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Honey bees (or honeybees) are a subset of bees in the genus Apis, primarily
distinguished by the production and storage of honey and the construction of
perennial, colonial nests out of wax. Honey bees are the only extant members of
the tribe Apini, all in the genus Apis. Currently, there are only seven recognised
species of honey bee with a total of 44 subspecies, though historically, anywhere
from six to eleven species have been recognised. Honey bees represent only a
small fraction of the approximately 20,000 known species of bees. Some other
types of related bees produce and store honey, but only members of the genus
Apis are true honey bees.

Origin, systematics and distribution

Honey bees as a group appear to have their centre of origin in South and South
East Asia (including the Philippines), as all but one of the extant species are
native to that region, notably the most plesiomorphic living species (Apis florea
and A. andreniformis). The first Apis bees appear in the fossil record at the
Eocene–Oligocene boundary, in European deposits. The origin of these
prehistoric honey bees does not necessarily indicate that Europe is where the
genus originated, only that it occurred there at that time. There are few known
fossil deposits in the suspected region of honey bee origin, and fewer still have
been thoroughly studied. There is only one fossil species documented from the
New World, Apis nearctica, known from a single 14-million-year old specimen
from Nevada.

Morphology of a female honey bee

The close relatives of modern honey bees - e.g. bumblebees and stingless bees -
are also social to some degree, and social behavior seems a plesiomorphic trait
that predates the origin of the genus. Among the extant members of Apis, the
more basal species make single, exposed combs, while the more recently
evolved species nest in cavities and have multiple combs, which has greatly
facilitated their domestication.

Most species have historically been cultured or at least exploited for honey and
beeswax by humans indigenous to their native ranges. Only two of these species
have been truly domesticated, one (Apis mellifera) at least since the time of the
building of the Egyptian pyramids, and only that species has been moved
extensively beyond its native range.

Today's honey bees constitute three clades

Apis florea and Apis andreniformis are small honey bees of southern and
southeastern Asia. They make very small, exposed nests in trees and shrubs.
Their stings are often incapable of penetrating human skin, so the hive and
swarms can be handled with minimal protection. They occur largely
sympatrically though they are very distinct evolutionarily and are probably the
result of allopatric speciation, their distribution later converging. Given that A.
florea is more widely distributed and A. andreniformis is considerably more
aggressive, honey is - if at all - usually harvested from the former only. They are
the most ancient extant lineage of honey bees, maybe diverging in the Bartonian
(some 40 mya or slightly later) from the other lineages, but among themselves
do not seem to have diverged a long time before the Neogene.

Two views of an Apis florea dwarf honey bee nest in Thailand

Apis dorsata on Tribulus terrestris in Hyderabad, India

Apis dorsata on comb

Apis dorsata nest, Thailand. The comb is approximately 1 m across.

Eastern species

These are 3 or 4 species. The reddish Koschevnikov's bee (Apis koschevnikovi)

from Borneo is well distinct; it probably derives from the first colonization of the
island by cave-nesting honey bees. Apis cerana, the Eastern honey bee proper, is
the traditional honey bee of southern and eastern Asia, kept in hives in a similar
fashion to Apis mellifera, though on a much smaller and regionalised scale. It has
not been possible yet to resolve its relationship to the Bornean Apis cerana
nuluensis and Apis nigrocincta from the Philippines to satisfaction; the most
recent hypothesis is that these are indeed distinct species but that A. cerana is
still paraphyletic, consisting of several good species.

European (Western, Common) honey bee

European honey bee originated from eastern Africa. This bee pictured in

Main article: Apis mellifera

Apis mellifera, the most commonly domesticated species, was the third insect to
have its genome mapped. It seems to have originated in eastern tropical Africa
and spread from there to Northern Europe and eastwards into Asia to the Tien
Shan range. It is variously called the European, Western or common honey bee
in different parts of the world. There are many subspecies that have adapted to
the local geographic and climatic environment, and in addition, hybrid strains
such as the Buckfast bee have been bred. Behavior, color and anatomy can be
quite different from one subspecies or even strain to another.

Regarding phylogeny, this is the most enigmatic honey bee species. It seems to
have diverged from its Eastern relatives only during the Late Miocene. This
would fit the hypothesis that the ancestral stock of cave-nesting honey bees was
separated into the Western group of E Africa and the Eastern group of tropical
Asia by desertification in the Middle East and adjacent regions, which caused
declines of foodplants and trees which provided nest sites, eventually causing
gene flow to cease. The diversity of subspecies is probably the product of a
(largely) Early Pleistocene radiation aided by climate and habitat changes during
the last ice age. That the Western honey bee has been intensively managed by
humans since many millennia - including hybridization and introductions – has
apparently increased the speed of its evolution and confounded the DNA
sequence data to a point where little of substance can be said about the exact
relationships of many A. mellifera subspecies.

