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Apiology

Apiology is the scientific study of honey bees, a subdiscipline of melittology (the study of all bees), which is a subdiscipline of entomology. Melittology comprises of more than 17,000 species other than the honey bee. Apiology includes apicology, which is the study of honey bee ecology. Honey bees are often chosen as a study group to answer questions on the evolution of social systems.

People who study honey bees are called apiologists. There have been a number of notable apiologists throughout history.

Perhaps the most notable of apiologists would be Charles Butler (1560-1647), often referred to as the Father of English Beekeeping. Butler observed with his bees that these honey makers produce wax combs from scales of wax produced in their own bodies; and he was among the first to assert that drones are male and the queen female, though he believed worker bees lay eggs.

Other notable apiologists include Johann Dzierzon (1811-1906), who discovered parthenogenesis among bees; Karl von Frisch (1886-1982), a Nobel Prize winner who studied honey bee communication; L.L. Langstroth (1810-1895), who modernized American beekeeping; Amos Ives Root (1839-1923), an innovator in honey harvesting techniques, who also published the first account of the Wright brothers flight in his beekeeping journal; Stephen Taber III (1924-2008), an innovator in the practice of artificial insemination of queen bees for the purpose of developing disease resistant and gentle bee colonies; and Mark Winston, who currently studies life history, caste structure, and reproduction in social insects and pheromones of honey bees at Simon Fraser University in California.

Image Caption:  A bee drinking water. From the apiary of Mr. Stanisław Kosiorek (Poland). Credit: Bartosz Kosiorek/Wikipedia  (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Apiology


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