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Preeminent among these scientific pioneers were Swammerdam, René Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur, Charles Bonnet, and François Huber.Swammerdam and Réaumur were among the first to use a microscope and dissection to understand the internal biology of honey bees.
It was not until the 18th century that European natural philosophers undertook the scientific study of bee colonies and began to understand the complex and hidden world of bee biology.Beekeeping has also been practiced in ancient China since antiquity.In the book "Golden Rules of Business Success" written by Fan Li (or Tao Zhu Gong) during the Spring and Autumn period there are sections describing the art of beekeeping, stressing the importance of the quality of the wooden box used and how this can affect the quality of the honey.In ancient Greece, aspects of the lives of bees and beekeeping are discussed at length by Aristotle.Beekeeping was also documented by the Roman writers Virgil, Gaius Julius Hyginus, Varro, and Columella.Many others rear their young in burrows and small colonies (e.g., bumblebees and stingless bees). the little honeybee (Apis florea), giant honeybee (Apis dorsata) and rock bee (Apis laboriosa).
Beekeeping, or apiculture, is concerned with the practical management of the social species of honey bees, which live in large colonies of up to 100,000 individuals.
Many bee breeding companies strive to selectively breed and hybridize varieties to produce desirable qualities: disease and parasite resistance, good honey production, swarming behaviour reduction, prolific breeding, and mild disposition.
Some of these hybrids are marketed under specific brand names, such as the Buckfast Bee or Midnite Bee.
In Europe and America the species universally managed by beekeepers is the Western honey bee (Apis mellifera).
This species has several sub-species or regional varieties, such as the Italian bee (Apis mellifera ligustica), European dark bee (Apis mellifera mellifera), and the Carniolan honey bee (Apis mellifera carnica).
In the tropics, other species of social bees are managed for honey production, including the Asiatic honey bee (Apis cerana).