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item Collins, Anita

Submitted to: Annals of the Entomological Society of America
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2004
Publication Date: 6/1/2004
Citation: Collins, A.M. 2004. Variation in time of egg hatch by the honey bee, apis mellifera (hymenoptera: apidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 97(1): 140-146.

Interpretive Summary: Little information exists on the process of egg hatching in the honey bee, an important beneficial insect. In an effort to acquire information that might prove useful in a program designed to preserve honey bee eggs for future use, eggs were reared in an incubator and the timing of five critical stages in the hatching process was observed and recorded. This information will be valuable to scientists attempting to preserve honey bee eggs by freezing, and to bee breeders interested in improving the genetic stock of their bees.

Technical Abstract: More detailed information on the age at which a honey bee, Apis mellifera L., egg hatches and the natural variation of this trait, was needed to guide development of cryopreservation technology for honey bee embryos. Therefore, honey bee queens were caged on clean, empty comb for 4 h to obtain groups of eggs of known age. These eggs were collected from the comb using a special forceps, and placed on beeswax-coated petri dishes. Individual eggs were followed visually from 65 h after oviposition until they hatched (range to 93 h, 48.6% hatched). A tracheal network became visible about 2 h before hatching. Then, slow flexing of upright embryos, and abdominal peristalsis were seen. Release of a fluid along the dorsal midline of the embryo was observed in a few cases of normal hatching, and frequently as droplets or seeping from bulges on other embryos that hatched poorly (30.6%0. In a normal sequence, the eggshell was gradually digested away and complete hatch accomplished. The age at which this occurred was significantly different between eggs from different queens, ranging from 66 - 93 h.Hatching age may be a useful marker for selection of faster development time overall, a possible mode of resistance to the varroa mite. Respiration was visible in the larvae for 1-9 h (X = 5 h) after hatch. This information will provide guidance for monitoring egg hatch and in vitro larval feeding of embryos as a cryopreservation technology is developed.