Enemies of Bees – Honey bee plant production- No of enemies involved

Wax Moth

a. Greater Wax Moth

      Galleria mellonella Galleriidae : Lepidoptera

  • Adults brown in colour. Female moth enters the hive during night and lays creamy white eggs in groups in the cracks and crevices of the hive and combs and in the gap between super and brood chamber. 
  • Caterpillar is dirty white in colour. Egg, larval and pupal periods are 8-10, 30 and 8 days respectively.
  • Caterpillars tunnel into the combs and feed on the pollen, wax, propolis and royal jelly and make silken galleries in the tunnels).
  • Complete damage of comb with numerous black faecal pellets, when the damage is heavy. 
  • Usually uncovered or partially covered combs and weaker colonies are damaged. In case of severe infestation, bees may abandon the colony

b. Lesser Wax Moth

       Achroia grisella Galleriidae : Lepidoptera

Seen comparatively at higher altitudes. Caterpillars feed mainly on the debris of the combs.

c. Lesser Wax Moth

  • Achroia innotata Galleriidae : Lepidoptera. Occurs both inside the combs and on the floor boards of working colonies. 
  • These wax moths at times decap the sealed cells exposing the pupae and this condition is referred to as bald brood.

2. Ants

a.Black ant – Camponotus compressus

b.Household red ant– Dorylusla hiatus Monomorium spp.

  • Attack weak colonies and carry away the honey, pollen and the brood, leading to destruction and end of the colony

3. Wasps

a. Yellow banded hornet, Vespa cincta (Vesipdae : Hymenoptera)

  • Large wasp with a broad transverse yellow band on the abdomen. A social insect constructing papery nests in hollows spaces. 
  • It waits near the entrance (alighting board) of the hive, catches bees as they come out, macerates them for feeding the juice to its young ones. It captures the bees in the field also

b. Bee hunter wasp, Palarus orientalis (Vesipdae : Hymenoptera)

  • Black colored with transverse yellow lines on the abdomen. It catches bees while on flight. 
  • A wasp can collect 80 bees a day, stings and carries them to its underground nests and places one in each of the compartments of the nest before laying an egg on the back of each bee. The grub on hatching feeds on the bee.

c. Bee hunter wasp, Philanthus ramakrishnae (Vesipdae : Hymenoptera) Found in hilly regions. Attacks and carries away bees.

 4. Wax beetle

  • Platybolium alvearum (Tenebrionidae :Coleopotera) Found in hives under unhygienic conditions.

5. Leaf cutter bee 

  • Destroy the infested comb. Feed on the debris and on old combs in weak colonies.

6. Birds

  • King crow, Dicruru ssp. Bee eater, Merops orientalis. They capture bees and devour them.

7. Lizards, toads and frogs

  • All these animals being insectivorous feed upon bees. Protection ag them could had be keeping the hives on stands and being watchful.

8. Mammals

  • Some bears, badgers and of course man also come in the category of bee enemies.

9. Other enemies

1.     The sphinx, Acherontia styx enters the hive and consumes honey

2.     Cockroaches enter weak colonies and impart a foul smell to the hive

3.     Robber flies attack bees aerially

4.    Dragon flies attack bees aerially

5.    Preying mantids

6.     Termites damage wooden parts of the hive

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