African Honey Bee

Apis mellifera

Two closely related subspecies of Honey Bee are commonly found in South Africa, the Cape Honey Bee from the Western Cape being more aggressive than the African Honey Bee that occurs from the Karoo northwards to Ethiopia and Sudan (distribution map). They were also imported to Brazil from whence they spread all over South and Central America and into the continental United States. African Honey Bees are much more aggressive and tenacious than their counterparts in the Northern Hemisphere, attacking intruders quicker and in greater numbers when defending their hive.

Honey Bees are well-known for being social insects with well-defined castes taking care of various functions within the hive, which is built of wax and resin in natural or man-made cavities. Hives may number up to 50,000 individual bees, with workers living a few weeks and their queen for as long as four years. They feed on both the nectar and pollen of a wide variety of flowering plants.

Honey Bees are vitally important pollinators of indigenous flowering plants as well as cultivated crops. The 20th of May annually has been designated “World Bee Day” to focus attention on declining bee populations and the impact this will have on natural ecosystems and human food production in future.


24 thoughts on “African Honey Bee

  1. naturebackin

    I also love watching honey bees. Of course they are vitally important but for some reason the many other species of bees (and other important pollinators) are often forgotten and they too are vulnerable to a variety of threats. I enjoyed your bee photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. sustainabilitea

    Happy Bee Day from me, too. I spotted some bees today (featured in upcoming posts soon) but they weren’t honey bees. They were some sort of giant bees! I do love to see photos of bees, especially since their situation isn’t good right now. I really like the shot of the swarm.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anne

    Happy Bee Day! I am pleased to see some bees in our garden even though there are not many flowers around to attract them: Cape Honeysuckle and Canary creeper are the mainstays at this time of the year, tiding the bees over until the aloes come out – which some are slowly doing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      I’m also gladdened by the number of bees still buzzing around our little stamp of a garden (where most of these pictures were taken). That wonderful garden of yours must be a haven for the bees!


    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Apparently not in the USA, Tracy.
      Here in South Africa we do have a few fatalities every year from bee “attacks” – often times utility workers unknowingly opening hives located in power boxes, drains, etc – but not on the kind of scale that will turn the populace into fearing or even hating the bees.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. H.J. for avian101

    These bees were taken to Brazil to experiment by letting them breed among them in order to create a more productive race of bees. The result was the creation of a more aggressive kind of bees, and hard to handle. The natives of several countries call them “killer bees” because they have killed many people with their swarm attacks. Good post, D, 🙂

    Liked by 2 people


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