Free Access
Issue
Apidologie
Volume 34, Number 6, November-December 2003
Page(s) 543 - 552
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/apido:2003054
Apidologie 34 (2003) 543-552
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2003054

Differential tending of worker and drone larvae of the honey bee, Apis mellifera, during the 60 hours prior to cell capping

Nicholas W. Calderone and L.P.S. Kuenen

Department of Entomology Cornell University Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
(Received 25 March 2002; revised 26 February 2003; accepted 13 March 2003)

Abstract
Varroa destructor is a parasitic mite of A. mellifera. Female mites reproduce on both drone and worker brood; but they are found 5-9 times more often on drone brood. We examined larval tending by brood nest bees to determine if this behavior could provide an explanation for these differences. We observed workers tending worker and drone larvae in three observation colonies commencing 60 h prior to the completion of cell capping, an interval that includes the susceptible periods of both types of brood. Workers invested 2.78 times more time tending drone larvae than worker larvae, a difference due primarily to a greater number of tending acts directed towards drone brood. This finding demonstrates that phoretic mites may have more opportunity to enter drone brood. The 2.78 fold difference in time tending larvae combined with the previously reported 2-4-fold differences in the lengths of the periods when cells are capped could explain a 5.56-11.12 fold difference in mite levels in worker and drone brood, similar to `previously' reported differences.


Key words: Varroa destructor / Apis mellifera / nurse bee / cell capping

Correspondence and reprints: Nicholas W. Calderone nwc4@cornell.edu

© INRA, EDP Sciences, DIB, AGIB 2003

Current usage metrics show cumulative count of Article Views (full-text article views including HTML views, PDF and ePub downloads, according to the available data) and Abstracts Views on Vision4Press platform.

Data correspond to usage on the plateform after 2015. The current usage metrics is available 48-96 hours after online publication and is updated daily on week days.

Initial download of the metrics may take a while.