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Apis florea


worker of Apis florea

Apis florea nest, Thailand. The nest is 20cm in diameter and contains approximately 3600 cells on each side. The reflective substance on the branch either side of the nest ispropolis which acts as a sticky and chemically repellent barrier to protect the nest from ants, particularly weaver ants(Oecophylla smaragdina). The curtain of bees covering the comb is 3–4 bees thick (~10mm).

The Dwarf honey bee or the Red dwarf honey bee (Apis florea) is one of two species of small, wild honey bees of southern and southeasternAsia. It has a much wider distribution than itssister speciesApis andreniformis.

This together with A. florea is the mostplesiomorphic honeybee species alive. Separating roughly about the Bartonian (some 40 mya or slightly later) from the other lineages, among themselves they do not seem to have diverged a long time before the Neogene.(Arias &; Sheppard 2005).

These two species together comprise the subgenus Micrapis, and are the most primitive of the living species of Apis, reflected in their smallcolony size, and simple nest construction. The exposed single combs are built on branches of shrubs and small trees. The forager bees do not perform a gravity oriented waggle dance on the vertical face of the comb to recruit nestmates as in the domesticated Apis mellifera and other species. Instead they perform the dance on the horizontal upper surface where the comb wraps around the supporting branch. The dance is a straight run pointing directly to the source of pollen or nectar that the forager has been visiting. In all other Apis species, the comb on which foragers dance is vertical, and the dance is not actually directed towards the food source.

Both the bees were generally identified as Apis florae, and most information still relates to this species prior to the 1990s. However, the distinctiveness of the two species Apis florea and Apis andreniformis was established unequivocally in the 1990s. Apis florea is redder and the first abdomen is always red in an old worker (younger workers are paler in colour, as is the case in giant honey bees); Apis andreniformis is in general darker and the first abdomen segment is totally black in old bees.[1].