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Volume 35, Number 6, November-December 2004
Page(s) 565 - 573
Apidologie 35 (2004) 565-573
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2004057

First symptoms of queen loss in a honeybee colony (Apis mellifera)

Algirdas Skirkevicius

Department of Zoology, Vilnius Pedagogical University, Studentu 39, 2034, Vilnius, Lithuania

(Received 7 July 2003; revised 24 October 2003; accepted 23 January 2004)

Abstract - Approximately 50 min after removing the queen, the bees remained indifferent to the traces of the nestmate queen pheromone on the wall of the experimental cage. The worker's responsiveness to the cages then increased and peaked after approximately 165 min. the cage was licked (30.3%) and antennaed (69.7%) by workers. Three days after the removal of the queen the electroantennogram responses of workers from the queenless colonies were 2.7 times greater than those from the queenright colonies. the first symptom that reflects the loss of the queen in a bee colony is increased sensitivity of workers to the queen pheromone, which occurs approximately 50 min following the removal of the queen.

Key words: Apis mellifera / queen pheromone / sensitivity of bee / chemoreceptor / queen rearing / electroantennogram

Corresponding author: Algirdas Skirkevicius

© INRA, EDP Sciences, DIB, AGIB 2004