A study was conducted at Assosa and Mao-komo districts of Benishangul-gumuz regional state, western Ethiopia, aiming to determine the bee spacing and cell dimensions of honeybee race Apis mellifera scutellata. The measurement of bee spacing and cell dimensions were taken from 20 traditional hives at each agro-ecology. Assosa and Mao-komo districts were purposively selected to represent mid-altitude and highland agro-ecologies respectively. Data collected were analyzed in descriptive statistics, t-test, correlation and General Linear Model (GLM) procedures using statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) computer software. The present results revealed that bee space in naturally built combs of A. mellifera scutellata honeybee race in highland areas was significantly higher (P < 0.001) than that of mid-altitude areas. Cell depths and comb thickness were significantly different (P < 0.001) between the agro-ecologies. Larger cell depth and comb thickness were recorded in combs from mid-altitude than highland areas. On the contrary, cell diameter of naturally built combs in mid-altitude was significantly lower (P < 0.001) than cell diameter in highland areas. Type of comb did not affect the bee space, comb thickness or cell dimensions. Dimensions of traditional hives were not different between the two agro-ecologies except hive length. Traditional hives in highland areas were significantly longer (P < 0.05) than hives in mid-altitude areas. In conclusion, there were variations in bee space and comb cell dimensions within the same honeybees race in different agro-ecologies but this needs designing of new casting molds and box hives pertinent to the agro-ecologies.
Key words: Benishangul-gumuz, cell diameter, comb thickness, hive dimension, natural combs.
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