Sunday, 17 November 2002 - 3:48 PM

This presentation is part of : Ten-Minute Papers, Subsection Cb. Apiculture and Social Insects (Termites and Honey Bees)

Apis mellifera queen replacement in the presence of chemical "stress"

Jeffery S. Pettis, Anita M. Collins, Jay Evans, Jan Kochansky, and Mark Feldlaufer. USDA-ARS, Bee Research Laboratory, Bldg. 476, BARC-East, Beltsville, MD

When a honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) colony undergoes a disturbance resulting in queen loss the colony begins “emergency” queen rearing to replace her. This production of new virgin queens in a colony can range in number from one to 20 or more but only a single queen will eventually head the colony. The fitness of each queen is tested either by direct conflict between virgins or through influence of the worker bees within the colony. Any stress during the rearing of queens could result in the production of inferior queens that may threaten colony survival. Recent research (Haarmann et al. 2002, J. Econ. Entomol. 95:28-35) has demonstrated that chemicals applied to commercial honey bee colonies resulted in poor queen rearing success. In the current study we tested the ability of newly established colonies to produce wax combs and then rear queens in the presence or absence of chemical stresses. Additionally, we examined the relationship between queen cell location and chemical residues in wax combs. Finally, we determined the mating success of queens reared under the varying stress levels. In a second experiment we examined the success rate of queen rearing in beeswax queen cups that contained known concentrations of coumaphos, an organophosphate used to control parasitic mites in managed honey bee colonies.

Species 1: Hymenoptera Apidae Apis mellifera (Honey bee)
Keywords: Queen rearing, pesticide residues

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