Encyclopedia of Social Insects

Living Edition
| Editors: Christopher Starr

Dwarf Honey Bees (Apis (Micrapis))

  • Benjamin P. OldroydEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-90306-4_38-1


Apis andreniformis;Apis florea;Micrapis

Of the approximately 12 species of honey bees (genus Apis), two stand out for their small size and distinctive nest form: the black dwarf honey bee Apis andreniformis and the red dwarf honey bee Apis florea [ 6, 8, 11] (Fig. 1). Both are tiny, with a worker forewing length of just 6–7 mm, compared to about 10 mm for the western honey bee A. mellifera. The dwarf species also stand out for their nest form: a single comb built around a twig (Figs. 1b, 3), in contrast to the cavity-nesting honey bees (multiple combs in a cavity) and the giant honey bees (a single comb built under a support).
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1.
    Beekman, M., Fathke, R. L., & Seeley, T. D. (2006). How does an informed minority of scouts guide a honey bee swarm as it flies to its new home. Animal Behaviour, 71, 161–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bezabih, G., et al. (2014). The territorial invasion of Apis florea in Africa. African Entomology: Journal of the Entomological Society of Southern Africa, 22, 888–890.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Delfinado, M. D., & Baker, E. W. (1974). Varroidae, a new family of mites on honey bees (Mesostigmata: Acarini). Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences, 64, 4–10.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Dyer, F. C. (1985). Mechanisms of dance orientation in the Asian honey bee Apis florea. Journal of Comparative Physiology. A, 157, 183–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Dyer, F. C., & Seeley, T. D. (1991). Nesting behavior and the evolution of worker tempo in four honey bee species. Ecology, 72, 156–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hepburn, H. R., & Radloff, S. E. (Eds.). (2011). Honeybees of Asia (p. 669). Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hepburn, H. R., et al. (2005). A. florea: Morphometrics, classification and biogeography. Apidologie, 36, 359–376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Higgs, J. S., McHale, M., & Oldroyd, B. P. (2010). A scientific note on a rapid method for the molecular discrimination of Apis andreniformis and A. florea. Apidologie, 41, 96–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Lekprayoon, C., & Tangkanasing, P. (1991). Varroa wongsirii, a new species of bee mite from Thailand. International Journal of Acarology, 17, 255–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Makinson, J. C., et al. (2017). Collective decision making in the red dwarf honey bee Apis florea: Do the bees simply follow the flowers? Insectes Sociaux, 64, 557–566.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Oldroyd, B. P., & Wongsiri, S. (2006). Asian honey bees: Biology, conservation and human interactions. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 340 pp.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Rinderer, T. E., et al. (1992). Evolution of bee dances. Nature, 360, 305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Rinderer, T. E., et al. (1996). Comparative nest architecture of the dwarf honey bees. Journal of Apicultural Research, 35, 19–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Seeley, T. D. (1985). Honeybee ecology. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 201 pp.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Wu, Y., & Kuang, B. (1987). Two species of small honeybee – A study of the genus Micrapis. Bee World, 68, 153–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Science, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Ecology and EvolutionThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia