Free Access
Volume 40, Number 4, July-August 2009
Page(s) 464 - 471
Published online 13 May 2009
Apidologie 40 (2009) 464-471
DOI: 10.1051/apido/2009008

Comparisons of the queen volatile compounds of instrumentally inseminated versus naturally mated honey bee (Apis mellifera) queens

Ming Hua Huang1, Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman2 and Blaise LeBlanc2

1  Department of Entomology, University of Arizona, Forbes 410, PO Box 2100: (36), Tucson, AZ 85721-0036, USA
2  Carl Hayden Bee Research Center, USDA-ARS, 2000 East Allen Road, Tucson, AZ 85719, USA

Received 11 July 2008 – Revised 22 November 2008 – Accepted 12 December 2008 - Published online 8 August 2009

Abstract - Instrumental insemination is an attractive alternative to natural mating because specific genetic crosses can be made, thus producing colonies with desired traits. However, there are conflicting reports on the quality and acceptance of instrumentally inseminated (II) queens compared to naturally mated (NM) queens. One factor that affects acceptance and retention of queens is the volatile compounds they produce. Our study compared volatile chemicals from virgin and mated honey bee queens that were either NM or II. The volatile compounds from virgin queens differed from those of mated egg-laying queens. Virgin queens produced greater relative amounts of the volatile compounds we detected (including 2-phenylethanol, n-octanal, and n-decanal) with the exception of E-$\beta
$-ocimene, which was higher in mated laying queens. II and NM queens did not differ in type or relative amounts of volatile compounds. The similarities between II and NM queens indicate that the physiological changes that happen after mating and egg laying occur regardless of the mating method.

Key words: E-$\bf\beta$-ocimene / queen acceptance / n-decanal / n-octanal / 2-phenylethanol

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2009