Heritability of the queen brood post-capping stage duration in Apis mellifera mellifera LY. Le Contea, C. Bruchoub, K. Benhamoudac, C. Gauthiera and J.M. Cornuetd
a INRA, Station de Recherches de Zoologie et d'Apidologie, BP 91, 84143 Montfavet Cedex, France
b INRA, Station de Biométrie, BP 91, 84143 Montfavet Cedex, France
c ITPE, Département d'Apiculture, Baba-Ali, Algiers, Algeria
d INRA-CNRS, Laboratoire de Neurobiologie Comparée des Invertébrés, BP 23, 91440 Bures-sur-Yvette, France
Abstract - The short duration of the post-capping stage of the honey bee is considered as a good trait to select for breeding honey bees resistant to Varroa jacobsoni. One way to operate is to apply this selection to queens, since this character is expressed in the 3 castes. To predict the efficiency of such a selection, we estimated: (1 ) the heritability of this character through daughter-queen to mother-queen regression and intra-class correlation in a population of Apis mellifera mellifera colonies in France; and (2) the regression between daughter-workers to mother-queens. The heritabilities obtained with these methods were 0.31 ± 0.10 and 0.22 ± 0.25 respectively. The worker capped period was positively correlated with the mother-queen period (r = 0.59), suggesting that queen selection could be efficient at obtaining workers with short capping durations. As the reduction of worker capping period can induce a decrease in the Varroa mite populations, selection for short-capping-duration queens to obtain Varroa-resistant strains is discussed.
Key words: Apis mellifera mellifera / Varroa jacobsoni / queens post-capping stage / development / selection