Experimental determination of drone congregation areas for Apis mellifera capensis Esch
T M Muerrle, H R Hepburn and S E Radloff
An increasingly fine definition of a drone congregation area (DCA) in the Eastern Cape, South Africa was achieved using drone response limits to exclude areas and locations showing negative results. Putative DCA’s were confirmed with a caged, dead mated queen as the lure and further confirmed several times until the end of the mating season (March 2005) by releasing an empty queen cage. Drone 'comet' formation was observed only within a limited area during two consecutive mating seasons, allowing the empirical definition of the drone response limits of the DCA. Observations on drone responses during two consecutive mating seasons resulted in the confirmation of the DCA and an accurate definition of its centre and approximate area.