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Bio-ecology of Asian giant honeybee, Apis dorsata F. (Hymenoptera: Apidae) at Arid, semi-Arid and Malnad regions of South-Western Karnataka, India

K. S. Raghunandan, S. Basavarajappa

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J. Bio. Env. Sci.4(2), 205-224, February 2014


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India is one of the honey hubs, where large quantity of multifloral honey comes from the wild colonies of Asian giant honeybee, Apis dorsata Fabricius. Being an open nester, A. dorsata construct big sized comb and thrive well under diversified ecosystems by extending pollination services to various plant species. However, during its stay at arid, semi-arid and malnad regions, experiencing hardships while availing ecological and biological factors at its nesting site. Reports are scanty and that show less attention compared to domestic species like A. cerana and A. mellifera. Therefore, investigations were made during 2010-12 by following various standard methods to reveal bio-ecology of A. dorsata at various regions of south-western Karnataka, India. Information on colony density, abundance, hive products potential, various nesting parameters, floral source, natural and man-made intereferences on the survival of A. dorsata were collected. A. dorsata thriving well by nesting single or multiples of variously sized colonies on several tree species including on human built structures at specific elevation with unique comb architecture. To avail continuous floral source during different seasons, A. dorsata exhibited ubiquitous nesting behaviour at different regions, but there existed a significant variation and did indicated the region specific nesting activity and hive products potential. Despite its ubiquitous nesting behaviour, predators, enemies, pests and human intrusions have made A. dorsata to face problems during its survival at various regions. However, suitable bio-ecological conditions that favour A. dorsata to thrive well under arboreal conditions in the wild are discussed to a greater length in this presentation.


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