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Volume 34, Number 5, September-October 2003
Page(s) 429 - 437
Apidologie 34 (2003) 429-437
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2003039

Stimulation of colony initiation and colony development in Bombus terrestris by adding a male pupa: the influence of age and orientation

Yong Jung Kwona, Shafqat Saeeda, b and Marie José Duchateauc

a  Kyungpook National University, Department of Agricultural Biology, Taegu 702-701, South Korea
b  Present address: Entomological Research Sub-Station, Old Shujabad Road, Multan, Pakistan
c  Behaviour Biology, Utrecht University, PO Box 80.086, 3508 TB Utrecht, The Netherlands

(Received 11 January 2002; revised 26 November 2002; accepted 12 December 2002)

Hibernated queens of Bombus terrestris must be stimulated to start egg laying while kept in confinement. In this study, the stimulating effect of a male pupa and the impact of the age and the fixation angle of the pupa was examined. Queens started egg laying very soon if they were provided with a young male pupa. It took queens longer to oviposit with increasing age of the supplied pupae. Moreover, queens that were provided with older pupae produced fewer eggcups and fewer workers in the first brood. Queens with a horizontally fixed pupa did better than with a vertical or oblique oriented pupa. Of the queens that were provided with a young pupa, 80% produced colonies. In contrast, only 30% of the queens that were provided with an old pupa produced a colony. In addition, the latter colonies performed worse during the entire period of colony development. In conclusion, providing one horizontally fixed young male pupa to a hibernated, single queen resulted in the production of good colonies.

Key words: Bombus terrestris / oviposition stimulation / male pupae / colony foundation

Correspondence and reprints: Shafqat Saeed

© INRA, EDP Sciences, DIB, AGIB 2003