Comparison of Hygienic Behavior of Exotic Honey Bee Apis mellifera L. and Indigenous Honey Bee Apis cerana of Pakistan

Muhammad Shakeel, Hussain Ali, Sajjad Ahmad


Indigenous and exotic honey bee species were evaluated for their hygienic behavior in the climatic condition of Peshawar Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Colonies of equal strength from indigenous (Apis cerana) and exotic (Apis mellifera) species were selected for the study. The same colonies were tested in two seasons. Sealed brood were killed with different methods i.e pin killed and freeze killed. The uncapping of cells and brood removal was recorded at different intervals. Significant differences were recorded between hygienic behavior of both species of honey bees. Apis cerana showed significantly superior hygienic behavior than Apis mellifera in both seasons. At different intervals in both species significant differences were recorded. A significant difference was recorded after 12 and 24 hours between the species in both seasons. No significant differences were recorded after 48hours in both species. From the study it is concluded that indigenous honey bee species has superior hygienic behavior than exotic species.


hygienic behavior, species comparison

Full Text:



Athreya, S. V. R. & Reddy, M.S. (2013). Variation of hygienic behavior (nest cleaning behaviour) in honey bee, Apis cerana indica F. in different eco habitats of South India. Current Biotica. 7 (1&2): 101–104.

Boecking, O. & Drescher, W. (1992). The removal response of Apis mellifera L. colonies to brood in wax and plastic cells after artificial and natural infestation with Varroa jacobsoni Oud.

and to freeze-killed brood. Experimental and Applied Acarology 16(4):321-329.

Boecking, O. & Spivak. M. (1999). Behavioral defenses of honey bees against Varroa jacobsoni Oud. Apidologie. 30 (2-3):.141-158.

Highfield, A. C., El Nagar, A., Mackinder, L. C., Laure, M. L. N., Hall, M. J., Martin, S. J., & Schroeder, D. C. (2009). Deformed wing virus implicated in overwintering honeybee colony losses. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 75(22): 7212-7220. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.02227-09

Jong, D. E., R. A. Morse. & Eickwort, G.C. (1982). Mite pests of honey bees. Annual Review of Entomology, 27: 229-252.

Koeniger, N., Koeniger, G. A, & Wijyagunasekara, N.H.P.(1981). Observations on the adaptation of Varroa jacobsoni to its natural host Apis cerana in Sri Lanka. Apidologie, 12: 37-40.

Koeniger, N.,Koeniger G., & EA-Dlkfibenardo, M., (1983). Observations on mites of the Asian honey bee species (Apis cerana, Apis dorsata, Apis florea). Apidologie, 14: 197-204.

Lilia I. de Guzman, Thomas E. Rinderer, Amanda M. Frake & Maria J. Kirrane (2015) Brood removal influences fall of Varroa destructor in honey bee colonies, Journal of Apicultural Research, 54:3, 216-225,DOI: 10.1080/00218839.2015.1117294

Lin, Z., Page P., Li, L., Qin, Y., Zhang, Y., Hu, F., Neumann, P., Zheng, H. & Dietemann, V. (2016). Go East for Better Honey Bee Health: Apis cerana Is Faster at Hygienic Behavior than A. mellifera. PLoS ONE 11(9): e0162647.

Lodesani, M., Pellacani, A., Bergomi, S., Carpana, E., Rabitti, T., & Lasagni, P. (1992). Residue determination fromsome products used against Varroa infestation in bees. Apidologie 23:257-272.

Lodesani, M., Colombo, M., & Spreafico, M. (1995). In effectiveness of Apistan treatment against the mite Varroa jacobsoni Oud in several districts of Lombardy(Italy). Apidologie 26: 67-72

Masterman, R., Smith B.H., & Spivak M. (2000). Brood odor discrimination abilities in hygienic honey bees (Apis mellifera L) using proboscis extension reflex conditioning, Journal of Insect Behavior. 13:87–101.

Mondet, F. Kim, S. H., De Miranda, J. R., Beslay, D., Le Conte, Y., & Mercer, A. R (2016). Specific Cues Associated with Honey Bee Social Defense against Varroa destructor Infested Brood. Sci. Rep. 6, 25444; doi: 10.1038/srep25444.

Nganso, B. T., Fombong, A. T., Yusuf, A. A., Pirk, C. W. W, Stuhl, C., & Torto, B. (2017). Hygienic and grooming behaviors in African and European honeybees—New damage categories in Varroa destructor. PLoS ONE 12(6): e0179329.

Park, O.W. (1936). Disease resistance and American foulbrood. American Bee Journal. 12–14.

Palacio M.A., Figini E., Rodriguez E.M., Rufinengo S., Del Hoyo M. L, & Bedascarrasbure, E. (1996). Selección para comportamiento higiénico en una población de Apis mellifera, in: Anales del V Congreso Iberolatinoamericano de Apiculture Mercedes, Uruguay, 148-150 p.

Palacio M.A., Figini E., Rodriguez E.M., Rufinengo S., Bedascarrasbure E., del Hoyo M. L. (2000). Changes in a population of Apis mellifera selected for its hygienic behavior, Apidologie 31: 471–478.

Peng Y.S.C., Fang Y., Xu, & Gel. S. (1987). The resistance mechanism of the Asian honey bee, Apis cerana Fabr., to an ectoparasitic mite. Varroa jacobsoni Oudemans. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology. 49: 54-60.

Rasolofoarivao, H., Delatte, H., Raveloson Ravaomanarivo, L. H., Reynaud, B., & Clémencet, J. (2015). Assessing hygienic behavior of Apis mellifera unicolor (Hymenoptera: Apidae), the endemic honey bee from Madagascar. Genetics and Molecular Research. 14 (2): 5879-5889.

Reuter, G. S., & Spivak, M. (1998). A simple assay for honey bee hygienic behavior. Bee Culture. 126:23-25.

Rothenbuhler, W. (1964a). Behavior Genetics of Nest Cleaning in Honey Bees. IV. Responses of F1 and Backcross Generations to Disease-Killed Brood. American Zoologist. 4(2):111-123. Retrieved from

Rothenbuhler, W.C. (1964b). Behavior genetics of nest cleaning in honeybees. I. Responses of four inbred lines to disease killed brood. Animal Behavior. 12: 578–583.

Spivak, M. (1996). Honeybee hygienic behavior and defense against Varroa jacobsoni, Apidologie. 27: 245–260.

Spivak M. & Downey, D.L. (1998). Field assays for hygienic behavior in disease resistance in honey bees (Apidae: Hymenoptera). Journal of Economic Entomology. 91: 64–70.

Spivak, M. & Reuter, G.S. (1998). Performance of hygienic honey bee colonies in a commercial apiary. Apidologie. 29 (3): 291–302.

Spivak M. & Reuter G.S. (2001). Resistance to American foulbrood disease by honey bee colonies Apis mellifera bred for hygienic behavior. Apidologie. 32 (6):555–565.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

JCR Impact Factor 2019: 0.690