African Bee (Apis mellifera Scutellata)

Maree Clarkson

Joined February 2010

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Artist's Description

African Bee (Apis mellifera Scutellata)

Camera : iPhone 6S Plus
Dedicated to all bee-lovers!
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We have two colonies of bees living on our smallholding and during summer my wildlife pond is a great attraction for them. Water is very important to a hive. Bees rarely store water, but bring it in as needed, so it is vital to provide fresh water to them continuously. They also use water to control the humidity of the colony, not just the temperature. Besides my pond, I have various containers around the garden for them. They’re a bit of a nightmare to photograph, don’t sit still for very long and even crawled up my phone a couple of times when I got too close!
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South Africa is home to two sub-species or races of honeybees which are indigenous to the country: Apis mellifera Scutellata (or “African bee”) and Apis mellifera Capensis (or “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 A.m. capensis and A.m. scutellata hybridize.
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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 A.m. capensis. Only the queens are fertile; worker bees are infertile when the queen is present. (Not to be confused with the Africanized honeybee (AHB) found across south, central, and north America).
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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.
—Info from SABIO (South African Bee Industry Organisation)


30th November 2016 – FEATURED in “The Wonder of Wings”
16th January 2017 – FEATURED in “Just for You—Dedications”
6th February 2017 – FEATURED in “African Art and Photography”
18th February 2017 – FEATURED in “Animals of Africa & Madagascar”

Artwork Comments

  • Judith Hayes
  • Maree Clarkson
  • Karen Checca
  • Maree Clarkson
  • Anna Miarczynska
  • Maree Clarkson
  • Lexa Harpell
  • Maree Clarkson
  • Lexa Harpell
  • Maree Clarkson
  • Lexa Harpell
  • Maree Clarkson
  • vigor
  • Maree Clarkson
  • Margaret Stevens
  • Maree Clarkson
  • Anthony Goldman
  • Maree Clarkson
  • Magriet Meintjes
  • Maree Clarkson
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