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Volume 33, Number 6, November-December 2002
Page(s) 553 - 561
Apidologie 33 (2002) 553-561
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2002040

Drifting of workers in nest aggregations of the giant honeybee Apis dorsata

Jürgen Paara, b, Benjamin P. Oldroyda, Ernst Huettingerc and Gerald Kastbergerb

a  School of Biological Sciences, A12, University of Sydney, 2006 NSW, Australia
b  Institute of Zoology, Karl-Franzens University Graz, Universitätsplatz 2 8010 Graz, Austria
c  BFL-Institute of Apiculture, 3293 Lunz, Austria

(Received 23 October 2001; revised 5 March 2002; accepted 9 April 2002)

The extent of worker drifting between nests in aggregations of colonies of the giant Asian honeybee Apis dorsata was studied using DNA microsatellites. Four aggregations with three, six, seven and eight colonies were sampled. 1537 workers were genotyped using four loci. Maternity testing was used to separate drifted and natal workers, and to assign drifted individuals to their actual maternal colony. The proportion of drifted workers ranged from 0 to 6.25% with an average of 1.27% (sd = 0.245). No significant differences in rates of drifting were found between the four aggregations. There was also no correlation between the direction of the drift and the position of the nests relative to each other. These results show that in A. dorsata, a bee species that frequently nests in dense aggregations, the extent of forager drifting between colonies can be very low.

Key words: drifting / Apis dorsata / colony aggregation / honeybee

Correspondence and reprints: Jürgen Paar

© INRA, EDP Sciences, DIB, AGIB 2002