Swarming and Migration of Apis dorsata and Apis laboriosa Honey Bees in India, Nepal and Bhutan
The migratory open air nesting Apis dorsata and Apis laboriosa honeybees migrate at least twice a year. DNA genotyping showed that the same swarms return to their natal nesting sites. We examined 23 nesting sites in Nepal, India and Bhutan, on which 587 colonies of A. dorsata and A. laboriosa nested. The results showed that the frequency of the periodic mass flights (PMF) performed by the colonies is a good indicator of the status of current colony performance. During the swarming period, both, A. dorsata and A. laboriosa issue several swarms. In some colonies, so many bees swarmed out, that those remaining in the maternal colonies did not cover the combs. After the rest of the brood emerged, all the bees of such colonies abscond during the swarming period. Thus, absconding appeared in results of total out swarming. The swarms do not migrate directly to the seasonal alternative nesting sites, but establish new colonies in the areas around. After environmental conditions deteriorate, all the bees with their queens abscond and migrate to alternate seasonal nesting sites. The next season, the swarms do not return to their original reproductive natal sites, but to those sites they occupied the previous season lately, where from they absconded.
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