Dwarf Honey Bee: 1. Colony

posted in: Bees and wasps, Videography | 1

In late September 2008, my helper Estela Acierto pointed out a colony of bees gathering around a branch of the Golden Penda tree (Xanthostemon chrysanthus) fronting my house. The colony of bees was so well camouflaged that it took me some time before I actually saw where it was (above and video below).

Checking my copy of Koeniger et al. (2010), I identified the colony as that of the Dwarf Honey Bee (Apis andreniformis). These are non-forest bees that establish their single tapering comb around a slender branch of a dense shrub or tree – see HERE. The comb was permanently covered by a protective curtain of many layers of worker bees come rain or shine.

There was plenty of food for the bees considering that the Golden Penda trees along the road had been flowering for a few months now (video below).

In addition, my Bush Grape (Cayratia mollissima) plants covering my fencing had been flowering continuously for more than two years now – see HERE and HERE.

Earlier this year, a similar tree down the road had the honeycomb of another colony of these bees robbed by an Oriental Honey-buzzard (Pernis ptilorhyncus) LINK.

I am expecting this colony will be raided by another honey-buzzard soon. Although the honey-buzzard is a winter visitor and passage migrant, it can be seen throughout the year. Furthermore, its population increases significantly during November and December. So, if the attack does not come this month, it may come during the coming two months.

YC Wee
5th October 2018

Koeniger, N., G. Koeniger & S. Tingek (2010). Honey bees of Borneo: Exploring the centre of Apis diversity. National History Publications (Borneo), Kota Kinabalu. 262 pp.

  1. hamesha

    I am sad that in Delhi and around, even though farm land isnt too far off and parks and flowers abound, people do not seem to appreciate the role of honeybees. as soon as there is a honeycomb in the neighbourhood, cries go up to get it removed.

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