ASIAN HONEY BEE

Share

The Asian honey bee, Apis cerana Fabricius (Fig. 1), occurs in southern Asia. There are eight recognized subspecies of Apis cerana, including Apis cerana cerana and Apis cerana indica. Both Apis cerana cerana and Apis cerana indica are managed for honey production and crop pollination, similarly to how western honey bees, Apis mellifera L., are used in the United States. Apis cerana is a natural host to two major honey bee pests, Varroa destructor and Nosema ceranae, both of which also infect Apis mellifera. Furthermore, Apis cerana has expanded beyond it native range and there is particular concern about its spread into Australia.

All honey bee species (members of the genus Apis) share many morphological, behavioral and physiological characteristics. Here we summarize those characteristics and highlight some of the defining differences between Apis cerana and Apis mellifera.