Properties of Honeybee Nests

  • H. R. Hepburn
  • S. E. Radloff


Over the last couple of decades there have been numerous and concerted attempts to improve hive design in Africa, especially the transitional models. In consequence, there is a wealth of information on the qualities of natural nests of honeybees from throughout the continent (cf. Appendix 7.1 for references). The documentation for virtually every subspecies shows that honeybees simply occupy cavities, natural or otherwise. This commonly includes the hollows of trees and palms and among their root bases. Colonies are equally common in crevices among rocks, in ridges of limestone and even stony ground. They readily occupy termite heaps (termitaria) especially when these have been partially excavated by aardvarks. They may also, less commonly, build open air nests in thickets or suspended below a large branch of a tree. In such cases they often encircle the combs with a shroud of propolis.


Nest Site Nest Cavity Savanna Woodland European Race Comb Area 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. R. Hepburn
    • 1
  • S. E. Radloff
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Zoology and EntomologyRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of StatisticsRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa

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