Genotypic variation in the expression of guarding behavior and the role of guards in the defensive response of honey bee coloniesMiguel E. Arechavaleta-Velascoa, b and Greg J. Hunta
a Department of Entomology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
b Present address: Department of Statistics, Purdue University, 150N University Street, Mathematical Science Building, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2067, USA
(Received 13 March 2002; revised 27 August 2002; accepted 17 February 2003)
This study was conducted to identify genotypic variation in the expression of guarding behavior between defensive and gentle backcross colonies and to determine the role of guards in the defensive response of a colony. No differences were found between backcross types for the average time that a bee behaves as a guard. Differences were found between backcross types and between colonies for the number of bees that guard for at least one day and for at least two days. Variation between colonies for these two variables was partially genetic in origin. A small proportion of the bees that stung during stinging assays were guards, and only a small proportion of the guards stung. Positive correlations were found between the number of stings and both the number of guards in the colony and the proportion of guards that stung in relation to the total number of guards in the colony. Colonies responded with fewer stings when guards were removed in comparison to when guards were present in the colonies.
Key words: guarding behavior / stinging behavior / defensive behavior / Apis mellifera
Correspondence and reprints: Miguel E. Arechavaleta-Velasco
© INRA, EDP Sciences, DIB, AGIB 2003