Drone Eviction In Honey Bees (Apis Mellifera Ssp.)
Social insect colonies depend on individuals coordinating their efforts and adjusting their investment in various nest activities to maximize growth and reproduction. Honey bees (Apis mellifera ssp.) are constantly adjusting nest tasks depending upon availability of nectar and pollen. The production of drone honey bees is regulated by the queen and by the workers. While production of drones is important for reproduction, maintaining adult drones can place a strain on colony resources. At a certain point during the foraging season, the cost of maintaining drones outweighs the benefits, and adult drones are evicted from the colony. We investigated the causes of drone eviction and examined how quickly this process can occur. Using observation hives, colonies were either caged or uncaged and fed or unfed. By regulating access to resources in the field, we found that as little as 48 hours of poor foraging conditions is sufficient to produce a shift in drone location within the colony and significantly increase the rate of drone mortality(P<0.01). These results highlight the rate at which the honey bee colony can respond to changing environmental conditions. The age of the workers involved in the drone eviction process and the impact of nectar availability vs. pollen availability remain to be determined.
Drone regulation; honey bees; reproductive investment
Calderone, Nicholas W
Rayor, Linda Susan; Seeley, Thomas Dyer; Gilbert, Cole
Master of Science
dissertation or thesis