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Characterization of Natural Bee Space and Cell Dimensions of Honeybees of Central Ethiopia (Apis mellifera bandasii)
American Journal of Life Sciences
Volume 7, Issue 3, June 2019, Pages: 61-67
Received: Jun. 27, 2019; Accepted: Jul. 22, 2019; Published: Aug. 5, 2019
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Zewdu Ararso Hora, Holeta Bee Research Center, Oromia Agricultural Research Institute, Holeta, Ethiopia
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Apis mellifera (A. mellifera) colonies build nests of varying characteristics which differ between races and different ecologies. To gain insight into details of natural nest characteristics of local honeybees and its implications in movable frame hive designing, natural bee space, comb spacing and worker brood cell dimensions of Apis mellifera bandasii (A. m. bandasii) were assessed across different altitudinal ranges through measuring their dimensions from naturally constructed combs in traditional hives. Moreover, comb spacing and bee space in movable frame hives from different local workshops were also measured. In addition, optimum comb thickness and bee space requirement were assessed by keeping local honeybee colonies in Kenya Top Bar (KTB) hives with different top bar widths. Accordingly, the average natural bee space, comb spacing, inside width of worker brood cells and worker brood cell/dm2 were 10.04 ± 2.23 mm, 33.70 ± 1.84 mm, 4.64 ± 0.13 mm and 1060.92 ± 14.24, respectively. The worker brood comb thickness, cell depth and bee space were significantly (p < 0.05) different across altitudinal ranges. Moreover, local honeybee colonies under natural conditions were found to build significantly narrower comb spacing in their brood nests than the frame spacing in movable frame box hives. The result from experimental colonies kept in KTB hives of varying top bar widths revealed that increasing comb spacing had no effect on comb thicknesses, while it significantly increased the bee space. This also confirmed that A. m. bandasii needs less comb spacing than the space in movable frame box hives currently used. The study implies the vital importance of considering natural nest comb spacing and cells dimensions in designing and constructing movable frame box hives and accessories that match with local honeybees’ biological requirement which may contribute to enhance the productivity of the race.
Apis mellifera bandasii, Bee space, Comb Spacing, Cell Dimensions, Traditional Hive
To cite this article
Zewdu Ararso Hora, Characterization of Natural Bee Space and Cell Dimensions of Honeybees of Central Ethiopia (Apis mellifera bandasii), American Journal of Life Sciences. Vol. 7, No. 3, 2019, pp. 61-67. doi: 10.11648/j.ajls.20190703.12
Copyright © 2019 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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