Apis nigrocincta was resurrected after work by Hadisoesilo, et al. (1995) with discriminant analysis of different species of honey bee of Sulawesi, Indonesia. In this study, the authors found a group of bees different from A. cerana and A. koschevnikovi, and after further comparison with type material found that these bees were more similar to the holotype of A. nigrocincta described by Smith (1861). In addition to morphological differences, A. nigrocincta is also the only known host of the parasitic mite Varroa underwoodi, and studies on drone flight times also support the status of A. nigrocincta as a separate species from Apis cerana (Hadisoesilo and Otis 1996, 1998; Otis et al. 2001).
As with all species of honey bees, A. nigrocincta is generalist and visits a broad range of plants for food.
A. nigrocincta nest in cavities. Compared with other species in the subgenus Apis, this species produces more drones under normal conditions. Very little else is known about this species' nesting behavior.
More recently, Hadisoesilo and Otis (1998) showed that the capping of the drone cells in A. nigrocincta lack the pore (the drone cell has a narrow opening, without hard wax cap and with a hole) that is present in drone’s cells of Apis cerana.
To the present, there is no information regarding any variation among the different populations of A. nigrocincta, but due to the restricted distribution of the species in Southesast Asia, it is very likely that it’s a uniform species.
This species is restricted to Indonesia and the Philippines (Otis 1996, Damus and Otis 1997, Radloff et al. 2011): specifically Sulawesi (Indonesia), Mindanao, and Sangihe (Philippines).