Spatial and temporal distribution and nest site characteristics of feral honey bee (Hymenoptera : Apidae) colonies in a coastal prairie landscape Academic Article uri icon


  • We evaluated the distribution and abundance of feral honey bee, Apis mellifera L., colonies in a coastal prairie landscape by examining nest site characteristics, population trends, and spatial and temporal patterns in cavity use. The colony densities of up to 12.5 colonies per km2 were the highest reported in the literature for an area including both suitable and unsuitable patches of nesting habitat. The measured cavity attributes were similar to those reported from other areas. The time occupied and turnover indices provided useful information about cavity quality, although none of the measured cavity attributes were correlated with these indices. Unmeasurable cavity characteristics, such as cavity volume, may provide a better estimate of cavity quality. Spatial patterns existed in cavity use by the feral colonies, with the colonies showing an aggregated pattern of distribution throughout the study. Colony aggregations probably resulted from the distribution of resources, especially cavities. Two years after the arrival of Africanized honey bees, cavities used by Africanized and European colonies were aggregated in distribution. During what seemed to be a transition period, both Africanized and European colonies were randomly distributed. After that time, European colonies remained randomly distributed, whereas Africanized colonies were aggregated. Therefore, the invasion of Africanized honey bees seemed to fragment the existing European population, corresponding to a decrease in the overall number of European colonies in the study area. 2005 Entomological Society of America.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Baum, K. A., Rubink, W. L., Pinto, M. A., & Coulson, R. N.

citation count

  • 30

complete list of authors

  • Baum, KA||Rubink, WL||Pinto, MA||Coulson, RN

publication date

  • June 2005