Free Access
Volume 25, Number 2, 1994
F. Ruttner 80th birthday
Page(s) 239 - 248
Apidologie 25 (1994) 239-248
DOI: 10.1051/apido:19940210

Physiography influences honeybee queen's choice of mating place (Apis mellifera carnica Pollmann)

H. Pechhacker

Abt Bienenzüchtung, der Höheren Bundeslehr- und Versuchsanstalt für Wein- und Obstbau mit Institut für Bienenkunde, A-3293 Lunz am See, Austria

Abstract - Experiments were carried out in a steep mountain valley between Mariazell and Wildalpen in Austria. In the centre of the area Cordovan (cd) drones were kept, while black drones were flying in the periphery. The virgin queens (homozygous cd/cd) were placed in four directions at different distances (0, 2, 4, 6, 8 km) from the centre and permitted to freely perform mating flights. All 15 queens in the North had only black (cd/+) worker offspring. In the west, east and south the proportion of queens with cd/cd progeny in and near the centre (up to 2 km) was larger than that of the queens further away (4 and 6 km). The results of queens placed in the east compared to western queens indicated a preference for mating flight directions down the valley, towards the highest light intensity. So the physiography seems to have a major influence on the queens'choice of mating place. In regard to practical honeybee breeding the close similarity between the orientation of queens demonstrated in these experiments and the orientation of drones underline the validity of the general rules for mating yards as established previously by F and H Ruttner.

Key words: Apis mellifera / queen / mating / orientation / physiography