Journal of Apicultural Science

Effect of injury to honeybee queens on egg laying rate and colony strength

Journal of Apicultural Science. Volume 46, Issue 1, Pages 75-83, ISSN (Print) 1643-4439
In the years 1998 - 2001 the effect of injury to honeybee queens on their egg laying rate was tested in Puławy. The observation comprised 225 queens that were naturally or instrumentally inseminated in colonies established in Dadant hives.
The majority of queens (122 individuals, 55%) showed injuries to some of their body parts. Of these, 80 queens accounting for 65% of the damaged ones had mainly arolia injuries (black, dry and inactive arolia or arolia completely or partly missing group B). Thirty-three individuals accounting for 27% of the injured queens sustained more serious injuries such as one or more legs paralyzed, a whole leg or its part missing (group C). Yet another group was distinguished in which queens had damaged antennae (group D 8%). Non -injured queens, group A, accounted for 45% of the total number.
Among naturally inseminated queens 67% were non-injured queens. Conversely, in the artificially inseminated group the injured queens accounted for as many as 68% of the total. There were 52 queen supersedures (23% of the monitored queens). The majority of supersedures were in groups B and C (68%). The supersedure was most frequent in the second year of the queen's life.
Naturally inseminated queens were superseded less frequently (16%) than artificially inseminated queens (31%).
Colonies with non-injured and with injured queens differed but slightly for the number of brood and for the strength as measured during the 1st inspection and in the 3rd decade of June. The differences were not significant.
Also, 72 non-inseminated queens were kept for 7 days in two queenless colonies (queen banks). Once that period passed, queens were evaluated for the kind of injury, percent of injured queens and mortality rate. Injured queens accounted for 84% in one colony and for 57% in the other. Queen mortality rate in the queenless colonies was ca. 34%.
Although the injuries to the queens did not affect significantly their egg-laying rate but they had an impact on the rate of supersedure.
honeybee queen, injury, egg-laying rate, supersedure
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