Cape (Apis mellifera capensis) and European (Apis mellifera) honey bee guard age and duration of guarding small hive beetles (Aethina tumida)
James O Ellis Jr, Alexandra J Holland, Randall Hepburn, Peter Neumann and Patti J Elzen
The guard age and duration of European (Apis mellifera) and Cape (A. m. capensis) honey bees guarding small hive beetles (Aethina tumida) were determined using 3-frame observation hives, noting the commencement and termination of beetle guarding by individually labelled honey bees. European honey bees in the USA began guarding small hive beetles significantly earlier (beginning age 18.55 ± 0.52 days; mean ± s.e.), guarded beetles significantly longer (duration 2.36 ± 0.31 days), and stopped guarding beetles significantly sooner (ending age 19.91 ± 0.57 days) than Cape honey bees in South Africa (beginning age 20.61 ± 0.38 days; duration 1.43 ± 0.12 days; and ending age 21.04 ± 0.37 days). Although the timing of beetle guarding behaviour between the two subspecies is significantly different, it does not explain the differential damage to European and Cape honey bee colonies caused by small hive beetles.
Apis mellifera, Apis mellifera capensis, Aethina tumida, guarding behaviour, guard age, small hive beetle, Cape honey bees, age-related division of labour