Effects of additional caged and free-running queens on honey bee (Apis mellifera) colony performanceB.P. Oldroyda and P.J. Huntb
a USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Honey-Bee Breeding, Genetics and Physiology Laboratory, 1157 Ben Hur Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70820, USA
b Plant Research Institute, Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Burnley Gardens, Swan Street, Richmond 3121, Australia
Abstract - Colonies were established containing the following combinations of queens : 1 free-running queen, 2 free-running queens, 1 free-running queen and 1 caged queen, and 1 free-running queen and 4 caged queens. Brood area and colony weight gain were measured for each treatment. Colonies with 1 queen had the highest colony weight gain. The presence of additional queens in colonies had several negative effects on performance. Mortality of free-running queens was increased by the presence of 1 caged queen, which caused a reduction in brood area and colony weight gain. There was no significant difference in the brood production of single queen colonies, and colonies containing 2 free-running queens. The results do not support the use of caged queens or 2-queen colonies for increasing honey production.
Key words: Apis mellifera / multi-queen system / honey production / colony performance