Free Access
Volume 27, Number 5, 1996
Asian honeybees
Page(s) 341 - 352
Apidologie 27 (1996) 341-352
DOI: 10.1051/apido:19960502

Observations on colony defense of Apis nuluensis Tingek, Koeniger and Koeniger, 1996 and predatory behavior of the hornet, Vespa multimaculata Pérez, 1910

N. Koenigera, G. Koenigera, M. Griesa, S. Tingekb and A. Kelitub

a  Institut für Bienenkunde (Polytechnische Gesellschaft), Fachbereich Biologie der JW Goethe-Universität Frankfurt aM, Karl-von-Frisch-Weg 2, 61440 Oberursel, Germany
b  Agricultural Research Station, Lagud Seberang PO Box 197, 89908 Tenom, Sabah, Malaysia

Abstract - Colony defense and predatory behavior of Vespa multimaculata was observed at the entrance of a natural nest site of Apis nuluensis. When V multimaculata was present, guard bees frequently performed body shaking behavior: bees lifted the tip of the abdomen slightly spreading the wings and exposed the Nasonov gland. The oscillation of the abdomen tip had an amplitude of 83° (SD = 50°; n = 84) and its duration was 0.08 s (SD = 0.01; n = 84). The individual behavior resulted in the rapid formation of a group of guard bees and induced body shaking of neighboring bees. The hunting V multimaculata workers hovered about 5-10 cm in front of the nest and blocked the direct flight path of bees returning to the nest. Returning foragers are regularly diverted from the nest entrances and attracted to the body shaking guard bees where they land beyond the reach of hovering V multimaculata. In contrast to Apis cerana, A nuluensis exposes its Nasonov gland during body shaking. During a period of 12 h one V multimaculata worker caught 14 bees. At the end of the observation we brought the hornet (tethered to a wire) into contact with a group of bees at the nest entrance. The A nuluensis guard bees immediately balled and killed the hornet with heat.

Key words: Apis nuluensis / Vespa / behavior / defense / predation