African bee, Apis mellifera Capensis, Apis Mellifera Scutellata, Bee, Cape bee, Cape Town, environment, honeybee, nature
There are two different species of Bees which are native to South Africa. Apis mellifera Scutellata (or “African bee”) and Apis mellifera Capensis (or “Cape bee”).
The African bee is an aggressive bee with a hardy strain and capable of producing large crops of honey. It has more of a yellow striped abdomen compared to the Cape Bee.. The Cape bee is generally confined to the western and southern Cape regions particularly referred to as the Fynbos region running in an imaginary line between Vredendal on the western Atlantic coastline across to Willowvale on the eastern Indian Ocean coastline. The African bee covers the region to the north of this area although there is hybrid zone overlapping the two regions where the two hybridize.
The Cape bee tends to be a more docile bee (although can also become aggressive when provoked), distinguished from the African bee by a darker abdomen and are sometimes referred to as “black bees”. It has a unique characteristic in that the worker bees (females) have the ability to produce both male and female offspring and thus able to re-queen a colony which has become queenless. The downside of this characteristic is that it has the ability to parasitise scutellata colonies. Capensis laying workers invade and subsequently begin to lay their own eggs, challenging the scutellata queen’s ability to control the colony. The original colony becomes overtaken by Cape bees and will collapse. Signs of a Capensis invasion are: multiple eggs observed in cells, (may even be laid on top of pollen), raised capping of brood cells, reduced activity within the hive, and non-aggressive bees.
Source : SABIO http://www.sabio.org.za/?page_id=14