Free Access
Volume 24, Number 4, 1993
Page(s) 411 - 423
Apidologie 24 (1993) 411-423
DOI: 10.1051/apido:19930408

Cold room thermoregulation, store consumption, and survival of Africanized and European honey bees (Apis mellifera L)

J.D. Villa and T.E. Rinderer

USDA, ARS Honey-Bee Breeding, Genetics and Physiology Research, 1157 Ben Hur Rd, Baton Rouge, LA 70820-5502, USA

Abstract - The potential of Africanized honey bees to survive winters was evaluated by comparing them in groups (40 g, 1.0 kg, 1.5 kg or whole colonies) to European bees in cold rooms. Africanized workers caged in 40-g groups at 15°C aggregated in different positions and in tighter conformations, removed significantly lower amounts of sucrose syrup from feeders, and had higher mortalities than European workers. Africanized bees in 1.0-kg groups also had lower rates of syrup removal but were similar to European groups in aggregation and core temperatures. Groups of 1.5 kg showed similar temperature profiles inside the hives. Whole colonies of both types exposed to temperatures ≈ 0°C died before 10 wk, and did not differ significantly in amounts of recovered dead workers, or in weight loss. These results suggest that some of the important behavioral components of overwintering are present in Africanized honey bees.

Key words: Africanized honey bee / cold tolerance / survival / thermoregulation