Free access
Volume 40, Number 4, July-August 2009
Page(s) 441 - 449
Published online 25 March 2009
Apidologie 40 (2009) 441-449
DOI: 10.1051/apido/2009006

Flight performance of artificially reared honeybees (Apis mellifera)

Robert Brodschneider, Ulrike Riessberger-Gallé and Karl Crailsheim

Department for Zoology, Karl-Franzens-University Graz, Universitätsplatz 2, 8010 Graz, Austria

Received 17 July 2008 – Revised 19 November 2008 – Accepted 21 November 2008 - Published online 8 August 2009

Abstract - Artificially reared larvae are an ideal model for experiments involving brood diseases or testing pesticides. Because conditions during larval development can influence the general performance of adult honeybees, we created an evaluation method for the viability of artificially reared honeybees. We compared the flight performance of honeybees artificially reared in the laboratory with that of their sisters naturally reared in the colony. Fresh and dry weight, wing surface area, flight speed, flight duration, and distance covered by honeybee workers after feeding defined amounts of different sugar solutions were measured during tethered flight in a roundabout. Our results demonstrate that after artificial rearing, adult honeybees at the natural age of flight exhibit similar flight performances to their naturally reared sisters. The naturally reared honeybees, however, attained higher maximum flight speeds when fed energy-rich 2molar glucose solution.

Key words: Apis mellifera / flight / in vitro rearing / larval nutrition / worker quality

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2009