Free Access
Volume 34, Number 6, November-December 2003
Page(s) 585 - 590
Apidologie 34 (2003) 585-590
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2003048

The behaviour of drifted Cape honeybee workers (Apis mellifera capensis): predisposition for social parasitism?

Peter Neumanna, b, Sarah E. Radloffc, Christian W.W. Pirkb, d and Randall Hepburnb

a  Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Institut für Zoologie, Kröllwitzer Str. 44, 06099 Halle/Saale, Germany
b  Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
c  Department of Statistics, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
d  Lehrstuhl für Verhaltensphysiologie und Soziobiologie, Zoologie II. Biozentrum der Universität Würzburg, Am Hubland, 97074 Würzburg, Germany

(Received 26 September 2002; revised 14 April 2003; accepted 25 April 2003)

Cape honeybee workers are facultative social parasites and drifting is one mode of transmission to new host colonies. The behavioural patterns and spatial distributions of drifted Cape honeybee workers differed from those of non-drifted workers of the same age cohort. Drifted workers were significantly more idle and were more often found in areas away from the queen compared to non-drifted workers. Our data suggest that drifted Cape honeybee workers may be predisposed for social parasitism in host colonies.

Key words: Apis mellifera capensis / drifting / honeybee / social parasitism / worker reproduction

Correspondence and reprints: Peter Neumann

© INRA, EDP Sciences, DIB, AGIB 2003