Worker policing in the bee Apis florea

Luke A. Halling, Benjamin P. Oldroyd*, Wandee Wattanachaiyingcharoen, Andrew B. Barron, Piyamas Nanork, Siriwat Wongsiri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Apis florea is a single-combed, open-nesting, dwarf honeybee indigenous to Asia. In common with other species of this genus, A. florea is highly polyandrous, and is therefore predicted to curtail worker reproduction by mutual policing mechanisms that keep worker reproduction at an extremely low level. Policing mechanisms could involve destruction of workers' eggs or offspring, or aggression toward those workers that are reproductively active. We show that in A. florea, worker-laid eggs are eliminated approximately twice as fast as queen-laid eggs, indicating that A. florea uses oophagy of worker-laid eggs as a mechanism of worker policing. Genetic analysis of four colonies indicated that all males produced were sons of queens, not workers. Dissections of 800 workers, from four colonies, did not reveal any significant levels of ovary activation. These results suggest that worker policing is an effective component of the mechanisms that maintain worker sterility in this species. Furthermore, they suggest that worker policing via oophagy of worker-laid eggs is pleisiomorphic for the genus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-513
Number of pages5
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Apis florea
  • Oophagy
  • Polyandry
  • Worker policing


Dive into the research topics of 'Worker policing in the bee Apis florea'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this