as one million eggs in her relatively short life span of one to five years. She can defend herself, but otherwise is reliant on the colony to house, feed, and clean her and her brood . Worker bees make up the largest population in the colony, and their moniker is well-earned. All females, these busy bees build and maintain the nest, construct the hexagonal cells of the comb by secreting wax from glands in their abdomens, care for the brood laid by the queen, defend the colony, and are responsible for venturing from the nest to gather pollen, nectar, and water. Drones, the only male honey bees, are unable to defend or feed themselves and exist only to mate with the queen and die.

Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)

The honey bee,Apis mellifera, is one of several species of bees that produce honey. Honey bees live in colonies, or hives, of 50,000 bees on average. A honey bee colony consists of aqueen, drones, and workers. All play roles in the survival of the community.Classification:Kingdom Animal Phylum Arthropoda Class -Insecta Order Hymenoptera Family Apidae Genus Apis Species mellifera

Habitat:Honey bees require an ample supply of flowers in their habitat, since this is their food source. They also need suitable places to build hives. In cooler temperate climates, the hive site must be large enough for the bees and for storage of honey to feed on during the winter Researchers believe that the original habitats of the honey bee are tropical climates and heavily forested areas. Honey bees can thrive in natural or domesticated environments, though they prefer to live in gardens, woodlands, orchards, meadows and other areas where flowering plants are abundant. Within their natural habitat, honey bees build nests inside tree cavities and under edges if objects to hide themselves from predators.

Many people believe that honey bees originated in Africa and spread to Northern Europe, Eastern India, China and the Americas. However, because honey bees have been domesticated to produce honey for human consumption, they are now found all over the world in different habitats.Honey bees in temperate climates, such as European honey bees, store larger amounts of honey than other subspecies, as they need to maintain a certain temperature inside the nest to survive during winter. Bees living in these climates adapt well to their environment only when workers have created a large nest with well-insulated interiors. To collect enough honey for the next winter, foragers swarm early in the spring.

Because honey bees in tropical habitats, such as African honey bees, do not experience long weeks of cold weather, they do not need to build large and well-insulated nests, produce thousands of workers or store large amounts of honey. For a honey bee in a tropical habitat, swarming depends largely on the abundance of food sources, rather than seasonal factors. However, regardless of living in tropical or temperate climates, honey bees maintain their hives with a constant temperature of 90 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.During winter, honey bees consume honey and use their metabolic heat to provide warmth to all individuals of a colony. On the contrary, honey bees use the liquid from stored nectar as an evaporative coolant during warmer seasons. These methods ensure that seasonal changes do not affect their interior habitats.


As many as 29 subspecies ofApis melliferaexist. The Italian honey bee,Apis mellifera ligustica, is most often kept by beekeepers in the western hemisphere. Italian honey bees are described as light or golden in color. Their abdomens are striped yellow and brown. Hairy heads make their large compound eyes appear ringed with hair. The honey bee is about 12 mm (1/2 inch) long and usually yellow, with 3 or 5 dark brown abdominal bands. They carry two pairs of wings and lack the constricted abdomen (wasp waist) of the wasp and hornet. Honey bees can sting, but are much less aggressive than wasps and hornets. Honey bees are somewhat variable in color but are some shade of black, brown or brown intermixed with yellow.

They have dense hairs on the pronotum and sparser hair on the abdomen. Microscopically, at least some of the body hairs of bees (Apoidea) are branched (pumose). The abdomen often appears banded. Larvae are legless grubs, white in color.Honey bees are the only bee in the genusApisin Texas. Honey bees have several varieties or races and have been bred for honey production, temperament and resistance to disease. These varieties may be recognized to some extent by color and size. However, cross breeding may take place in the wild, so queens from commercial breeders should always be purchased to re-queen colonies. Africanized honey bees or "killer bees" can not easily be differentiated from commercial varieties and require measuring several bees from a colony and comparing measurements. There are several other bees including bumblebees and leaf cutting bees that also collect pollen and nectar. There is a species of stingless wasp that occurs in South Texas that produces honey much like bees.


Honey bees undergo complete metamorphosis:Egg The queen bee lays the eggs. She is mother to all or nearly all members of the colony. Larva The worker bees care for the larvae, feeding and cleaning them. Pupa After molting several times, the larvae will cocoon inside the cells of the hive. Adult Male adults are always drones; females may be workers or queens. For the first 3 to 10 days of their adult lives, all females are nurses that care for the young.Stages of development of thedronepupae.

Each egg is laid in one of the hexagonal wax cells and hatches into a tiny, white, legless larva. The larva feeds on substances deposited in the cell by the workers; it grows, pupates in the cell, hatches as an adult bee and finally emerges from the cell into the hive. The eggs hatch after three to four days and by nine days are fully grown and ready to pupate. The workers put a capping over the cells at this time. Ten or eleven days later the capping is bitten away and the adult emerges. The times given above vary with changes of temperature and according to whether the bee is becoming a drone, worker or queen.Drones.The drones, who live for about four to five weeks and do not work inside the hive, are fed by the workers or help themselves from the store of pollen and nectar in the combs. Their function is to fertilize a new queen. In the autumn, or when conditions are poor, they are turned out of the hive where, unable to find food for themselves, they soon die.

Workers.The workers are female bees whose reproductive organs do not function. Among many other tasks they collect food from outside the hive and store it, make the wax cells andfeed the developing larvae.Colony lifeUnlike abumble beecolony or apaper waspcolony, the life of ahoney beecolony isperennial. There are three castes of honey bees:queens, which produce eggs;dronesor males, which mate with new queens and have no stinger; andworkers, which are all non-reproducing females. The queen lays eggs singly in cells of thecomb.Larvaehatch from eggs in three to four days. They are then fed by worker bees and develop through several stages in the cells. Cells are capped by worker bees when the larvapupates. Queens and drones are larger than workers and so require larger cells to develop. A colony may typically consist of tens of thousands of individuals.

While some colonies live in hives provided by humans, so-called "wild" colonies (although all honey bees remain wild, even when cultivated and managed by humans) typically prefer a nest site that is clean, dry, protected from the weather, about 20 liters in volume with a 4 to 6 cm entrance about 3 m above the ground, and preferably facing south or south-east (in the northern hemisphere) or north or north-east (in the southern hemisphere).Honey bee swarm pitched on a high limb

A typical small hive contains perhaps 20,000 bees and these are divided into three types: Queen, Drone, and Worker. The chart below compares these types:

Distribution of honey bees Bees and flowering plants have evolved during a period of 130 million years to become increasingly dependent upon one another. Today there are 20,000-30,000 species of bees of which around 16,000 have been scientifically described. Ancestors of honey bees emerged 40 million years ago, with a modern type of open nesting species appearing in south east Asia around 10 million years ago. Subsequently species that nested inside cavities appeared, eventually spreading throughout tropical and temperate Asia and into Europe. These European bees became isolated from the Asian species as desert developed in the Middle East, and evolved into the species that we know today asApis mellifera, with an indigenous distribution stretching from the Arctic Circle to South Africa, and with eastern limits of the Ural Mountains in the north and the central deserts of Afghanistan in the south. The cavity-nesting bees in Asia evolved intoApis ceranaand the several other cavity nesting species ofApisknown today. The open nesting species gave rise to the several types of open nesting species existing today. Thus, Asia has a diversity ofApisspecies, while Europe and Africa have just one species.

Ants:HabitsAnts typically make their nests in or on the ground. The soil excavated to make the nest may be piled up around the opening to the nest, forming a mound or cra