Extractable surface hydrocarbons of workers and drones of the genus Apis
B. R. Francis, W. E. Blanton and R. A. Nunamaker
Extractable surface hydrocarbons of adults of various ages chosen at random from species of honeybees (Apis florea, A. dorsata, A. mellifera and A. cerana), and newly-emerged adult workers of subspecies of A. mellifera were analysed by gas chromatography and by combined gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. There were significant quantitative and qualitative differences between the hydrocarbons of the 4 species of Apis. The quantity of hydrocarbon per bee was higher for A. dorsata and A. cerana than for A. mellifera, and even the quantity found in the much smaller A. florea approached that of A. mellifera. The major hydrocarbons of the surface waxes of A. florea, A. mellifera, and A. cerana were normal alkanes and alkenes. For A. dorsata, there was also a substantial proportion of branched alkanes. Small quantities of branched alkanes were found in the surface waxes of A. mellifera and A. cerana, but only traces were found in those of A. florea. Compared with workers, drones of A. dorsata and A. cerana had higher proportions of branched alkanes and short-chain alkenes and lower proportions of normal alkanes and long-chain alkenes. For random-age bees, the unsaturated hydrocarbons of A. mellifera adansonii covered a wider range of chain lengths than those of the other A. mellifera subspecies. The quantities of hydrocarbons extracted per individual from samples of newly-emerged worker bees of different subspecies of A. mellifera were consistent and the gas chromatograms showed only minor variations. Honeybees from South Africa (A. m. adallsonii and A. m. capensis) and 'Africanized' bees from Brazil had a substantially higher proportion of C35unsaturated hydrocarbons than bees of European origin (A. m. mellifera, A. m. ligustica, and A. m. carnica).