Types of Honey bees for Apiculture

Apiculture is the rearing of Honeybees for the commercial production of Honey. There are various types of Honey bees suitable for different locations for Apiculture. In this post, we will let you know the characteristics of different Honey bee species and their honey yield. The genus name of Honey bees in Apis.

Honey bee species types for Beekeeping

1. Apis dorsata: (Rock bee)

  • Honey yield- 37 kg/annum/colony.
  • Largest among all, next to Himalayan bee.
  • Constructs a single large comb (6ft X 3ft) on inaccessible branches and steep rocks.
  • Ferocious, aggressive & frequent deserting of hives.
  • Most of the honey & wax in the market is from this species.
  • Honey cells are not capped after ripening.

 2. Apis cerana indica: (Indian bee)

  • Honey yield-2-5 kg/annum/colony.
  • Found in both forests and plain.
  • Constructs many parallel combs in the cavities.
  • More swarming &absconding nature.
  • Larger than florae and smaller than dorsata.
  • 350 – 1000eggs.

3. Apis mellifera: (European bee/Italian bee)

  • Honey yield- 45-180kg/yr.
  • 1st introduced to PAU (Punjab Agriculture. University) in 1963 by A.S.Atwal.
  • Superior than Indian bee in foraging & honey gathering abilities with prolific queen.
  • Less swarming & absconding.
  • Constructs many parallel combs larger than Indian bees.

Saffron Farming in Telangana guide

4. Apis florea: (Little bee)

  • Honey yield- 0.5-1 kg/yr.
  • Most primitive bee species.
  • Found only in plains.
  • constructs small combs on branches, twigs, bushes
  • Not domesticated.

 5. Apis adreniformis: (Blackdwarf bee)

  • Sister species of little bee.
  • It is more defensive than a little bee.
  • Black stripes on tibia & basitarsus.
  • Prefer dark places in the forest (25-30% light)

6. Tetragonula irridipennis: (Dammer bee/ Mosquito bee/ Biting bee/ Stingless bee)

  • Honey yield- 60-180 ml/yr.
  • Constructs hive using cerumen(i.e mixture of wax& resin/propolis)
  • Mass provisioning is seen here.
  • Honey stored in spherical pots & pollen in wax tubes.

7. Apis laboriosa : (Himalayan bee)

  • Honey yield-60kg/yr.
  • Largest & wildest of all the bees.
  • Seen in high altitude areas, nests seen at 2500-3000mts.
  • Foraging up to 4100 mt,
  • Pollinator of apple flowers.
  • Constructs many large combs on vertical cliffs.

Types of Honey

  1. Red honey is produced at high altitudes.
  2. Spring honey is produced at mid & low altitude.
  3. Autumn honey can be produced at any altitude.

Bee species constructing many multiple combs:

  • A.cerana indica,
  • A.mellifera,
  • A.koschevnoski ,
  • A.nigrocincta,
  • A.nuluensis

Bee species constructing single combs:

  • A.dorsata,
  • A.florea ,
  • A.adreniformis,
  • A.bighami,
  • A.breviligula ,
  • A.laboriosa

Govt. Apiculture and Honey bee institute

This is all about various types of Honey bee characteristics for commercial production honey. For more information, comment below.