The world’s longest established apicultural research publishers

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 New Special Issue of Bee World on the “superorganism” 


The new issue 94(1) of Bee World is a Special Issue devoted to the exciting subject of the “superorganism”. A superorganism is an organism consisting of many organisms, and the term is often used to describe a social unit of eusocial animals such as honey bees, stingless bees and bumble bees, which have highly organized division of labour, and where individuals are not able to survive by themselves for any length of time. 

Bee World Editor Kirsten Traynor says: “In this special superorganism issue, we feature excellent contributions by a wide variety of authors”. Firstly, Hayo Velthuis and Katja Hogendoorn tell us about the evolution of early sociality in bees. They focus on the sweat bees, the Halictidae, and the carpenter bees, the Xylocopinae, where the majority of the species are solitary, although some have developed group nesting. Next we have an article by Keith Delaplane on the emergent properties of honey bee superorganisms. Keith delves into several behaviours of Apis mellifera where the sum – the final communal comportment of the colony – outweighs the individual parts – the actions of individual bees. He covers four distinct colony behaviours: thermoregulation, initiation of comb construction, cell construction, and the patterns of cell use for rearing brood and food storage. As humans, we don’t need to experience something directly to learn how to accomplish it. From our earliest childhood, we discover by observing the actions of others. Social learning is not limited to mammals, however, and in the contribution “Bumble bee culture” by Thomas Ingraham, Clint Perry and Eirik Søvik, we gain insight into how bumble bees can learn complex tasks simply by watching others. Bee World has a long tradition of authoritative review papers, and in this issue, Michael Simone-Finstrom takes a detailed look at what has been published on social immunity in bees. In the final article, Douglas Sponsler and Reed Johnson confront some of the challenges the superorganism concept can create. For example, pesticide residues pervade the environment and honey bees encounter these toxins, carrying them back to the hive environment. However, the experience of individuals in a hive is not uniform, complicating how we analyse exposure risk. We need to remember that individual pesticide exposure differs among hive mates when investigating the impacts on colony health. 




Dr Kirsten Traynor, Editor, Bee World: +1 240 439 3053 Email: 


1. The special issue of Bee World on bee breeding is available here:- 

2. The International Bee Research Association (IBRA), founded in 1949 is the world’s longest established apicultural research publisher and promotes the value of bees by providing information on bee science and beekeeping worldwide. 

3. In association with the Taylor & Francis Group, IBRA publishes Bee World, founded by the Apis Club in 1919. This is now an accessible and topical journal containing the latest bee research, news, reviews and other relevant information for the bee scientist, beekeeper, and anyone with an interest in bees. It is published four times a year: 

4. In association with the Taylor & Francis Group, IBRA publishes the peer-reviewed scientific journal the Journal of Apicultural Research, founded by IBRA in 1962. It includes original research articles, theoretical papers; scientific notes and comments; together with authoritative reviews on scientific aspects of the biology, ecology, natural history, conservation and culture of all types of bee. It is published five times a year. The ISI Impact Factor (2015) is 2.084 and the ISI 5-year Impact Factor is 2.003: 

5. IBRA publishes and sells books on bee science, bee conservation and beekeeping and also provides bee information services. IBRA is a Registered Charity, and its Council of Trustees boasts some of the world’s leading bee scientists. 

6. IBRA membership rates 2017:- 

IBRA Membership including Bee World (£36 €42 $US45) IBRA Membership including online Journal of Apicultural Research (£90 €105 $US112) IBRA Membership including online and print Journal of Apicultural Research (£150 €175 $US187) 

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