Swarming, supersedure and the mating system of a natural population of honey bees (Apis mellifera capensis)
M H Allsopp; H Rhepburn
Observations on the natural incidence of swarming and supersedure in 30 colonies of Cape bees (Apis mellifera capensis) over 4 years are analysed ecologically and demographically. Swarming and supersedure occur in different seasons but with similar frequencies. Swarming is correlated with an influx of pollen and increased drone production; supersedure with declining pollen availability and decreased brood production. Neither swarming nor supersedure can be predicted by prior queen replacement events in a colony. Whether a virgin queen is the product of either a swarm or supersedure colony, probability favours matings with drones of swarm queen origin in both swarming and supersedure seasons. Because offrequency differences in the timing ofswarming and supersedure there are more swarming than supersedure events on a yearly basis. Among supersedure queens, queens produced from the diploid eggs of laying workers are relatively rare.