Free access
Volume 22, Number 3, 1991
Page(s) 183 - 195
Apidologie 22 (1991) 183-195
DOI: 10.1051/apido:19910302

The influence of a colony's queen state on the drifting of drone honey bees (Apis mellifera L)

R.W. Currie and S.C. Jay

University of Manitoba, Department of Entomology, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, R3T 2N2

Abstract - Drones were marked individually with numbered tags and introduced into pairs of hives that were spaced 1 m apart facing south. The queen state of one colony in each pair was altered (ie with a caged-virgin queen, caged-mated queen, mated-laying queen, queenless or pheromone trans-9-oxodecenoic acid) and the other member of the pair remained queenright. Drifting of 4 independent age groups of drones (5-10, 10-15, 15-20 and 20-25-d old) was studied. A higher proportion of drones drifted to colonies with caged-virgin queens or to colonies with lures containing a component of the virgin queen's pheromone, trans-9-oxodec-2-enoic acid, than to either queenless colonies, queenright colonies or colonies with caged-mated queens. The proportion of drones that drifted to colonies containing virgin queens increased with the age of the drone. There was a tendency for drones from queenright colonies to drift westward. This appears to have masked the attraction of drones to pairs of hives that had the pheromone or virgin queen-treated colonies in the westerly position. Drift of drones away from colonies with virgin queens was not significantly lower than drift from either queenright or queenless colonies.

Key words: honeybee queen / pheromone / drone / drifting / mating flight