On the energetic costs of wax production by the African honeybee, Apis mellifera adansonii.

H. R. Hepburn, J. J. Hugo, D. Mitchell, M. J.M. Nijland, A. G. Scrimgeour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


All 4 pairs of wax glands develop at nearly the same rate, begining in 6-day-old bees, reaching a peak at 12 days, then gradually decline by 21 days. Development is highly correlated with comb building. Queenright bees develop wax glands and build comb while queenless bees, close to a queen, develop their wax glands but do not build comb. Queenless bees far from a queen do neither. Thermoregulation of the cluster beings in 5-day-old bees and then oscillates in a diel rhythm between 30-32oC. Metabolic rate increases with age and oscillates as does temperature. The sucrose/wax ratio varies with the age of the colony. Metabolic rate and sucrose consumption, and wax production and metabolic rate are highly correlated. The metabolic cost of wax production is c6+ or - 1 mWg-1 body mass of bee per milligram of beeswax with an efficiency of c8%.-from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-368
Number of pages6
JournalSouth African Journal of Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jan 1 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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