There are no honey bees native to the Americas. In 1622, European colonists
brought the dark bee (A. m. mellifera) to the Americas, followed later by Italian
bees (A. m. ligustica) and others. Many of the crops that depend on honey bees
for pollination have also been imported since colonial times. Escaped swarms
(known as "wild" bees, but actually feral) spread rapidly as far as the Great
Plains, usually preceding the colonists. Honey bees did not naturally cross the
Rocky Mountains; they were carried by ship to California in the early 1850s.

Eastern honey bee (Apis cerana) from Hong Kong

Africanized bee
Widely known as the "killer bee", Africanised bees are hybrids between European
stock and one of the African subspecies A. m. scutellata; they are often more
aggressive than European bees but are more resistant to disease and are better
foragers but do not create as much of a surplus as European bees[citation
needed]. Originating by accident in Brazil, they have spread to North America
and constitute a pest in some regions. However, these strains do not overwinter
well, and so are not often found in the colder, more Northern parts of North
America. On the other hand, the original breeding experiment for which the
African bees were brought to Brazil in the first place has continued (though not
as intended): novel hybrid strains of domestic and re-domesticated Africanised
bees combine high resilience to tropical conditions and good yields, and are
popular among beekeepers in Brazil.

European honey bee originated from eastern Africa. This bee pictured in
Uses of honey in our
everyday life

* It is used in baking cakes, pastries etc.

* Used in candies and preparing fruit creams.

* Mixed in breakfast cereals.

* It is mixed with wine and many fermented drinks and beverages.

* It is used to preserve fruits.

* Sweets are prepared with honey.

* Used as a face pack to give an added glow to human skin.

* It has been used in the treatment of burns and cuts as it has mild antiseptic

* A teaspoonful of honey if mixed with few drops of lemon and extract of

ginger helps in curing cough and cold.

* Use honey for an ice cream or any biscuit topping.

* Try using honey instead of granulated sugar.

* A teaspoon of honey if mixed in a glass of lukewarm water and lemon juice

cures constipation (to be taken on empty stomach).
* Honey helps in keeping the teeth and gums clean. It also gives shine to the
teeth if applied daily.

* One or two teaspoons of honey, if mixed with a cup of warm milk, and taken
before going to bed, ensures a sound sleep.

The life cycle stages of the

silkworm moth Bombyx mori

Phylum, Arthropoda; Class, Insecta; Order,

The silk worm larval life is divided into five instars, separated by four molts. Four
distinct stages of development complete one generation of the species;

ova, larvae, pupa and imago.

The common name silkworm or caterpillar is used for the larvae of the moth
Bombyx mori.

After hatching from the egg, larvae go through four molts as they grow. During
each molt, the old skin is cast off and a new, larger one is produced. The
silkworm's larval life is divided into five instars, separated by four molts.

silkworm.moth.and.eggs..jpg (180024 bytes) On the photo left the female silk

moth can be seen partly upper left and male silk moth is in the middle. The size
diference is easy to see. The fresh pale yellow eggs will turn to gray.

STAGE 1 - OVA: Incubation 10-14 days

Newly laid eggs are a creamy yellow, after a few days the fertile live eggs will be
gray. Keep the eggs cool. In the winter this is easy, but the eggs must be
placed in the fridge as soon as it starts to warm up for spring. Do not freeze the
eggs, keep them in the warmest part of the fridge..

The silkworm eggs will hatch 2 weeks after you remove them from the fridge.

STAGE 2 - LARVA: 27 DAYS (5 instars)

After four days the first molt will occur.

After hatching the tiny larvae grow the best if they are fed on the new soft
leaves of the mulberry tree. Switch over to larger leaves as they grow. The
silkworms(larvae) do nothing but eat. Keep them in a flat open box. They will
not crawl away. Simply place leaves in the container and place the silkworms on
the leaves. Keep them at room temperature, but not in direct sunlight.

If you have got many silkworms then it is best to make wooden frames with a
fine mesh grid at the bottom so that the worm droppings and fine pieces of
leaves can fall through. Stand the frame in a tray to catch the debris.
Everything must be kept clean. Transfer the tiny silkworms using a small paint
brush the first few days, older larvae can be gently picked up with your hands
onto a clean tray. Give fresh leaves and remove half eaten leaves from the day
before, every day. (34866 bytes)


The silkworm will spin a silk cocoon as protection for the pupa. Cocoons are
shades of white, cream and yellow. The glistening shine of the silk gives an
impression of silver and shades of gold. After a final molt inside the cocoon, the
larva change into the brown pupa. Further changes inside the pupa

result in an emerging moth


An adult silk moth emerges from the cocoon about two weeks after completion.
This is the adult stage of the silkworm, Bombyx mori. The body of the moth is
covered in short fine hair and wings are creamy white with faint brown lines.
Moths can not fly or consume nutrition. Females are larger and less active than
the males. Male moths move about beating their wings seeking females.

If adults copulate in captivity, the female will lay eggs within 24 hours. The
female usually lies the eggs on the vertical side of the box or tray. Cover the
whole surface with sheets of paper making it easier to remove the eggs for