Selection for high and low, colony weight gain in the honey bee, Apis mellifera, using selected queens and random malesN.W. Calderone and M.K. Fondrk
The Ohio State University, Department of Entomology, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
Abstract - Seasonal colony weight gain (honey production) in the honey bee, Apis mellifera, can be modified by selection. Two-way selection for strains of honey bees exhibiting high or low seasonal colony weight gain was made for 3 generations. In each generation, daughter queens were reared from selected colonies and permitted to mate naturally with unselected males. Two strains of honey bees were produced that differed significantly with respect to seasonal colony weight gain. These results suggest that commercial and hobbyist beekeepers can increase the efficiency of honey production by using a simple selection and mating scheme. Several variables were also evaluated as indicators of seasonal colony weight gain. Short-term colony weight gain was significantly correlated with seasonal colony weight gain and is a useful aid to selection. Early-winter colony weight, late-winter colony weight, early-spring colony weight, and winter weight loss were not correlated with seasonal colony weight gain and do not appear to be useful aids to selection.
Key words: Apis mellifera / honey yield / colony-level selection