Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society
Although honey bees ( Apis mellifera Linnaeus) ordinarily construct their nests within some sort of enclosure, such as a hollow tree, cave or man-made hive, exposed nests are occasionally discovered. Apis -florea and Apis dorsata, near relatives of this European species of honey bee, found in India and other parts of southern Asia, normally build exposed nests consisting of a single comb. As the genus Apis is thought to have originated in southern Asia, it seems not unlikely that the instinct to make concealed nests has developed in those species now found in temperate regions as a selective adaptation to the cooler environment, particularly to the cold winters. In the warmer regions where Apis mellifera occurs, unprotected nests are not rare, but at latitudes where winters are very cold, bees in nests that are not protected are not likely to survive from one summer to the next. Even when the nest is sheltered, the bees often die from severe cold or from starvation if their supply of honey becomes exhausted. It is therefore of some interest when a colony of bees in an exposed nest is observed to survive one or more cold winters.
Byers, George W., "An Unusual Nest of the Honey Bees" (1959). Bu. Paper 73.
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