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The influence of queen age and quality during queen replacement in honeybee colonies



The influence of queen age and quality during queen replacement in honeybee colonies



Animal Behaviour 59(1): 97-101



Honeybee, Apis mellifera, colonies replace their queens by constructing many queen cells and then eliminating supernumerary queens until only one remains. The ages of the queens and the variation in their reproductive potential are important factors in the outcome of such events. Selection would favour colonies that requeen as quickly as possible to minimize the brood hiatus, therefore selecting for queens reared from older larvae. Conversely, reproductive potential (queen 'quality') is maximized by rearing queens from younger larvae. This potential trade-off was tested during two phases of queen replacement, namely queen rearing and polygyny reduction. Our results suggest that queen age is a significant element during both queen rearing and polygyny reduction, whereas queen quality, at least to the magnitude tested in this experiment, has little impact on the outcome of either process. The rate of queen replacement therefore appears to be an important factor in the honeybee life cycle, and further mechanisms of potential importance during this life history transition are discussed. Copyright 2000 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

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Accession: 010007225

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 10640371

DOI: 10.1006/anbe.1999.1311


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