Journal of Apicultural Science

A rare case of overdominance in defensive behaviour of workers in honeybee colonies

Journal of Apicultural Science. Volume 49, Issue 1, Pages 71-77, ISSN (Print) 1643-4439
Fifteen experiments were performed over five years. In each of them, the defensive behaviour of 3 nucleus colonies, which were artificially composed of gentle and defensive bees mixed in the following proportions: 80% : 20%, 50% : 50%, 20% : 80% was compared with the defensive behaviour of two homogenous nucleus colonies consisting of 100% defensive and 100% gentle bees. Fifteen repetitions of the ball test were performed in each of the fifteen experiments and also different combinations of various bees were used in each of them. Worker genotypic interactions were evaluated on the colony level. The interactions were additive in 13% and nonadditive in 87% (dominance 66%) for the time to the first sting (seconds) and they were additive in 33% and nonadditive in 67% (dominance 40%) for the sting number. Moreover, overdominance was observed in 2 out of 15 experiments, which had not been reported previously. Different aspects of such rare case of nonadditive worker interactions were discussed. It is interesting, that either defensive or gentle bees could be dominating, depending on the season and type of the bees.
defensive behaviour, mixed-colony, genotypic variation, worker-interactions, Apis mellifera
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