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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Influence of Season and Volatile Compounds on Acceptance Rates of Introduced European Honey Bee (Apis Mellifera L.) Queens into European and Africanized Colonies

Authors
item Degrandi-Hoffman, Gloria
item Gilley, David
item Hooper, Judith - PIMA RESEARCH

Submitted to: Apidologie
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 28, 2006
Publication Date: March 20, 2007
Citation: DeGrandi-Hoffman, G., Gilley, D., Hooper, J. The influence of season and volatile compounds on the acceptance of introduced European honey bee (Apis mellifera) Queens into European and Africanized colonies. Apidologie 38:230-237. 2007.

Interpretive Summary: Africanization can be reversed in managed honey bee colonies if they are requeened with European queens mated with European drones. Africanized colonies are reluctant to accept introduced queens, but whether acceptance rates of mated European queens differ between Africanized and European colonies at various times of year and colony conditions has not been determined. We introduced European queens mated with European drones into European and Africanized honey bee colonies during three different seasons and colony conditions. We also sampled volatile compounds emitted by the queens prior to their introduction to determine if amounts of certain compounds were related to acceptance rates. More queens were accepted by European colonies compared with Africanized both in the first week after introduction and during the 6-week observation period. AHB colonies rejected the most queens in the first week during the spring introductions and had the highest supersedure rate during introductions made in the summer. Queens that were rejected during the first week after introduction had lower amounts of E-ocimene than those that were accepted for the 6-week period. The best time to introduce European queens into colonies appears to be in the fall when overall rejection rates are the lowest.

Technical Abstract: We introduced mated European honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) queens into Africanized and European colonies during three different seasons to determine if there were differences in queen acceptance rates. We also sampled volatile compounds emitted by the queens prior to their introduction to determine if amounts of certain compounds were related to acceptance rates. More queens were accepted by European colonies compared with Africanized both in the first week after introduction and during the 6-week observation period. Africanized colonies rejected the most queens in the first week during the spring introductions and had the highest supersedure rate during introductions made in the summer. Queens that were rejected during the first week after introduction had lower amounts of E-ocimene than those that were accepted for the 6 week period. E-ociment was the only consistently detected compound in queens prior to their introduction, and it did not differ in amounts among the seasons indicating that threshold amounts of the compound for queen acceptance might differ with season and colony condition. The best time to introduce European queens into colonies appears to be in the fall when overall rejection rates are the lowest.

Last Modified: 10/30/2014