Dwarf Honey Bee: 7. A close look at the bees

posted in: Bees and wasps | 0

Dwarf Honey Bee: 1. Colony; 2. What happens when it rains?; 3. Bees have absconded; 4. A piece of damaged comb; 5. Invasion of Wax Moth.; 6. A new colony develops.

A foraging Dwarf Honey Bee.

The daily presence of Dwarf Honey Bees (Apis andreniformi) harvesting nectar from Bush Grape (Cayratia mollissima) flowers provided an opportunity to take a closer look at these bees.

A Dwarf Honey Bee collecting nectar from a Bush Grape flower.

According to this LINK, this bee is known as the Black Dwarf Honey Bee as it is black with yellow bands on the abdomen. There is also a Red Dwarf Honey Bee (Apis florea) which is similar to the black except that its colour is “red-brown and has quite distinct red/brown and white and black bands on the abdomen.” The foraging worker bees of both the Black and the Red Dwarf Honey Bees have a body length of 7-10 mm and the forewing is 6.0-6.9 mm.

Dwarf Honey Bee showing pollen basket packed with pollen (arrow).

Dr Leong Tzi Ming believes that the black Dwarf Honey Bees nest in areas where there is a convenient nearby water supply in the form of a running stream, pond or even a swimming pool, possibly for the bees to collect water to cool the nest.

A foraging Dwarf Honey Bee collecting water from drops on a leaf.

Nesting of these bees are external and they have a single comb built around a slender branch. The crown of the comb is above the branch, used to store honey. The suspending comb is used to rear the brood. The colony is made up of a few thousand bees.

Colony of Dwarf Honey Bee,

YC Wee & Leong Tzi Ming
3rd February 2019

Follow YC Wee:

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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