Queen mating frequency in different types of honey bee mating apiaries
Peter Neumann; Robin F A Moritz; Jobvan Praagh;
Samples of worker honey bees (Apis mellifera carnica) were taken from 29 queenright honey bee colonies. The queens of these colonies were mated at two island mating apiaries (n = 7 and n = 6), two lowland apiaries (n = 6 and n = 4), a highland mating apiary (n = 3) and on one isolated high-mountain apiary (n = 3). Genotypes of individual workers (n = 1055) were determined using four DNA microsatellite loci and the observed (no) and effective (me) numbers of matings were estimated from the worker offspring. The observed number of matings per queen ranged from 6 to 24 (me = 4.6 to 31.1). Significant differences (P < 0.05) were found between the number of matings of queens at island and mainland mating apiaries. An average of no = 13.0 ± 1.1 (me = 11.8 ± 1.2) matings for queens at the two islands and an average of no = 18.1 ± 1.1 (me = 20.4 ± 1.7) for queens at the mainland apiaries were observed. No differences in mating frequency were observed between the queens at the island locations and among the queens at the mainland mating apiaries. The number of drone colonies at the mating apiaries showed no significant effect on queen mating frequency. This indicates that distinct local climate conditions at the island mating apiaries most likely had a negative impact on queen mating frequency.