Drone production and drone comb utilization in colonies of the African honey bee, Apis mellifera scutellata Lepeletier, in AfricaL.C. McNally and S.S. Schneider
Department of Biology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC 28223, USA
Abstract - Drone production and drone comb utilization were investigated in naturally occurring colonies of the African honey bee, Apis mellifera scutellata, in the Okavango River Delta, Botswana. Drone production occurred primarily in larger, thriving and swarming colonies that contained large proportions of worker brood, and by inference were experiencing a period of growth. Drone production was rarely observed in smaller, newly established colonies, or larger colonies with reduced worker brood rearing. Maximum drone production occurred in September-October, and coincided with the swarming season and the period of peak resource abundance. Drone production occurred sporadically throughout the remainder of the year. Food storage in drone comb was lowest from July-October (when colonies concentrated on brood production), and low and variable throughout the remainder of the year.
Key words: Apis mellifera scutellata / drone / drone comb / brood / Africa