Six-year population fluctuation of the giant honey bee Apis dorsata (hymenoptera: apidae) in a tropical lowland dipterocarp forest in Sarawak

Takao Itioka, Tamiji Inoue, Het Kaliang, Makoto Kato, Teruyoshi Nagamitsu, Kuniyasu Momose, Shoko Sakai, Takakazu Yumoto, Sarkawi Umah Mohamad, Abang Abdul Hamid, Seiki Yamane

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


The giant honey bee Apis dorsata F. inhabits lowland tropical rainforests in Southeast Asia, where a general, community-wide flowering occurs at intervals of 4 yr on average. The numerical response by the honey bee population to the drastic increase of flower resources during general flowering was investigated for 6 yr by monthly light-trapping and by nest counts in a lowland dipterocarp forest in Borneo. The numbers of A. dorsata workers obtained by light-trapping were highest during general flowering periods, whereas very few workers were trapped in other periods. The abundance of A. dorsata nests showed temporal correspondence with the abundance of trapped workers, and the nests disappeared in the nonflowering periods. These data suggest that the A. dorsata population increases rapidly in response to general flowering and that this is initiated by nonseasonal, long-distance migration. Drones of A. dorsata were present during the general flowering period, but there is no evidence that reproduction by A. dorsata occurs only in general flowering periods. Fluctuation in abundance by the honey bee A. koschevnikovi Enderlein was also observed by monthly light-trapping. The temporal trend of this species was similar to that of A. dorsata, but sightings persisted even in the nonflowering periods. Both honey bees responded numerically to floral resources, but long-distance migration in A. koschevnikovi was unlikely.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-549
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of the Entomological Society of America
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2001


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