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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Invasive Species and Pollinator Health » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #387246

Research Project: Conduct Longitudinal Studies on Colony Performance and Explore Near-term Effects of Nutritional and Agrochemical Stressors on Honey Bee Health

Location: Invasive Species and Pollinator Health

Title: A Scientific note on the occurrence of drone laying workers in queen monitoring cages

Author
item Fine, Julia
item Litsey, Eliza

Submitted to: Journal of Insect Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/11/2022
Publication Date: 6/15/2022
Citation: Fine, J.D., Litsey, E.M. 2022. A Scientific note on the occurrence of drone laying workers in queen monitoring cages. Journal of Insect Science. 22(3): 13; 1–4. https://doi.org/10.1093/jisesa/ieac021.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/jisesa/ieac021

Interpretive Summary: Monitoring honey bee queen egg production in cages allow researchers to study how different environmental factors contribute to honey bee reproduction. An important aspect of this work is determining whether eggs produced are female (fertilized) or male (unfertilized). Here, we documented that, in the absence of a queen, workers will readily lay unfertilized eggs in Queen Monitoring Cages (QMC), a specialized cage designed to facilitate queen egg laying under controlled conditions. Egg production and worker mortality were compared between QMCs containing queens and those containing only workers. Images of the last abdominal segments of newly hatched larvae from worker laid eggs and those putatively laid by queens were compared to identify candidate characteristics to determine their sex.

Technical Abstract: Techniques to monitor queen egg production in cages allow researchers to study how different environmental factors contributing to honey bee (Apis mellifera) reproduction. An important aspect of this work is determining whether eggs produced are female (fertilized) or male (unfertilized). Here, we documented that drone laying workers will readily lay eggs in Queen Monitoring Cages (QMC), a specialized cage designed to facilitate queen egg laying under controlled conditions. Egg production and worker mortality were compared between QMCs containing queens and those containing drone laying workers. Images of the latter abdominal segments of first instar larvae hatched from worker laid eggs and those putatively laid by queens were qualitatively compared to identify candidate characteristics to determine their sex.