Social encapsulation of beetle parasites by Cape honeybee colonies (Apis mellifera capensis Esch.)

Neumann, P, Pirk, C, Hepburn, H, Solbrig, A, Ratnieks, F, Elzen, P and Baxter, J (2001) Social encapsulation of beetle parasites by Cape honeybee colonies (Apis mellifera capensis Esch.). Die Naturwissenschaften, 88. pp. 214-216. ISSN 0028-1042

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Abstract

Worker honeybees (Apis mellifera capensis) encapsulate the small hive beetle (Aethina tumida), a nest parasite, in propolis (tree resin collected by the bees). The encapsulation process lasts 1-4 days and the bees have a sophisticated guarding strategy for limiting the escape of beetles during encapsulation. Some encapsulated beetles died (4.9%) and a few escaped (1.6%). Encapsulation has probably evolved because the small hive beetle cannot easily be killed by the bees due to its hard exoskeleton and defensive behaviour.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Depositing User: Francis Ratnieks
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:12
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2012 14:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/24636
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