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Volume 31, Number 1, January-Febuary 2000
Page(s) 67 - 79
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2000107

Apidologie 31 (2000) 67-79

Colony evaluation is not affected by drifting of drone and worker honeybees (Apis mellifera L.) at a performance testing apiary

Peter Neumann ${^{\rm a,b}}$, Robin F.A. Moritz ${^{\rm b}}$, Dieter Mautz ${^{\rm c}}$

${^{\rm a}}$Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
${^{\rm b}}$Molekulare Ökologie, Institut für Zoologie, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Kröllwitzerstr. 44, 06099 Halle/Saale, Germany
${^{\rm c}}$Bayerische Landesanstalt für Bienenzucht, Burgbergstr. 70, 91054 Erlangen, Germany

(Received 12 February 1999; revised 23 August 1999; accepted 14 September 1999)


The impact of drifting workers and drones on evaluating performance data of honeybee (Apis mellifera carnica) colonies was studied using DNA microsatellites. Colony size, honey yield and colony level of infestation with Varroa jacobsoni were evaluated from 30 queenright colonies. Individuals (n = 1359 workers from 38 colonies, n = 449 drones from 14 colonies) were genotyped using four DNA microsatellite loci. Maternity testing was used to identify drifted individuals. The drifting of workers ranged from 0 to 14% with an average of $5 \pm 0.7$%. The amount of drifting drones was significantly higher ranging from 3 to 89% (average of $50 \pm 6.8\%$). No significant correlations were observed between the amount of drifting and colony sizes. Likewise, the correlations between drifting workers and drones with the phenotypic variance for colony honey yields and levels of infestation with V. jacobsoni were weak and in no case significant. Thus, the low levels of drifting workers (due to performance apiary layout) and the high levels of drifting drones did not interfere with performance testing in this study.

Apis mellifera / drifting / honeybee / performance / Varroa jacobsoni

Correspondence and reprints: Robin F.A. Moritz

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